Every year I’m reminded of the general population’s lack of direction and perspective. Every year this reminder comes on Valentine’s Day.

Whether you hold the holiday to apply mostly to couples or to love in general, there’s no reason to be bitter. And yet every year people whine. So much of our culture centers around definitions of what we have and what we think we need to have to attain happiness. God forbid I’m single and someone else isn’t – they MUST be happier than I, no? Love is what we already have and love is what we stand to gain. Ultimately, it’s got very little to do with whether you’re single or not.

For me, personally, the holiday applies to all. I feel loved and I love loving others. On the one day of the year dedicated to love’s expression, the last thing on my mind is the fact that I’m part of a “liebespaar,” a love-pair. In fact, aside from sneaking to work early enough to slip a holiday card under my beloved’s keyboard, today was much like any other: We worked, then he went to the gym and I went to two bookstores, we eventually both ended up at home where we shared a very simple meal and now he’s downstairs watching an all new episode of The Office while I’m upstairs in my temple room bloggering and about to conclude the night with puja. I could just as easily have had the same evening were I single.

The Bible says “God is love,” and Christians are commanded to love everyone as their guru loved them. Greeks and Romans understood many forms of love – some forms being more carnal than others, which were virtually too lofty for humans to attain. And within Hinduism love has as many expressions as the Divine does.

Human-sized bears, overpriced chocolate and heart-shaped chalk candy are of course the more commercial aspect of the holiday’s modern incarnation, but the real idea of the day is no less changed. And mark my words, plenty of people today were gifted amazing flowers, steak dinners and wine, chocolates, jewelry, and romantic nights in… and will go to sleep feeling just as empty as they did when they awoke this morning. Our celebrated day of love truly has little to do with whether you’re single or not.

This year Valentine’s Day and Vasant Panchami coincide. I find this to be very auspicious. My Facebook status early today was to wish all “the love of knowledge and the knowledge of love.” I think the combination of a Day of Love and a day spent worshipping Saraswati, the holy personification of Wisdom, is wonderful. Think about what it means to actually love knowledge, and also to have knowledge of love. It’s much more than just a clever switching of word order. Possessing the love of knowledge as well as the knowledge of love, I feel, has played a large role in shaping me into who I am – and as long as I retain that perspective, I think it’s likely that this will continue to shape my personal evolution. I sincerely hope the same for you.

Love. Learn to see it in its myriad forms, please.

Om shanti



Every year, for probably the whole month of December folks look forward to the coming New Year. And rightly so, na? It’s our collective time of rebirth. The last year, with its good and bad, is put away. We’re starting January with the cleanest slate we can manage and high hopes, if not unreasonable goals.



Most people, by far, enter January with the absolutely best intentions for what they consider to be personal improvement. They join the crowds -entire masses of our populations- who are determined (resolute?) to make changes in the coming 365 days. Diets are started. Gym memberships are purchased. Self-help books are cracked open. In other circles japa bead are grabbed, vratas are commenced, pujas performed. And with a sad predictability, before Valentine’s Day much of this is out the window. All but abandoned.

I feel conflicted and certain about this phenomenon.

On one hand, misery loves company and I think everyone’s chances are bettered when others are attempting the same, samely. We get to commiserate and compare notes and encourage each other when we’re striving toward similar goals at the same time. This is what I’m certain of. Here’s an instance where going with the crowd can prove to be beneficial.

Unfortunately, while I often “go with the flow,” I usually prefer to make my own way in Life’s river’s currents and don’t usually need the additional comradery of pursuing a goal with others. With that in mind, imagine my delight when a number of years ago I had someone in my chair at the spa who told me she NEVER begins her resolutions in January. Her preference? Her appearance day.

Everyone has an Appearance Day. Sometimes you’ll hear of this when speaking of a guru or some revered person. Appearance Day basically refers to one’s birthday. And truth be told, your birthday/Appearance Day is your life’s naturally occurring New Year.

So every year in the weeks leading up to her birthday, this client of mine would develop her personal resolutions and start them on her personal New Year. In the years since my conversation with this gal I’ve adopted the practice, too.

Now, every year around the end of July I begin thinking about my year’s end and what I hope to accomplish in the next 365 days of life for me. For me personally a big benefit of this of that my goals are unannounced. I determine my goal. I determine my pace. And if/when I lack the motivation to continue with my resolution, and fall on my face, few know about it. 🙂

One of the best things about celebrating my New Year in August? I get to enjoy watching all of you hit the grind knowing I get to sit back for another eight months.

Happy 2013 to you all.