Did you know that the origin of the word "psyche" stems from the Greek word psukh, meaning "soul"? Legend has it that Psyche was once a beautiful princess who fell madly in love with Eros, the god of love, and yet had to endure many terrible trials before finally marrying him. This story shows us how the soul endures hardships to redeem itself through the power of love.
While we naturally think of love as romance, in Ancient Greek philosophy, there were many kinds of love. Eros was the classic romantic, passionate form of love, but there was also philia, or affectionate, friendly love, as well as storge, or unconditional, familial love. Ludos meant playful, flirtatious love, while pragma meant committed, long-lasting love. And beyond interpersonal relationships, agape referred to selfless, universal love, while philautia meant self-love.
If we view love from this widened perspective, we can see Valentine's Day as an opportunity to celebrate many different meaningful relationships in our lives beyond our romantic partnerships. As parents, we love our children beyond measure, so why not use this holiday to honor storge? Among friends, we can uphold philia, and as community members, we can look for inspiration from agape. Perhaps most importantly, we can practice philautia and remember to hold ourselves in self-love.
In the spirit of the multiplicity of love, here are some ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day that go beyond chocolate boxes and long-stemmed roses (though those things are still lovely to give and receive!)
- Decorate your child or spouse's bedroom door in a plethora of love-themed decorations. Think red, white, and pink streamers, heart shaped balloons and flower petals scattered on the floor.
- Do you have any older parents, neighbors or friends in your life? Break out the family photo album and take a trip down memory lane with them. Listen to their stories from the past and reminisce over good times.
- Plan a love-themed potluck picnic in the park or a neighborhood block party and invite all your friends or neighbors. Put on some lively love songs and bake special heart-shaped treats with your children beforehand.
- Know any new parents? Give them a few hours of bliss by watching their baby for them while they nap or enjoy some adult time together. If your own children are responsible enough to help babysit, show them how to care for a newborn.
- Elderly residents in care homes are often quite lonely. Purchase some love-themed stationery and help your children write thoughtful letters or draw cards for them.
- Animals need love too! Visit your local shelter and spend some time playing with the dogs and cats in need.
- Visit Downtown Bend early on Valentine's Day morning to experience the annual "Heart Bomb" event, where hundreds of students and their families from the Waldorf School of Bend lovingly create hand-made felt hearts and drape them over lampposts, doorknobs, windows and walls. Each heart includes a special message of love and community members are welcome to bring one home.
- Show some love to Mother Earth. Take your kids out into nature. Even just spending time outside, looking for heart-shaped river stones and practicing mindfulness, can inspire in yourself and your children a deep love for our planet.
- Do something special for yourself. Light 50 candles and take a long, hot bubble bath. Take a solo hike in the forest or drive to the coast for an overnight adventure with yourself. Get a wild new haircut or go get a facial or a massage. Whatever makes your soul sing–-gift yourself some self-love!
With all these different ways to honor love, how will you celebrate Valentine's Day this year? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page and let us know how you honored this classic holiday!
Head downtown early on Valentine's Day to experience the "Heart Bomb" event, where beautiful hearts made from felt adorn trees, lampposts and more, thanks to students and families from the Waldorf School of Bend.