Flashback. It’s Valentine’s Day, 2013. I am travelling to Chicago for a quick business trip. I am alone. I am newly single. Again.
My then-husband and I had separated in December. For the third time.
We had been married for 24 years, and in spite of some major issues, we kept trying. Kicking a dead horse, more like. This time would be the last time, and I knew it. We were done.
My heart was feeling like ground beef, and I was in full-on cynical mode about love. Who needs it? Never again! Hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, because this girl is closed for business.
I arrived at a very lovely hotel in Chicago, attempting to ignore the red hearts, pink balloons and gushy love stuff I encountered at every turn. I checked in, and the woman at the front desk cheerfully handed me my room key, along with…..
Like, you know. One of those little Valentines Day cards you got in elementary school, from the boy you didn’t like. I stared at the flimsy card that lay in my hand. It said:
The irony hit me like a brick wall. Here I was, checking in to a very romantic hotel, in the heart of Chicago, on Valentine’s Day weekend.
I decided to take myself out for dinner. Distract myself. I walked to a nice looking restaurant, and made my way to the bar. Then I realized the error of my decision: the room was filled with couples, sitting at small tables lit with candles, enjoying their steak and wine while holding hands and gazing deeply into each others eyes. The lighting was low, the music was romantic, and the bartender looked over at me with pity showing in his eyes.
“There’s a seat at the bar if you like,” he said, gesturing to an empty stool. On either side were single men, sitting on their stools, staring at their beers.
I walked out and ordered room service at the hotel. Watched the Sex and The City movie (can I have those two hours of my life back please?) and cried into my spaghetti bolognese.
It was rough. It was also a rude awakening to my new reality.
I was alone.
For the first time since I was twenty, I was single. I had been married my entire adult life, and I had no idea how to be single. It felt weird and scary. I felt like I had lost a limb, and the phantom pain kept showing up.
I looked over at the bedside table, at the little Valentine lying there.
“Be Mine,” it said.
I began to wonder. Who’s was I? Who did I belong to? Now that I wasn’t in a relationship, I didn’t belong to anyone. I began to think about that. And as I let that realization sink in, my heart whispered to me. It said,
I felt the weight of those words sink into my body. I saw the meaning shift in an instant, from belonging to someone else, to…..simply belonging to ME.
I realized that in the midst of marriage struggles, raising three children, and supporting my spouse’s career, I had given up on myself. I had allowed myself to get lost in the busyness and the struggles. I’d neglected my heart, and ignored the truth of who I was and what I really needed in order to be happy and fulfilled. And I’d gotten so used to being disconnected from my heart, I hadn’t realized that it was locked away and silenced.
But it was. I lived in my head, and my heart didn’t get to have a say in anything. It felt safer that way. If my heart wasn’t in the mix, I couldn’t get hurt….right?
Wrong. Disconnecting from my source of truth and passion was hurting ME. My life was lived on autopilot. Simply moving from one task to the next. Going through the motions. Flatliner. The walking dead. I had no passion, no aliveness, no excitement and no authenticity. I was miserable.
I made a decision that night. I chose to accept my heart’s invitation. I committed to my heart, and I promised that I would do whatever it would take to build a strong relationship, to cultivate a life that was lived from my heart, and to re-connect and build my life, from that day forwards, as a heart-centered life.
Everything changed that night. I began to seek help. I hired a coach. I worked on my issues. I did the work of re-connecting with my feelings, allowing myself to feel all the hurt and pain I had been ignoring, and giving my heart a voice in my life.
Looking back on that night, I feel compassion for that sad girl. I also feel very removed from her, because I am a completely different person now. I feel alive, and free, and more in love with myself than ever.
Are you connected to your heart? Or do you live from your head? Do you listen to your heart’s voice, and honour it as your place of truth and authenticity? Or do you live only from your mind, ignoring the voice of the heart? Are you a flatliner, just going through the motions? Do you want more for yourself….do you long for a life that is fulfilled, passionate, exciting, juicy?
Give yourself a gift this Valentine’s Day. Your heart is asking if you will ‘Be Mine.’ Say yes. Say yes to your heart. Say yes to your truth. Say yes to honouring your feelings, to showing up for your life, to being courageous and doing the work to re-connect with your heart. Say yes to putting yourself first and to having compassion for all that you’ve gone through. Say yes to your truth.
The journey of self-love can be a difficult one. Especially as women. We tend to judge ourselves so harshly. We hate our bodies for every tiny flaw. We beat ourselves up about every mistake. We pour on the guilt for our lack of perfection.
[tweetthis]Our first and last love is self-love. Christian Nestell Bovee #quote[/tweetthis]
Yet your heart is not involved in the self-flagellation! Your heart is pure love. Your heart is your source of truth, and connecting with your heart is how you will fall in love with yourself. And the more you love yourself, the more your life will transform. Your relationships will change, your energy will shift, and your world will reflect all the love you hold for yourself.
Whatever your relationship status, I encourage you to take a moment this Valentine’s Day and consider the invitation your heart is sending you. Think about your relationship status with your heart. Are you committed? Are you cheating on your heart with your mind? Or are you completely cut off and disconnected?
If you want a deeper, richer, heart-centered life, begin to take the journey of self-love. Get the help and support you need for the trip. Hire a coach as a travelling companion, and I can guarantee you will arrive much faster!
Happy Valentine’s Day!