As children, we were told that Valentine's Day was about love. We exchanged
cards and candy with our classmates, and sucked on sugary hearts that said,
But sweetness wasn't always a part of the picture. Valentine's Day has its
origins in ancient Rome's feast of Lupercalia, which celebrated fertility in
a way that would make Fifty Shades of Grey seem downright sentimental.
On Lupercalia, men would sacrifice a goat and a dog, get drunk, strip naked
and whip women into fertility with the hides of these freshly killed
critters. Instead of being wined and dined, women would willingly line up
for the once-a-year chance to land a naked, puppy-killing drunk dude.
This tradition changed with time, and the 3rd Century martyrdom of two Saint
Valentines, each on different February 14ths, led to a more palatable,
fully-clothed, fur-friendly replacement for Lupercalia. But children didn't
start making heart-shaped cards out of red construction paper and doilies
until romance was introduced.
Around the time of the Crusades, poet-musicians regaled their listeners with
tales of true romance and courtly love. These charismatic troubadours sang
epic poems about chivalrous knights, their deeds, and the ladies who adored
them. Because of these stories, people wanted passion. They wanted to fall
in love. Arranged marriages became old-fashioned.
A Radical Re-Thinking of Valentine's Day
By Tom and Linda Peters
But a single episode of The Bachelor can point out some of the ways that
courtly love has gone awry. We believe that to be happy, we need to find a
charming prince or a perfect princess. We expect to have a major conflict in
the second act that can be quickly resolved with candlelight, an expensive
gift or a sincere attempt at rhyming poetry. We're led to believe that if
our partners truly love us, they should be able to automatically identify
and fulfill all of our hidden needs and desires.
We've forgotten that these ideas are based on make-believe.
The troubadour's songs transport us to a world where knights and ladies
never argue over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Animated fairy tales and
salacious reality shows teach us what to look for in an ideal mate. But
expecting a real-life partner to act like a fictional character has gotten
in the way of living happily ever after.
What if the perfect love was based on unconditional acceptance of each other
and ourselves? What if we claimed February 14th as an opportunity to see and
reveal our authentic selves?
When we focus on loving who we really are, we will be happier with the
reflections that we see in our partners. Love is about acceptance and
connection. When we accept our partners without condition, we are free to
more fully enjoy our journey together.
Acceptance and respect might not make compelling television, but they are
the unsung heroes of our most treasured relationships. They bring us quiet
moments of peace and contentment, and the deeper connections that deliver
sustenance to our souls. Please join us this month in celebrating their
Happy Valentine's Day! Our gift to you is "The Water Is Wide", one of the
oldest love songs we know. We've arranged it for mountain dulcimer, guitar,
bass, and a bowed stick bass called an EU6, made by NS Design.
Tom and Linda Peters are a married couple who write and speak about new age
and healthcare topics. Tom, a composer and GRAMMY® nominated performer,
writes new music for classic silent films. Linda is an Ayurveda Wellness
Counselor and the author of Way of the Whale, a novel about a trapped orca
whale who uses ancient wisdom to transcend the perils of captivity.