“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

Plato

Saint Valentine’s Day –I have to write something about love I suppose

If you know me well you’ll know that I am not a gushy, all hearts and flowers kind of person. The Latin of you will often refer to me as “cold and English” – not sure I totally agree but if that’s the perception who am I to challenge?

So I started thinking about what Valentine’s day means – I immediately thought of extortionately priced red roses, increased champagne sales and the desperation of every young guy in love to find the “perfect” gift – No pressure there of course!!!!

We at Hotel Number Nine are getting ready for Valentine’s day with the orders coming in for our lovely rose petal welcome, evening turndown with chocolates, obligatory bubbles and we are even keeping the spa open until midnight on 14th. We’re just about fully booked but you may be lucky if you’re heading this way.

In preparing for Valentine’s day I started to wonder what is was really all about – it’s history if you will– I found countless stories which ranged from not so loving moments (killings and wars) to discovering that “hitting on” someone actually came from Roman times with men physically hitting the woman they were attracted to!

Not finding my ideal thread there I then turned to my favourite source – Literature. What did some of our wonderful writers have to say about love?

This line from perhaps one the most famous love stories of all time Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell simply made me laugh out loud (perhaps because it’s so true).

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

In fact it made me think about who and how I’ve kissed and whether I or he knew how to do so!

Then I came across this pensive moment from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part…………………Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”

This left me thinking about my own situation, my own life. I’ve obviously been in love and even married (I still am married in fact) although now separated. We still have a great relationship and a deep affection for each other (call it love if you will). It’s an honest and mutually respectful relationship which we have decided to keep after Berniéres’ madness subsided as he says. I think we are both proud that we have arrived at this point – a pat on the back to us both I think!

I remember that I was so totally moved by Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. Those final moments of the story with these following words just leave me speechless and not so dry eyed every time I read them

“I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.”

What patience, what hope, what a reward!

Honesty needs to be present in love too I think. At the start I believe we’ll say anything to make the other person fall for us and to convince ourselves that this is more than mere passion and physical attraction. I think this line  from milk and honey by Rupi Kaur is true honesty and somewhat amusing to me too.

“You might not have been my first love, but you were the love that made all the other loves irrelevant”

In conclusion to Love

Whatever you feel or don’t feel, believe or don’t believe Love exists for each of us in our own way. Having worked as psychotherapist for many years in London before relocating to Florence I learned more than anything that everyone’s perceptions and understandings of life’s emotions are unique to each and every one of us.

I have felt love in my eyes, I have seen love in another’s eyes, I see every day the purest love that my little French Bulldog puppy Mabel  gives me – or maybe that’s only food related on her part (I am sure not – she really shows a pure affection).

So whatever you do for Valentine’s day my invitation to you is to be honest, to be joyful, to be congruent and of course eat lots of chocolate washed down with champagne (that just goes without saying!).