February is a month filled with sweetness. We are again happily reminded to celebrate love in its many forms as people focus attention on Valentine’s Day and the affection they feel for special people in their lives.
It prompts me to ponder, though, why we have designated a specific date to celebrate when every day deserves to be filled with love. Romantic love is wonderful, but the greater need is the biblical agape, selflessly loving others without apparent reward, as we radiate love for all. Matthew 22:36-40 counsels:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I ask myself, “Am I living up to this standard?” Just as we are moved to show our love on Valentine’s Day, it’s helpful to daily examine how we have loved a neighbor, stranger and other instruments in God’s creation, including Planet Earth.
Understanding how to love begins within; it’s the place from which our love for others and the planet flows. Charlie Chaplin’s inspirational poem, “Self-Love,” on page 25, keeps drawing me back. It’s a wise compass gleaned from a large life fully lived. For me, it’s also a source of comfort, confidence and security. Through each of the character traits Chaplin discovered within, there is an implicit and building drive toward self-acceptance and by extension, acceptance of the light in others.
As we love and care for ourselves, we love and care for all the rest. When we seek to have better health outcomes for ourselves, we teach others to do the same. Better collective public health results in reduced economic and social costs. It means more people are turning to local, natural, less processed foods. It means less air pollution from transporting foods long distances, less contamination of soil and water from toxic pesticides and herbicides sprayed on crops, sometimes just to make them last longer for transport.
As we seek to be more helpful, sharing and actively concerned about the needs of the less fortunate, it reduces exploitation. As we seek to respect our true desires without so many distractions and get rid of stuff that bogs us down, space and time opens up for more kindness. Local author and speaker Dr. Kat Smith has contributed an article, “The Law of Love Attraction,” which I hope will inspire us all on behalf of life on this planet.
This month we encourage you to be a better you both by intentionally becoming more resilient and considering upping your quotient of heart-healthy foods. Each month, we provide a wealth of information and resources throughout these pages, including our valued advertisers’ offerings, quick health tips and a calendar of healthy activities around town. We hope you make the most of it all as you seek to help the planet by pursuing a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Bernice Butler, Publisher