Four Other Valentine’s Day Gifts

Not everyone goes in for the unaffordable expectation version of Valentine’s Day.  Love is worth celebrating.   You don’t need a romantic partner or Scrooge McDuck’s money bin to spread Valentine’s Day love.

1. Give the gift of  your attention.

There’s a freedom that comes from conscious, wholehearted listening.  By deeply listening, we free ourselves from the constant chatter in our minds and allow another person to feel the experience of being truly seen and heard. I have been submitting a listening self-assessment each day for the past few weeks as part of my ULab homework.  Evaluators say, “What gets measured gets done”.  In this case, “What gets measured gets noticed”. Paying attention to listening has been a gift to myself and those around me.  Try it.

2. Start a conversation on the topic of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

The Fetzer Institute created a set of 52 Love, Compassion and Forgiveness Cards.  You can download them for free.     Each card has a quote on one side and a conversation point and an idea for action on the other.

A Love card quote says:

There is an old South African proverb that says the reason two antelope walk together is so that one can blow the dust from the other’s eyes. This sort of friendship enables joy.  Mark Nepo

A Forgiveness card poses the questions:

What role does empathy play in forgiveness? When have you been able to put yourself in anther’s shoes.

The associated action suggests, “Bring to mind a person who has hurt or offended you. Ask yourself: What qualities does this person possess that I would like to eliminate in myself”?

3. Consider sharing a crowd-sourced mindfulness-based Valentine.

Parallax Press engaged their readers to create 13 Zen inspired Valentine’s.  My favorites are #7 and #12.

 4. Tweet some love to your favorite non-profit organization or charity using the hashtag #npValentine.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has images available on their Facebook page you can tweet or email.   The Twitter feed will make you smile.   As a bonus, the Chronicle has an opinion piece by Jennifer and Peter Buffett about the place of love and compassion in philanthropy.  The Buffets say:

In a world in which everything is a commodity, we’re going to try to turn money into love. Jennifer and Peter Buffett

I sincerely hope they do. Every day people can do this too.  My friend Jennifer Iacovelli is on a mission to turn all of us into philanthropists. You can also visit ServiceSpace and explore the gift economy in action.

How are you going to spread love in the world this Valentine’s Day?

Chocolate is a totally acceptable answer. 🙂

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