This Valentines: Eat, Pray, Love and Plan. 10 Ideas for a Creative Day of Love

EAT. LOVE. PRAY and PLAN:  10 Creative VALENTINE’S DAY IDEAS

The day of love. Or rather, the advertised day of love. The day when, we are are supposed to be about love whether we feel like it or not. I know I know. Many of us creatives and dissidents complain about the commercialism of our holidays. And I don’t know if Valentines really qualifies for my Holy-Day Ideas listings, but LOVE certainly does. And you know what, any time the colors pink and red get celebrated, chocolate is encouraged, glittering things are considered as a decorating option, hearts are everywhere, angels are flying about and champagne is drunk mid-day – What could be wrong with that? I feel like being ‘called’ to act on behalf of LOVE, specifically, once a year, is not really such a bad idea.  I for one, Love LOVE. And I love to have an occasion where it is expected of us to DO SOMETHING to show that. Ok, coerced. Don’t let your resistance of commercialism or the double price of roses discourage you from creating a love day – your way. And if you want some ideas, I wrote some of mine down. Most of which, my husband and I have practiced in one way or another over our 15 years.

My girlfriend and I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert, her new long anticipated book came out, the one following the oober-sensation: Eat Love Pray. Committed, is a book about her marriage and engagement journey to Felipe, the man she met at the end of Eat Love Pray.  I love it that they stayed together, don’t you?  But based on the subtitle, A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, I kept expecting her to make a joke about the double meaning of the word committed. But she never did.  We left the evening kind of depressed. We love her and her work and her wit, and appreciated her in ten million ways, but somehow the evening just left us feeling, sad. We each thought we were the odd-ball only one, so were relieved when we discovered we both felt that way.

We are both hopeful romantics, and perhaps we didn’t sympathise with her allergic-ness to marriage. Mid-lecture I began to think – wow – what pressure she has just put on herself to stay married, now that she has gone through all this work to be married, because she was forced to for immigration purposes, and now shared it with the whole world! Clearly she really loves her man, but we all know how fame’s light puts bizarre pressure on the ones it shines on. I haven’t read the full book yet – and I do appreciate her research on the institution of marriage, and was happy to learn about this one character she found who said that all marriages are automatic acts of subversion against authority. Sir William Ferdinand Mount.

Sir Mount wrote a book called The Subversive Family. Here is what he has to say:

“The family is a subversive organization. In fact it is the only consistently subversive organization.  Only the family has continued throughout history and still continued to undermine the state. The family is the enduring permanent enemy of all hierarchies, churches and ideologies. Not only dictators, bishops and commissars, but also the humble parish priests and café intellectuals find themselves repeatedly coming up against the stony hostility of the family and it’s determination to resist interference to the last.” Wow. What a way to think about it.

I like the sound of that. Being a rebel and a patriotic sort, (I am a Gemini) I find myself wanting to honor our institutions, while smash out of the way they bind us as well.  As we left the crowds behind clamoring to get their books signed we tried to dissect why the evening had left us slightly bereft. We couldn’t put our finger on it.

My girlfriend and I met at this college, Dominican, where the evening happened, so perhaps it was the walk down memory lane 21 years later. She, having taken the traditional route of marriage, myself, haven taken a non-traditional route of marriage, both have a profound respect for romantic soul LOVE itself – and not just love as in ‘I love you’. But the soul mate kind of love, the deep love that has you be able to say, as in the Avatar movie, ‘I see you’ and mean it.  Any observation we made about why we didn’t feel right about the night, lead nowhere.

Making peace with things is good, but it makes marriage seem like a life sentence. Whether it is the institutionalism that has marriage be referred to as ball and chain – or the way we are in marriage of our own choosing, we may never know. Chicken or egg. There is that word again, Institution. Where we go get COMMITTED. I will read on in the book and see if she addresses this unsettling double meaning.

Thank you February, a month which comes after so much rain and dark skies, for bringing glittering PINKNESS into our gray days.  So this morning, I woke up with LOVE on the mind. I lit a candle, made some tea, and sat down to write up these creative love ideas down. Today, I will wear red!

And a word to the Ladies: please don’t leave this day to the guys and then blame them if it is not what you wanted. This list is for you – be generative, and invite him into what is important for you – instead of telling him what you want and then being disappointed because it is not as sparkly as you would like. Take responsibility, don’t expect him to surprise you, handle your own Valentines experience. And most of all, let LOVE be the inspiration, not obligation – but participated in some way, in a weekend where our country celebrates, LOVE. Thank you for the title of your last book, Elizabeth Gilbert, as it is the perfect prescription for Valentines Day.

Eat, Pray, Love   …and I will add: PLAN. Sure spontaneity is awesome, but it may be best in a container that is already defined, by you, as a LOVE experience. If you give yourself an extra four hours prior to the day of, and plan for yourself or your beloved, you will be able to really show that you care. Because caring takes time. And even glitter, needs something to apply itself too. Whether it is a naked body with sparkle lotion, sprinkles on a cake, or a hand made valentines with glitter and lace, there is something upon which the glitter is applied. A foundation. So let planning be the foundation of showing your love. It just turns out better that way.

For many of us, back in kindergarten, Valentines were our first form of correspondence with others besides love notes to mom and dad. How fun were all those little greetings of friendship and love?! Will you be my Valentine? is something we asked many people, not just one. So, remember your friends, too, on this day, especially those having a hard time in their lives. This is a day of love, so, let’s love.

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“Let’s love, oh yes, let’s love, let’s give the town a whirl, let’s kiss and tell and not get caught and I will be your girl.” Caron McCloud (a line from a poem my mom wrote.)

Love Opens Us By Shiloh Sophia McCloud

10 Creative Ideas for Valentine’s Day 2010 by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

(Warning: Each of these suggestions takes pre-day-of planning. And, these suggestions are only for the committed – not for the commitment-phobes.)

  1. LOVE NOTES: Go shopping, get love journals, begin the love year with writing letters to each other in the journals. This is the place for pasting cards, love notes, ticket stubs and even grocery lists into the record a year of love. And, it works great if you pre-prepare a love letter.
  2. DATE NIGHT: Create a date night ritual, starting with Valentines, and put the date nights into your calendar for the year. Make a list of possible plans for how to spend those date nights that are playful, and inspiring. You can even alternate planning it for each other.
  3. LOVE BOOK: If you have been together for a while, there is a trail of love documents and photos.  Get a really nice album, and together spend the day drinking red wine, eating cake and gluing, glittering and pasting a record of your love into your love book. Tip: shop together for the love book “bling”
  4. LOVE STORIES: Interview each other about great memories. Record it in audio or video. This will be priceless as you grow old together. Tip: Most computers have a video thingie now, learn it before the day of.
  5. LOVE NEST: Create your home or bedroom as a lovenest, together. Get flowers, and light candles, decorate it together, go shopping for new pillows, or other little loving things, together. Then make eachother dinner, naked.
  6. LOVE ALTAR: Create a love altar. Clear a dresser or shelf and together, listen to your favorite music, and make an altar honoring your love. What kinds of things remind you of that person? What do you want to bring to your love life this year? What do you want to show gratitude for?
  7. LOVE SONGS: Spend an afternoon pre-the-day and download your favorite love songs and just songs, go all the way back to childhood, and share your music with them.  Plan a concert some time during the day, at night with candles is good – and give it to them, narrating in between about why you put that one on there for them. This is SURE to be a hit.
  8. FEAST of LOVE: Give your love an invitation to a special occasion that you are planning. Make dinner at home, or at a suite you have rented. Choose to have it be a finger feast, and lay it out on boards and plates across the whole table, cheeses and meats and nuts and breads and sauces for dipping and jars of honey and on and on. It is important that it is a “spread” and that there is enough. Feed it to them with your fingers. This is one best, naked or scantily draped. Don’t hid bulges, be proud. But do shave.
  9. VISIONS of LOVE: Create a Vision Board together for your year. Start with what you want to create individually, and together. If you share a spiritual journey together, write a prayer for your life together.
  10. LOVE CEREMONY: Renew whatever vow you have. Let your partner KNOW how you feel. Don’t hold back. And bring something, an object of some kind to commemorate that – seal the deal. Share you full heart. First, open it.

Eat, Pray, Love, Plan, and Celebrate Each Other.

Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Later this week I hope to post my thoughts on the easy ways to write a love poem…

An important part of true love, of course, is loving oneself. And so for those of us who want more of that self love, realizing that if we do not honor ourselves, it is way more challenging for others to honor us, there is something you can do!  Rumor has it that February 13 is the new day of Self Love, and so you can choose to spend a day honoring you, right before you honor the other person with your love. OR if you are single, call a weekend of Self LOVE for you and your girls. Don’t let this love day opportunity pass you by, which is filled with more conscious love energy than many other days of the year, for that reason alone, get in on the juice. AND if you are in the BAY AREA, you can join Self Love expert, Christine Arylo for the Madly in Love with ME happening, I will be there too! Christine is responsible for much of the awareness of the self love movement! Ya Christine! Christine and I teamed up together this weekend at The PAUSE Retreat, and had a great time working with women on planning vibrant and courageous twenty-ten. Each of us chose a power mantra, or power prayer, which sums up our hopes for our year. Have you done one yet?