Today is Valentine’s Day.

I’ve had a truly lovely day today. But then again, I always do.

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday and has been for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in love with Valentine’s Day ever since grade school when my classmates and I were initiated into the ritual of bringing tacky, store-bought cards to school taped onto little boxes filled with stale, sugary hearts.

It was my first entreaty to love, and it awakened in me a passion as bright and enduring as the light of a thousand stars.

Throughout childhood, this holiday made me too delirious to notice anything forced or contrived or corny about it. I have grown wiser, obviously. I mean, I don’t get up and leave the room anymore when someone starts bagging on Valentine’s Day as if they were the world’s coolest hipster. No, I have actually matured into a more forgiving person. If someone can’t embrace Valentine’s Day shmaltz for what it is, that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect.

Often when people find out how much I adore this holiday, after a weighty pause, they will launch heartily into a treatise about how much they hate it. Mostly because of how contrived and commercial it is. Others relish pointing out the irony of VDay’s history as a celebration of martyrdom, and how it’s been twisted upside down in a way that is especially perverse given how tortured we can feel about love generally. In love, out of love, we swim in the zeitgeist of Love Hurts So Tone It Down A Bit, Lady. Sometimes people suggest to me that Valentine’s Day reinforces an immature and illusory image of love and (almost gaggingly said here) romance, that is fleeting anyway and hostage-taking and basically just a load of crap.

Single people hate it because it reminds them of their singleness. Married people hate it if the romance is gone from their partnerships. The broken-hearted hate it because it reminds them of how broken and lonely they feel.

I get a lot of side-eye this time of year.

And it follows, by implication, that I am suddenly not so trustworthy anymore. Folks lean back and re-appraise me in a way that reveals they’re on guard around me now. They’re gonna be taking some space, dialing it back on their formerly open regard for me. Maybe when I’d declared, with broad friendliness, “Oh I love Valentine’s Day, it’s my favorite holiday!”, they’d heard instead, “Oh I wear a tin hat to bed most nights, it’s the best way to receive the alien transmissions!”.

Now everything else I’ve ever said to them needs to be reviewed for lunacy.

They’re surprised. Taken aback by the fact that I may have been just the tiniest bit deranged all along, and they’d totally missed it.

People used to wonder about my husband in all this. How the hell could he win with me? He’d have more success throwing himself into oncoming traffic than to try and impress me romantically. A woman who loves Valentine’s Day? The holiday that sends legions of men to the mall after work on February 13th, with that deer-in-the-headlights-what-the-hell-does-she-mean-by-oh-just-get-me-something-from-the-heart look in their eyes?

But they had it all wrong. He was the luckiest man in the world. I was already happy, so anything he did was gravy. 13 and 15 as well know that all I want from them for Valentine’s Day is a homemade card and a hug, because really, it’s my day to have fun spoiling them with stuff. Usually, this involves a lot of candy, but cards too and sometimes if you’re in Target and you see a pastel-colored stuffed animal sloth, well what on earth do you expect me to do? It was a stuffed. animal. sloth!

Listen, when was the last time you spent time with someone who is happy, as-is? There’s a wide-open peace that comes along and nestles in our hearts when we’re around people like that. It’s freeing. I want to give that to my kids. And to everyone else.

Stop retching for a second and listen: Valentine’s Day is my day to just be in love with love. If you get in the way I’m sorry but I cannot be held responsible if it gets all over you.

There’s also this: Valentine’s Day, aesthetically, really smokes my shorts. It has all my favorite colors. It has hearts. It has lace, it has flowers, it has cards, in which people are supposed to write down how and why they love each other. Very importantlyit has chocolate, which as you know is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. All these tokens serve the sweet, unadorned, socially sanctioned expression of love in all its forms. The simple appreciation of love and loveliness.

And depending on the kind of love you’re in, all of those tokens can be expressed very neutrally and platonically, or teased into a sensual feast that is quite delicious. For example, you may not have noticed but lace can incarnate as a paper doily or as lingerie.

I mean, really, what is not to love about this day???

was not afraid of celebrating Valentine’s Day as a widow. I’ve loved this holiday when I was single, married, divorced, as a girl who didn’t understand its romantic implications yet, as an adult woman deeply in love, as a mother. As a pet owner, but if I get into the whole thing about my rescue dogs’ birthday being February 14th I will definitely lose the rest of my remaining audience. Let me just say this: coincidence? I think not!

I bought myself a gigantic arrangement of flowers, a few very nice pieces of chocolate, and went to bed the night before expecting to be happy.

It’s amazing, the decision to be happy. It must be cousin to the decision to keep loving. Especially after a loss. I feel sometimes like it’s a decision making me, not the other way around. Because some days I feel like I should be more grounded in it, less needy for inspiration — there is such potent love surrounding me and my children, and yet I sometimes still see myself as more of the giver of it rather than the recipient. It’s spiritually paradoxical, but it also illustrates that we often need to put some muscle into the reception of love. For those of us who get a lot of our needs met through giving, this is a lesson that can be conveniently avoided until loss actually occurs. What an opportunity, when we must face how we have limited our happiness and self-regard. It sucks at first to realize this about oneself, but it’s a gift.

I still occasionally feel the shrill arctic wind of terror blow through my consciousness when I consider what we’ve just been through. What I mean is, I don’t get attached to the fear, I just notice it off-stage, doing push-ups on the slim chance I’d decide to start entertaining worrisome thinking again.

And worries do pass through my thoughts once in a while, looking for odd demolition jobs: What if we don’t make it back to Love? What if our hearts took too much of a beating? It’s possible. I am never, ever blind to the suffering in this world. What if loss pins me down and I can’t get up? Then everything my family suffered through was for naught. It is scary, the very real consideration that grief might shut me down. What if Life cracked us open but forgets to put us back together?

Today I spent some time in my morning meditation, pondering the horrible risk that love is, and how unfair and perilous it is, really. I thought a lot about my boys when they were babies, and how I still can’t believe how utterly, thoroughly beautiful they were, body and soul, how I loved them so infinitely the minute I held them for the first time that it felt like nothing in the world would ever be wrong or hard again. I would give anything to go back for just one day to have time with their baby selves when all of our family’s illnesses and suffering was still far off. (I would also like it to be a day when no one was sick or teething and we’d all had a good night’s sleep.)

I also meditated on how much I adore the young men they are becoming, much more smoothly than I thought they would after losing their dad and then having a mom diagnosed with breast cancer 14 months afterward. And then of course,  I ached for them not having their dad right there, in body form, to touch, even though his spirit is around us and they are learning to talk with him every day (One of the perks of having a medium for a mom).

And I ache for the pain my husband had knowing he was going to have to leave them, and how he simply couldn’t face it.

But he made it to the other side, and seems more abundant in his expression now, which is hard to explain to people who think the spirit is not real at all, who believe that when we die, we simply die. The message he frequently shares with me is the opposite one and one I’ve heard over and over again from the people I’ve channeled: that when our bodies die, we return to Love, and we become more truly alive. That this here, this human life, is holy because of the compression of our potential into all the challenges we have to face to make love real here on Earth. The challenges are damn hard ones too, and that is why each life is so sacred. My husband adds a poignant twist, from his own experience: Don’t be afraid to love. We humans just don’t show it enough, how much we love, how big our love is. We hedge, we’re stingy, because we are so afraid to love and be loved in turn. We have all this joy in us, we’re made of love, yet we spend most of our lives keeping it secret from ourselves, parsing it out, trying not to get swept away by it.

Not bad for a formerly tight-lipped Brit.

wonder if being an intuitive turned me into such a goofball about Valentine’s Day. Sort of like an occupational hazard. Because I am so seriously unabashed about loving this holiday. Intuition, and the sharing of it, relies so heavily on pure love. The night I did my first reading and encouraged a young man to go to college, a dream he’d held so close almost no one knew about it, I felt a kind of bliss and contentment that I’d never come close to experiencing before. But once I chose love, I was propelled by it, I saw him so clearly in his cap and gown and I knew without a shred of doubt that if he had some encouragement he would certainly be teaching high school English someday and loving it. In the brief moment between when he turned to his girlfriend, my friend, and whispered, “What have you been telling her about me??”, and the next, when she, just as surprised, said, “Nothing!”, I felt a calmness about loving that filled in all the gaps of my life to that point. It took over.

Three days ago, we had a spell of really frigid weather set in, the kind of cold that dives deep into negative numbers overnight, and requires no small amount of determination to face going out in the morning. This is the kind of cold that is so rough it’s startling, that makes you cough on your first intake of breath as you step outside. Hell, it makes your car cough when you try to start it.

Getting ready for work, I’d planned to quickly turn the ignition and then rush back in to finish a few things while the car warmed up. I’d turned the defrosters up high, and was shutting the driver’s side door when something on the ground caught my eye. It was a small heap of something soft…like maybe the cats had caught a squirrel or the kids had dropped a hat?

Upon closer inspection, I realized it was an….undergarment. A camisole. My camisole, on the ground in a clump right beside my car. Not a really racy number, more the kind you would wear for an extra layer, or under something sheer to provide some discretion…yet not entirely practical either, made as it was out of a beautifully soft chocolate brown material with just the right amount of cling, and trimmed with black lace. It was classy but sexy too, the kind of camisole that said, “Hey. I know it’s winter. I’ll keep you warm. But there’s heat and then there’s heat, amiright?”

Hastily, I tried to pick it up, but nothing doing, it was frozen solid to the ground. Which means it had been there for God knows how long. Searching my memory, as my breathing became more rapid from the sub-zero temperatures and from wondering if any of the neighbors were watching me trying to dislodge a possibly frozen dead animal from the actually frozen ground-I suddenly remembered that I’d tried on the camisole the previous morning, but had decided it didn’t exactly match my dress, so I’d worn another one instead. But then how had it gotten outside?? Perhaps in the dry winter air the day before, between running back and forth starting the car and letting it run, finishing getting dressed and packing up my work bag, static cling must have caused it to stick to my clothes, so when I put on my coat it had possibly gotten jammed into the arm and fell out later?

I was truly hoping for this to be the case because if it had just been stuck to the outside of my dress all day, on display everywhere I’d been and then dropping off when I got out of the car at home….

Then basically I’d been flashing my undies all over town.

According to the forecast, my camisole was going to be staying put in my driveway for at least another forty-eight hours. And so when I came home that day I very considerately parked next to the camisolesicle, such as it was, even nodding a passing greeting at it — “I see you’re still stuck there,” — and I stepped by it gingerly each time I got into my car to leave. All weekend I did this. Including, on Valentine’s Day.

I don’t know about you, but my underwear doesn’t routinely get frozen solid to my driveway, despite my best efforts to organize my life and my closet.

It did make stop and think: this means something.

And I’m just spitballing here, but I think possibly Whoever was in charge of divine guidance on my account that Valentine’s morning must have looked around at all the other guides, winked, and said, “Watch this.” I think possibly there is a message here about how trying to control anything, but especially love is folly, much like trying to get everything to match. I was being shown that all we can really do is make the decision to suit up with a full heart and show up for love.

Also, I think a Universal decree got handed down to me that day, possibly this: Listen Sister, even in your deepest darkest coldest days, don’t you dare think you get to decide to shut your heart down. It won’t work even if you could. And even if all you can do is make the smallest attempt at keeping it open, even if you are standing there saying oh yes, of course I agree to love, while crossing all your fingers on both hands behind your back, well guess what? We can see you! We can see you if you’re hedging! You think we’re gonna let you skate on this? No freaking way. Obviously this means you need more faith than ever right now, so we literally flung your underwear outside, and we made sure it stuck. Because when it’s time for you to show your skivvies, it’s time.

So there you have it. Some people’s guides comfort them and restore their faith by showing them rainbows and butterflies. Mine throw my underwear onto the driveway.

My frozen camisole is a reminder to all that Love will prevail.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everybody!

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