When it comes to love, don’t ask ‘why’ but ‘how’

Yesterday I started working on a Valentine’s day project that was inspired by a thought that came to me during my morning meditation. Here is the email I sent out to my list of loved ones last night. I invite readers to spread the love this week. Ping me if you want in on my list.

Dear friends:

On February 7 an insight came to me during my morning meditation: When it comes to love, don’t ask ‘why’ but ‘how.’ We could waste a lot of time pondering the why to no end. Asking why seems to imply that our loved ones “earn” our love by being or acting a certain way. Fact is we love whom we love. Why do we need explanations?

What truly matters is how we express our love. Do you show it through words or actions? Do you shout it from the mountaintops or send it out quietly into the universe? Most pertinently of all, do you love in ways that are consonant with the individual needs of others, or only in the manner you’re comfortable with?

These thoughts inspired me to do something for Valentine’s day as a way to reflect on how we show our love for others. Here’s the deal: Below I share with you something in my life that I love very much, but instead of telling you why, I’ll tell to you how.

If you are so inspired, I invite you to send me (and anyone else you wish) a Valentine’s day email about *how* you show your love for someone or something in your life. This can be anyone or anything at all: animal, vegetable, mineral, or something entirely abstract. The object of your love can even be you! (Major bonus points for sharing how you show love to yourself.)

While this is a mass email for expediency’s sake, if you choose to participate in this project, I will reply to you with a personal message. Yes, I am cleverly engineering it so we all get e-Valentine’s on Feb. 14!

So here is my share:

I love my garden. Technically I have two.

I have a rock garden in front of the house (the former church is our neighbor’s house)… [We are INSANE. Brian hand placed about 1/6 of those stones, and I did the rest. It took forever.]


…and a shade garden in the back. See those large leafy plants? They’re called hosta, and I grow close to 90 different kinds. I know all their names, too.


Clockwise from top left:

  • Sum & Substance (grows to be quite large and can take more sun than most);
  • Elegans (the blue one that will eventually quadruple in size);
  • Vim & Vigor (related to S & S, but bluer);
  • Pineapple Surprise (check out those narrow blades with rippled edges!);
  • Pilgrim (cream-edged leaves, it stays small); and
  • Maui Buttercups (whose leaves are both cupped and dimpled).
  • Oh, and you can just see the tip of Cherry Berry, which has variegated leaves (green edged) and red stems!

I ❤ my garden.

One way I show my love for it is by tending it dutifully very early in the spring (I get excited when the leaves start poking out of the ground). When the growing season really gets underway, I go absolutely BANANAS. I can spend hours out there every weekend without talking to anyone or doing anything but digging, planting, watering, weeding, crushing snails (bane of my existence), and taking tons of photos. I’ve also been known to dig up plants and move them around because I’m a perfectionist. And compulsive.

I am especially in love with my hosta collection. When adding new plants, I choose each of their locations very carefully before I set them into the ground. The positioning depends on several factors: their light and water needs, but also how their particular size, color, texture, leaf shape, and overall plant shape (they come in more colors, shapes, and sizes than you can imagine!) complement what’s planted nearby.

Gardeners must know and accommodate the needs of each plant. So I place the ones that are hardier farther from the water source and those that can’t withstand as much sun deeper into the shadier parts of the garden.

I’ll stop here, though I could go on and on about my garden till your eyes start glazing over (because it’s been fascinating up until now, right??).

If you enjoyed this email and have the time and inclination, consider writing your own #notwhybuthow #vdayproject message. Please send it to me and your list of loved ones. I look forward to learning more about how you love what or whom you love and to sending you a special note on Valentine’s day.




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