A Self Love Prescription For V Day

Here’s to falling in love … with YOU! Tea alchemist and serial optimist Alicia Henry delivers a self love prescription for your V Day. Illustration: Soleil Ignacio

 

Valentine’s Day …  Whether you’re single or in a partnership, this commercial “holiday” can bring on a wave of negative feelings. Some of us become plagued with thoughts of loneliness, heartache, and even begin to question our self-worth. But there is hope for turning this day (and everyday) into a positive, love-filled experience. And you don’t have to search any further than yourself.

Loving yourself is the most vital action you can take towards your overall well-being and vitality in this life. Not only will you come to the realization that you are a divine being, but you’ll begin to draw others into your life who are also aligned with nourishing their souls and evolving into the best version of themselves. A beautiful ripple effect of LOVE. 

Like any new skill, self-love takes practice, determination, flexibility, and patience. It’s a practice we have to cultivate. This V Day is the perfect time to renew (or begin) your own self-love affair and I’ve concocted a self-love prescription to get you started. Here’s to falling in love with YOU!

Photo: Danny Lane

1. Morning Gratitude + Affirmation Ritual: Our mornings can make or break the rest of our day, so upon waking, take a moment to acknowledge 10 things that you are grateful for. This could mean being thankful for your soft pillow that you lay your head upon, or your two healthy feet that work tirelessly to get you around all day long! This is the first step to simply becoming grateful for who you are.

*Pro Tip: I love to cleanse my space before beginning my morning ritual. My favorite way of doing this is to light Palo Santo—the aroma is sweet and soothing, and it opens my space for newness.

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2. Solo Date: When we’re feeling lonely, the first thing we tend to do is run away from the loneliness and fill the void with social engagements. Friends are definitely a major component to our happiness, but if we can’t be happy solo then our social circles become a mere distraction from ourselves. Try turning inwards. You may actually love what you find!

*Pro Tip: A solo date could just mean reading an empowering book, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ classic Women Who Run With The Wolves.

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3. Write Yourself a Love Letter: Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. Write yourself a love letter that you can open up any day you need it.  The letter can include recognizing your greatest strengths, honoring what you believe makes you unique, and forgiveness for any negative feelings about yourself.

*Pro Tip: Create a romantic letter writing experience by lighting candles, burning incense, and using beautiful stationery. To get your creative juices flowing, check out this beautiful poem by the Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Wordsworth describes his beloved as “a creature not too bright or good.” Who’s perfect anyway

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4. Meditate: Our minds are constantly buzzing, and meditation is an invaluable and truly intimate practice that brings us closer to ourselves, our intuition, our truth, and what really matters in life (to us). Even if it’s 10 minutes per day, give this peaceful, quiet gift to yourself.  

*Pro Tip: If you’re new to meditation, there are some awesome apps that will help guide you!

5. Practice Forgiveness: It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mistakes we’ve made, things we wish were different, our so-called imperfections, and other stories that we’ve created and hold against ourselves. But if it weren’t for our mishaps and wrong-turns, we would never evolve. Be tender and forgive yourself for anything that you’re holding onto that doesn’t serve your happiness.

*Pro Tip: The raspberry rose colored Rhodochrosite crystal (above) is known to activate the heart chakra, and promote self-worth and forgiveness. 

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6. Dance: Want a ticket to instant joy? Dancing is a way to connect to our essential life force. Don’t worry about what you look like—just let loose and feel the music. Whether you’re dancing with friends, or using your hairbrush as a microphone in your bedroom, never stop dancing!

*Pro Tip: Start the solo party with my three favorite tunes for dancing by myself—Pat Benatar’s  Love is a Battlefield, Banarama’s Cruel Summer and of course, Whitney’s How Will I Know.

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7. Take a Sexy Selfie: And see yourself through the eyes of lust. Sexy selfies don’t need to be sent to a lover, they can also be sent to your friends! A girlfriend of mine recently started a thread with her friends’ sexiest selfie submissions—it’s been such a beautiful, safe, body-positive experience.

*Pro Tip: The piece of lingerie I’m loving most at the moment is this black bodysuit by True&Co.

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8. Self-Care Spa: Taking the time to pamper your skin, hair, and nails is a rejuvenating self-care ritual that’ll give you that little extra pep in your step. 

*Pro Tip: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s an easy recipe for a truly decadent body scrub: In a mason jar mix 1 cup coffee grounds (just scoop ‘em off the bottom of your french press—no waste, yay!) with ½ cup coconut oil and ¼ cup raw cane sugar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you’re good to scrub! I find that vanilla and/or essential rose oil are great accompaniments to the awakening coffee aroma. Keep your scrub in the refrigerator when you aren’t using it. Enjoy, beauty!

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9. Rest Sweetly: Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When we skimp on sleep, it directly affects our mental well-being. We wake up feeling groggy, our digestive and immune systems are thrown off, and we’re easily spun into negative thinking. Create a peaceful sleeping experience for yourself with kind bedding, a dark room, and a no-electronics policy.

*Pro Tip: Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I add some lavender infused essential oil to my third eye and lower palms. I cup my palms over my face and breathe in slowly. When you focus on your breath and begin to slow your breathing, you’ll simultaneously slow your heart rate and bring yourself to a restful place.

Naked Sage Tea’s “I Care Deeply” Blend

Alicia Henry is an Herbal Alchemist  and Founder of Naked Sage Tea, an organic tea company based in Venice, CA. A serial optimist, she is aptly part of the team that achieved The International Day of Happiness, which became a resolution of the United Nations. Follow Alicia and Naked Sage Tea on Instagram for more romance, adventure, and sweet self-love. 

AN HONEST RELATIONSHIP: HOW TO LOVE AND BE LOVED

Step fully into your light for an honest relationship that shows you how to love and be loved, says Hannah BierArtwork: “Lovers” by Marina Gonzalez via Behance.net

They told me that true love was sweet and sticky. They told me that if I manage to stay obedient and pure, a Prince will come and save me. He will wear tight-ass leggings and put me in a castle, where we will have mediocre sex until the end of time.

Well, my dating life used to be land mine after land mine and I know all too well about the brain fuck of modern societies’ views on romantic love. And it’s time to stop shitting ourselves and get real about what truly enlightening love looks like.

Here’s what you need to know if you want a mindful relationship where you’re free to love fiercely and be loved rapturously:

1. LOVE THEM SO MUCH THAT YOU PISS THEM OFF
Relationships that are either dysfunctional or incredibly boring share one common trait: the lovers dance around one another trying not to piss each other off. The truth is, the best thing you can do is to be your wildest, most obnoxious self, especially around the people you want to keep in your life.

We’ve been through tremendous amounts of family programming, plus the societal conditioning that piles a ton of limiting beliefs on top of the unhealed trauma we’ve amassed over the years. As a result of our lived experiences, we develop vices and behavioral patterns for dancing around our true fears and desires. It becomes easier to surround ourselves with people who join in this dance with us, and to never even try to get off auto-pilot.

Being your awakened and audaciously high-maintenance self means dancing in the way of your lover, and interrupting their pattern. It means being the one who loves them enough to not enable them to keep re-living their past. So do not restrict your own beautiful range of expression to accommodate their sleep-walking.

Just being you, you are going to piss people off who’d rather not wake up—especially those closest to you. But it is an act of fierce love to make them deal with their shit instead of trying to make it easy for them.

It is your business to love, not to look the other way. But too often this is misunderstood, and people make it their business to keep the people they love comfortably numb. If you want to support the spiritual evolution of a person you’ve come to care deeply for, let yourself be difficult and speak your truth.

2. TELL THE TRUTH
The #1 reason relationships end is because the lovers prioritize their own sense of comfort over the relationship. The glue for any mindful relationship is emotional intimacy, for no intimacy means no connection, and therefore no point to the partnership.

In order to keep the juices flowing, you need to continuously gather the courage to say the things you almost daren’t. You have to have the courage to be vulnerable and to make yourself look like an idiot. You have to value the relationship more than the desires of your own ego.

You can either be comfortable or be loved. Because if you don’t step up and show yourself in all your messy glory, it is simply hard to love you. We need to see you, to be able to love you. Don’t blame your shallow conflicts about who bought the wrong toilet paper for the deterioration of your relationship.

Every conflict is an opportunity to stand up and tell the real truth. To throw your lover on the bed and to show them how deeply you want to be with them. Fuck them until they know how much you love them. Or to keep screaming and making up stories, so that you can stay comfortable and lonely. It is completely up to you to show up and give it your all.

3. HOLD THEM THE WAY YOU WANT THEM TO HOLD YOU
It is your job to see people for who they truly are. We all have a tendency to downplay our brilliance, to dim our lights, so that we can keep living within what feel like safe boundaries of being. If we never reveal our true nature, we will never make ourselves vulnerable, and we won’t be subject to any criticism.

But you know this won’t work.

By covering up what we really want and settling for something less, we are directing our creative force against ourselves. Playing small is lethal, because every heartfelt dream contains the energy to make it happen. If we pull back instead of going full blast, the energy intended to help you take massive action ends up being trapped in your body where it will slowly kill you.

Don’t let the people you love hurt themselves like that. See them for the genius they truly are. Remind them of how you see them and make a vow to only speak to their higher selves.

How do you want the people you love to show up for life? Don’t you want them to be empowered as creators, infinitely brilliant artists, and deeply loving souls? Hold them the way you want them to show up. Humans are forgetful, make it a habit to remind people of what they really need to understand about themselves.

This, is fierce love.

UNCONDITIONAL SELF-LOVE: A SACRED ROSE QUARTZ RITUAL

Learn how to use a Rose Quartz ritual as a tool for self-love and beautification. By Laurey Simmons of The Colourful Dot.

What is it about children and their innate attraction to sparkly and beautiful things? I remember so clearly walking along the beach as a child, looking for the prettiest pebbles, just feeling so full of LOVE, even at this young age, for the beauty of Mother Earth and her magical powers.

This kind of instinctual love can become more difficult to access as we get older and our hearts carry more scars. And with Valentine’s Day approaching, this is a sacred moment for us to remember our innate sense of LOVE ENERGY – which Mother Earth can effortlessly remind us of, if we are open to receive.

Crystals are my direct path back to that instinctive childlike enchantment, and as a make-up artist and spiritual adventurer I have found magical ways of using them to help my clients embody inner and outer beauty. After all, nurturing our innate beauty is not an exercise in vanity, but actually a practice in bringing us closer to the divine.

For me, unconditional self-love is an essential ingredient of inner beauty. And one of my favourite tools to activate this aspect of our self is a Rose Quartz ritual. This gemstone works with the energies of the heart, gently nurturing compassion for self and other.

So how can you use a Rose Quartz ritual to awaken your inner goddess? A simple but very nurturing ritual I love weaves Rose Quartz into a bathing experience. Here’s how:

  • I always begin with spiritual cleansing of myself, my space and my crystals. I love to use the smoke of burning Palo Santo, a ‘holy wood’ from South America that was used in ancient ritual and ceremony to ward off bad energy.  It’s really important to make sure you open a window while cleansing, so that any energy you are wanting to be rid of can leave. Trailing the burning wood around myself and the Rose Quartz, I watch as the smoke travels and fades mystically, as if in a sacred dance. I instantly feel lighter. As I breathe in this rich, heavenly scent, I visualize the smoke spirits soaking up any negative energies, and kindly transporting these energies away.
  • Placing some flowers or a plant at the end of the bath will also allow you to drop deeply into the present moment. I often just gaze at the flowers, absorbed intimately with Mother Earth and all her natural beauty. I have this beautiful quote about flowers as a reminder:

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” – Georgia O’Keeffe.

  • To elevate your sense of smell, have a relaxing oil burning. I like to use Rose and Geranium oil with this specific ritual. As the aroma fills the air, I enter deeper into a meditative state, visualizing the molecules of scent travelling up through my nose, down my chest and into my heart centre. Here the scent is absorbed by a delicate pink rose, slowly opening its petals to reveal a white healing light.
  • With this image firmly rooted in my heart, I mindfully place the Rose Quartz pieces around the bath. I will usually have a blessing which I will speak when placing each stone. A great blessing for this ritual is: ‘“May I be bathed in the light of unconditional love.” I will also add some Rose Quartz tumble stones (small polished stones) to the water, so that when bathing, I’m fully immersed in the absolute and unconditional love of Mother Earth. Once in the bath, I then imagine the crystals surrounding me linking with each other in a loving, active embrace.
  • When your bathing ritual is over, it is important to ground yourself. I like to visualize tree-like roots anchoring me down to the core of Mother Earth as I dry myself.

Beyond bathing, I also recommend adding some magic to your morning beauty routine. Did you know you can use a Rose Quartz massage stone to apply moisturizer? In ancient times, Egyptian women added powdered Rose Quartz to their beauty potions to prevent wrinkles and to restore a glowing complexion. So, with gratitude and respect for the ancient beauty wisdom of our sister goddesses, I will apply the cream with my stone and visualize my face glowing with a white nourishing light, restoring my inner and outer beauty. An extra little tip to give you Rose Quartz energy on-the-go is to add one or two small Rose Quartz tumble stones into the cream itself, making sure you have cleansed and blessed the stones beforehand.

I hope this Rose Quartz ritual brings you the space to relight the flame of self-love and inner beauty. Here is one of my favorite passages on inner beauty to send you on your way:

“Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”

– Kahlil Gibran, excerpted from The Prophet (A Borzoi Book)

TEMPLE OF VENUS: A MEDITATION FOR MANIFESTING TRUE LOVE

Elyssa Jakim’s monthly Temple of Venus column returns…this time, ahead of Valentine’s day, with a meditation to feel and call in the love of your twin flame.

Hi, Venusian Friends! It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so let’s talk about LOVE.

A couple of years ago, someone mentioned a book to me called Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. At the same time, I took a spontaneous three-day trip to Tulum, Mexico, with my roommate in order to escape office banality in favor of much needed tropical revivification. As I sat on the veranda, with my fruit plate and copy of Calling in the One, I met a woman who had an inexplicably magical air. She showed me a book she’d written and asked me to open it up any page, akin to pulling an oracle card. I opened the page to a section called “soul mate” and we laughed for some time (since I was reading a book about soul mates!) And when I read the chapter in Sandra’s book, I found tears in my eyes.

Learning about the idea of soul mates in Tulum allowed for something to change in me. I had spent most of my twenties dating people who were distinctly not my soul mate or soul partner, people whom I thought were cool or aloof or better than I was. People who were unavailable, and who triggered deep insecurity in me, which made me hunt for affection and praise. I hid my intelligence from partners, thinking, strangely, that it made me less attractive. But I found myself opening up to the idea that the way to attract a partner, was to be simply be myself, and found myself considering that men too might be looking for this type of connection. This was revolutionary to me.

But the journey to letting this in took time. Essentially, it was a journey of claiming my worthiness and challenging my insecurities, as well as the programming of the jaded NYC dating scene. As well as a journey to claim something that I had always secretly believed in: true love. In the Now Age, phrases like “soul partner,” “twin flame,” “manifesting a partner” seem to be ubiquitous,  and the story always seems to be the same: love yourself first. Vibrate love and your person will come. In fact, we hear it so often it can sound hackneyed, unsatisfyingly vague, or too granola.

But we can choose to see it differently, with eyes of innocence, just like I chose to allow myself fall in love and be loved in Tulum. We can choose to believe that all of this talk of soul mates is, in fact, speaking to a growing phenomenon, a societal shift, a rallying against the bullshit of modern dating. The more people allow themselves to claim a desire for soul partnership and connection, the more the dating dirt is swept up and, well, the more love there is to go around.

While on my search for my inner confidence and true love, I developed an exercise that ultimately manifested my soul mate in real life. For Valentines Day, I would like to share this exercise with you. Of course use it as you like, and feel free to make any alterations you see fit.

:: A Meditation to Manifest Your Soul Partner ::

  1. Set aside some time for yourself to do this and set your space up. Light candles, put roses or lilies on your bed, anoint your body with essential oil, play soothing music, smudge your room with palo santo or sweetgrass. It’s particularly luxurious to do this before bed.
  2. Whether you’re sitting or lying down, feel the space that’s surrounding you. Feel the surface that’s underneath you and surrender your weight to it. Sigh out of your mouth a few times to release anything that you don’t need. Now feel the energy of the earth in any way that speaks to you. You can imagine fire from the warm core of the earth, tree roots going deep into the ground, your favorite tree, or hold a crystal and breathe in the earth element. The earth symbolizes the mother, the feminine principle. Once grounded, open up to the stars, the sun, the sky, the divine, the cosmic, the heavens. This starry energy (the more outward expression of God) symbolizes the father. Feel the play between these forces in your body: heaven and earth, mother and father, foot and crown.
  3. If you feel comfortable doing so, invite in your divine team in. (If not, skip this step.) Your divine team might include: ascended masters, angels, guides, spirit animals, fairies, mermaids, unicorns, and any other symbols that make you feel loved. Invite them by saying “I’m calling in Archangel Michael” (for example). Tell your team your hopes and fears. Say what you’re looking for in your mate, how doing this makes you feel, and what you desire. You can also speak this to a stuffed animal or crystal if you like!
  4. Ask to see your higher self. Does this bring forth a vision in your mind? A feeling? A sense of knowing? Stick with it. Now declare: “I would like to see the higher self of my soul partner.” See what comes up. Imagine your deep love, your spiritual lover. Feel his or her energy and see what it reveals to you. Have a conversation with him or her. Get to know them. Feel the unconditional love he or she has for you. Imagine this person in front of you is holding you tightly, is kissing you, is making love to you, is laughing with you, is smiling at you—whatever comes up is perfect. Feel held in this energy for as long as you like. Feel held in the arms of your beloved.
  5. When you’re ready, thank your divine team for coming in and tell them they are released. Send up a prayer for yourself, for love, for the planet, for anything and everything that feels good. Rest in the energy of your beloved. Imagine your soul partner holding you as you fall asleep.
  6. You can return to this place of soul-partner love whenever you like. Daydream about him/her, feel him, cultivate a fantasy relationship with them (yes, really! This is a sublimely fun game and it feels divine if you treat it as such). Let the dream world be playful and loving, let it fill your heart with hope and glee. Let him hold you every night as you go to sleep.

Connecting in this way made me so satisfied that by the time my bonafide flesh and blood person came in, I had already let go of the desire for a partner. That is because I already felt him right there next to me.

The most marvelous thing I discovered in pursuing this soul partnership is that the love is all the same. The love for a partner is the love for a child is the love for a beautiful flower or poem is the love for God is the love for creation is the love for a stranger who smiles at you on the street is the love for the sunset over Tulum’s luscious ocean. So try it out, beloved! I can tell you it has transformed my life and I hope it does the same for you. Here’s to true love.

I also recorded this meditation for you to listen to below.

In real life Venus hang time! : If you’re in Los Angeles this V-Day, Holy F*ck genius Alexandra Roxo and I are teaming up to create a special ritual for self-love and partnership, culminating with a sharing of aphrodisiac chocolate and tea, custom card pulls and one-on-one love advice. Find out more here.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s post from last month’s Temple of Venus column.