This is not how I want to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Chocolates, cards, roses… Will you be my Valentine?

When I was in high school, I found a book by Leo Buscaglia entitled “LOVE”—at the time it was quite popular. As I read the book something was stirred up in me. As a matter of fact, I brought the book with me from Turkey when I moved to the United States! Since then I have been studying love so that I could expand in it and with it.

So, what is love? It can be:

  1.  An emotion
  2.  An action
  3.  A state of being
  4.  An ability
  5.  A connection

Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks used 7 words to define the different states or kinds of love:

Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family
Philia: the love that you have for friends
Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)
Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love
Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting
Pragma: long standing love
Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)

A lot of choices, right? Which one do we mean when we say “love”?

To me love is happening when I feel that warm presence of being connected to myself so that I can be connected to someone else, and to life itself. It is when all worries, fears, and lack are lifted and I am present and open to the moment. Love is an emotion and connection in action creating the “awe” of life. It is all inclusive. It is a practice, not something we find or not find; it is our essence.

Then my question is: if someone is single and not in a relationship or experiencing romance, are they out of luck on Valentine’s Day? Is love inclusive of everyone or is it exclusive for select few?

With world population well over seven billion, it seems strange to think that anyone could be lonely. The Internet and cell phones are everywhere, but in the midst of all of this community, many of us still find ourselves alone. Our lives are crowded with people but what we really need and crave is intimacy—the certain knowledge that someone is familiar with us, that someone knows who we are and cares about what happens to us.

Loneliness, at its core, is a feeling of disconnection, a feeling that nobody loves us. All of us want to be loved. So this Valentine may I invite you to extend your love to all of life including yourself. Making this kind of love our prevailing desire will make us live in our highest potential and optimize everything from health to fulfillment and wisdom.

I plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day like this. Will you join me?