Okay… so maybe you don’t have a special someone to cozy up with this Valentine’s Day or maybe you do. Either way, I think the idea of Valentine’s Day is wonderful. Call me a romantic. But I think anything that increases the amount of love in the air and the guilt free consumption of chocolate has got to be a good thing. Marc David, in his book Nourishing Wisdom, says we have a natural biological desire for sweet foods (like chocolate) but sweetness is an experience we can feel in the heart and soul as much as on the tongue. So, while I highly recommend a good piece of chocolate for Valentine’s Day, what other things are you doing to make your life sweet? A reflection from Nourishing Wisdom asks“aside from food, what other experiences in your life would you categorize as sweet?”
If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer, sit with the question over the next week and pay attention to your life as it unfolds from moment to moment. Sweet little moments of pleasure can be as simple as enjoying the bright redness of cardinals again fresh white snow, sharing a laugh with a friend, seeing the joy on a child’s face, getting an email from an old friend, sharing a meal with friends, or taking a walk and feeling the strength of the body. What is sweet in your life? Let the question guide you toward discovering ways to see the world as fresh and new and often inherently sweet in each moment. It could be the best Valentine’s Day gift you receive this year.
And, if you want chocolate for Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to the best chocolate you can afford and really savor every moment of eating it. This might take some work on your part as research suggests there can be a lot of guilt around our desire and craving for chocolate. Chocolate is both seen as one of most pleasurable foods we can eat and one of the most forbidden. And, when we label a food as forbidden we set up a craving for it. This ultimately leads to an overconsumption of the forbidden food and increased guilt. It’s a vicious cycle. To break out of the cycle, mindfully decide to move chocolate out of the “forbidden” food category and into a sweet experience that you can thoroughly enjoy. I have made finding the best chocolates into a wonderful hobby. When I find the next new chocolatier, I truly savor the experience. No guilt! No overdoing it! Just pure pleasure.
Happy Valentine’s Day!