The Earth is your Valentine
In English we only really have one word for love. In Ancient Greek, however, there was a whole vocabulary to describe the wondrous variety of love that we can experience on this planet. There was philia for friendship love, stroge for the love of one’s kin and, of course, the infamous eros, that burning passion that we’re used to seeing on Valentine’s day cards. But beyond all these loves was agape.
For the ancient Greeks, agape was the expression of pure unconditional love. It was the word for a love that is boundless in its kindness, compassion, and divine warmth. When we are in agape we are connected to the reality at the heart of all existence— the knowledge that we are loved without condition. In agape we can know just how incredibly precious we are. We can feel how profoundly we are held by a wider benevolence.
We don’t have many experiences of agape these days in our culture, partly because we’ve cut ourselves off from the wellspring of agape that exists just beneath our feet— our Earth.
Regardless of whether or not I had a sweetheart, I’ve always loved celebrating Valentine’s day— leaving myself flowers in the morning, calling my best friend to tell her I’m thinking of her, or surprising my co-workers with chocolates. In the past few years, however, this day has felt more special than ever because I’ve decided that the Earth is my Valentine.
The Earth is agape itself. No matter what we do, or where we go, we are unconditionally loved and held by this planet. No matter how far we stray from the perceived path, the Earth is there, bringing us honey to sweeten our existence, flowers in the spring, a soft bed of moss to lay in and refreshing air to breathe. The Earth is the ultimate beloved, the one who never leaves you, never forsakes you, and loves you just as you are. As Robin Wall Kimmerer writes in her luminous book Braiding Sweetgrass, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”
In my new video I share a few simple, heartfelt ways to gift the Earth this Valentine’s day and feed your connection. I’ve found that when I enact these small tokens of giving, the agape I feel streaming through me is enough to bring tears to my eyes. When you embrace the Earth as your Valentine, you will realize that no matter what your romantic “status” is on this holiday, you are never alone.
If you’ve ever been in love, you know that opening to the experience can create ripples of mysticism in your everyday reality. Suddenly things appear brighter, kinder, and more vivid. The whole of the world comes alive with possibility, and every day seems like an invitation to magic. This is just what happens when the gateway of our heart opens— we get a glimpse of the true nature of reality. We see how enchanted our Earth actually is. We get a glimpse of agape.
So the next time the rain touches the top of your head like a kiss, or the sun curls around your bare legs like a kitten, know that this is the world’s way of loving you. No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s day this week, trust that the Earth is here to show you how special you are and remind you that you are a part of that great, trusting, and utterly beloved whole.
P.S. If you are looking for a book to uplift the heart this Valentine’s day check out The Way of the Rose. It is a love letter straight from the heart of Mother Earth and the agape emanating from each page is profoundly moving.