Category Archives: Relationships

3 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

IMG_2224Valentine’s Day is a holiday that brings up mixed feelings for me. I have been single for the majority of my adult life, with a series of the kind of dating experiences that made for good story telling (and that’s about all).

One year, I had a boyfriend who was actually willing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me. In an attempt to foster some badly needed emotional intimacy, I asked him what he wanted for our future together. The answer was – he wanted me to pay for more things. So, I paid for our dinner and started contemplating our break-up.

I prefer to think of Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate all types of love and to cultivate feelings of love, in general. Here are 3 non-romantic ways to celebrate:

1. Love yourself – address what you’ve been neglecting

Everyone has one part of their life that they want to attend to but don’t prioritize. Maybe you’ve been ignoring a nagging pain. Or you just can’t seem to make it to the gym or that yoga class you like. Take this time to nourish yourself and attend to your needs – whatever that means for you.

I have a tendency to prioritize work around the house over my emotional needs. I plan to work on my vision board and take a restorative yoga class in honor of Valentine’s Day.

2. Love someone else – write a love letter

Take this opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to you by writing a love letter. The letter can be to anyone – a friend, family member, or even someone who has passed. You don’t even have to send it. It’s more important to just connect with your heart. If you decide to share your feelings – even better!

3. Love everyone – loving kindness meditation

Romantic love is only one of the ways we can love. Loving your neighbors, the strangers on the train, the person who cut you off in traffic – that is masters level loving!

Practice with a loving kindness meditation. Find a guided meditation here:, on, or elsewhere online.

Wishing you all kinds of love!

How to Find Closure

We had been dating for about 4 months when he took a 2-week trip to visit family and friends in Chicago. Things seemed to be going well between us, though he had been out of work for a while and was showing signs of depression. We talked almost every day while he was gone.

Then the day he was supposed to start heading back came and…nothing. I called. I texted. No response. I had other people call him for me. Again, no response. I searched the internet for arrests, deaths, freak accidents…and found nothing. To this day, I have no idea what happened to him.

Once people reach a certain age, most everyone has experienced the sudden end of a relationship. The ending comes in many forms – an unexpected break-up, a fade-away, a sudden death. And the relationships affected can include anyone, from romantic relationships and friendships to colleagues. These experiences leave us feeling confused, wondering what we did wrong or how we could have done things differently. The not knowing makes the end of the relationship even more difficult to get over.

So, what do you do when you can’t get closure?

I have been reading a book called Grieving Mindfully by Sameet Kumar, which says it is helpful to perform a ritual to acknowledge the end of the relationship. Closure allows you to begin moving on instead of staying stuck in shock and disbelief. There are five things we need to say to facilitate closure:

  1. I’m sorry
  2. I forgive you
  3. I love you
  4. Thank you
  5. Goodbye

You don’t need to see or speak to the other person to find closure. For each step, write what you wish you could say to that person. If that person hurt you, it may be difficult to say, “I’m sorry” or “thank you.” But there are always ways we could be better in our relationships – more present, more affectionate, more active. And all of our relationships teach us something. Even if they just teach us how resilient we can be.

After writing your responses, I suggest lighting a candle and reading it aloud, as if the person was in front of you. Then you can begin the process of grieving the end of the relationship.