With Valentine’s Day here, love is the topic on everyone’s mind. And I myself have been trying to wrap my own mind around this topic of unconditional love lately. But love is a wildly complex thing I’m learning the older wiser I get. In relationship, it can either make us soar or bring us to our knees in tears. Culturally, most of us have known love as a conditional experience. “If you love me, then you wouldn’t do this…” or “I love you, so I expect this…”, we all have our own definitions of the way we should be loved and how/when we share our love in return. Often, we go to great lengths to put up boundaries with those we’re close to so to best protect our hearts from any potential pain.
We’ve all heard before the phrase “True love knows no boundaries” , but how often are we actually experiencing this? And what does it mean to open our hearts to loving unconditionally?
“To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life; should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the beauty of the carvings.”
— Elizabeth Kübler-Ross
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (I.23) remind us that the unwavering practice of boundless love and devotion unite us with Divine Consciousness. Meaning, by seeing everyone equally through the eyes of compassion and loving kindness, we open ourselves to something much greater than our singular view of life and love. If we clench our fists around narrow definitions of love with a partner or family member, we limit our own potential to experience a love that transcends these conditional boundaries. This is the path of the Bhakti Yogi.
It’s a powerful and oh-so-challenging practice to show up with a heart open and eyes of loving kindness. But I challenge you today to practice this expansion – expansion of your definitions of love, expansion of your mind and heart – and to greet all those you meet with gentleness and compassion. And most of all, to reflect that love to back yourself.
Now onto some more self-love….truffles and a tea recipe! This sultry winter tea blend is made from warming red rooibos, dried rose petals, cacao and vanilla. The brilliant flecks of pink peppercorn aid in digestion and increase the potency of this antioxidant-rich tea. Ayurveda’s super root, Ashwagandha, is an adaptogenic root commonly used for its tonic properties to enhance concentration, improve circulation and support the nervous system. It’s also considered a powerful aphrodisiac! Pair this rich herbal potion with these rose truffles or these cardamom rosewater biscotti to invoke your sensual side.
½ cup loose leaf rooibos tea
¼ cup dried rose petals
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 whole vanilla beans, chopped
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
1 tbsp dried ashwangandha root
Combine all ingredients in a jar, lightly stir or shake until loosely combined. Seal and store out of direct sunlight until ready to use. To make the tea, boil water and place 1-2 tbsp of the loose leaf in a French press, tea strainer or tea bag. Pour hot water over tea and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve alone or with a splash of milk and raw honey.
Makes about 16oz loose tea