Large red hearts, pink double hearts and lavender hearts pop up everywhere right after the New Year celebrations fizzle. Retailers everywhere are poised to capitalize on the next big holiday frenzy-Valentines Day-February 14. The holiday of love, lovers, couples, weddings, marital bliss, companionship, friendship and our eternal quest to be loved, accepted and romanticized, our need for approval, our quest for the holy grail of life-LOVE.
No place on earth says LOVE more than the Hawaiian Islands. With their cascading waterfalls over porous lava rocks into natural pools fit for swimming lovers, Hawaii
is the capital of LOVE. We have all seen the images of the physically attractive young couple under the Hawaiian waterfall. He, with a tanned, chiseled muscular physique, she the personification of the nubile Goddess, wet hair drenched by the waterfall, flawless skin, perfectly shaped melon-esqe breasts almost covered by an island print bikini top. He, holding her in his arms, she looking longingly into his eyes….the Ad industries’ idea of love, romance and the happiness utopia. What registers in our brains as we see this carefully crafted image, is that somehow our lives have not measured up to this fabrication of the LOVE“ ideal”. This is especially impactful if you live in Los Angeles, where Hollywood’s idea of romance permeates society at every turn.
I pondered this image as I flew alone to Hawaii. My first trip to the islands was predictable-to celebrate my third honeymoon. Seems the third time was not the charm! This trip ahead of Valentine’s Day became a reflection on what LOVE really is and how to navigate this season of heart-filled fantasies when you are single in Los Angeles. Indeed, where was I going to spend my February 14 alone in LA?
The social media chatter had begun, as people everywhere posted their ideal images of the love in their life, of their lives, or the exact opposite-silence from anyone single at Valentines Day.
I often turn inward for guidance to help me navigate life’s turbulent waters and have a daily meditation/ yoga practice, where in the stillness, I find answers, comfort and the desire to keep moving onward in life, no matter how difficult it can seem. The ocean is also a place of comfort and solace to me. While swimming in the warm waters, with sea turtles and whales migrating close by, and this article deadline hours away…I was reminded that in order to find love, one must first love self. Ahhh, SELF-LOVE, that illusive phrase we have all heard tossed out at self -help workshops and New-age gatherings. But what is it really? How does one go about, with the big V-Day in LA, looming, find it?
There is a place adjacent to the heart of Downtown LA where singles can spend the day surrounded by nature- a place where red-tailed hawks circle overhead, Horned owls hoot in the trees, cottontails scamper and mule deer dot the surrounding landscape. It’s called Ernest E. Debs Regional Park, or Debs Park. It’s relatively undiscovered, hidden to most people who speed past it on the 110 Freeway. It’s a place of natural habitats and recreation, and to its adjacent neighbors, it is their backyard. The park is inspiring. The views for its high spots are breathtaking and revealing. It is truly a place worth exploring, and a place that simply by its presence, nurtures the concept of loving self.
As you walk the marked trails and surround yourself in the natural beauty this city has to offer so close to its urban borders, you just might forget for a moment that you are on a date with the most important person in your life-yourself! And as February 14 passes by again, you will reflect on the fact that this indeed was your best “date” ever!
Wishing you all a day of love in all its forms, shapes and colors!