The landscape may be a bit stark and stormy, but splashes of red hearts and flowers are brightening retailer displays throughout the land. For it is February, the month when we celebrate love on Valentine's Day, and business is brisk for florists, card shops and purveyors of fine chocolates.
However, some people believe it is a holiday meant only for school children who haul volumes of valentines - one for every classmate - to school. Others feel the day belongs only to adults who have been struck by Cupid's arrow, those who long to leave work early so they can prepare for a romantic dinner in a secluded, candle-lit restaurant.
That leaves an awful lot of people out of the equation. Maybe some of your friends, family members, co-workers or merchant customers. Maybe even you.
One solution for those who feel left out is to ignore the holiday completely. It is, after all, just another day; it will pass soon enough.
Another tack is to cynically proclaim that Valentine's Day is nothing more than a good way to boost the bottom line if you've been shrewd enough to have landed merchant clients whose sales soar as a result of the holiday.
However, while these approaches aren't wrong per se, they are limiting. And why settle for limits when you, like everyone else, only enjoy a brief time on earth to experience what life has to offer?
Why not fully embrace the day and think of new ways to celebrate it that bring happiness to others? Even those who are deeply in love, in addition to expressing their passion, can also find ways to express many kinds of love.
This doesn't mean sending valentines to everyone you know. It doesn't mean buying chocolates or roses for your colleagues. It doesn't necessarily mean buying anything at all. It means reflecting upon what love for your fellow man means to you and how you might best express it, perhaps by sending nuggets of love into the world and letting them do their magic.
Here are some possibilities (there are countless others):
Those who express their love for others through words and deeds find a tremendous satisfaction in doing so that rubs off in all areas of their lives. Why not join in this month and continue throughout the year?
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