Each year in the weeks and days preceding Valentine’s Day, media fills us with images of couples holding hands, chocolate hearts, and advertisements for romantic getaways. If you fit the description of someone who is interested in Valentine’s Day commercialism, this article is not for you. Rather, I direct this special message to the majority of you who—whether partnered or not—may have recently experienced loss. I expand the boundaries of the typical definition of loss. Life as you know, is full of all types of loss (and wins too, we must remember); that is the nature of human existence. Whether you have lost a family member, a job, a home, a friendship, a pet or even feeling the loss of a public figure that represented something important for your life (e.g. the recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia)—your heart is probably feeling heavy right now. That is perfectly normal (baring a longer lasting depression, for which you would do best to find some professional support). Also normal, however, is the wherewithal to put your heart back together and let the wound heal in a way that makes you stronger, more thoughtful, and more appreciative of life’s beauty than ever before.
In my book “Lemons into Limoncello: From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy”(HCI Books) one of my suggestions to counteract loss of any kind is to find ways to put more beauty into your life—TODAY. Actually Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to adorn your surroundings with that which makes you smile and affirms the joy in your life. Dr. Piero Ferrucci’s research on beauty (Beauty and the Soul) found that beauty heals both body and mind. Beauty of course, is specific to the individual. A beautiful Italian aria, a simmering sauce that brings back the warmth of your grandmother, a vase of colorful flowers to contrast the gray of winter outside. Or take a ride to a little family-run artisan shop and purchase something within your budget that you can bring home to lighten your heart whenever your eyes land on it. Rent some funny videos and invite a couple of friends over to watch them with you and chat about afterwards. Remember that you can even find beauty in the aftermath of tragedy.
Tomorrow on my radio show, THE ITALIAN ART OF LIVING WELL, along with my guest Italian American leader and activist Andre’ DiMino, we will remember the life of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, first Italian American to serve on the Court. Many Italian Americans (as well as others) are feeling the loss of this extraordinary human being. In preparation for our discussion, not only about his life, but also about what his passing means for the Italian American Community, I watched several interviews where reporters put Scalia on the “hot seat” with their quasi-accusatory questioning. The Justice never lost his cool, and he never glossed over the questions, or threatened to walk out, or even reacted defensively. He was a brilliant man with a mission to uphold the Constitution of the United States, regardless of his personal beliefs, and regardless of others’ criticisms. He showed strength, intelligence, compassion, focus, and a true respect for others no matter what their position.
Despite the tragic loss felt by the Italian American community, the beauty emerges in reflecting on Justice Scalia’s extraordinary qualities and his passion for making a difference. We can all make a difference and be the inspiration for others. This is the way we create meaning in our lives, as a public figure or a private person. Knowing what we stand for and using our resources to make a positive impact, is far more beautiful than any chocolate heart or roses that wilt in three days.
Please tune in or stream in tomorrow morning (2/15/2016) to my very special tribute to Justice Antonin Scalia on The Italian Art of Living Well 7AM EST www.wnhu.net
Buon San Valentino to all of my loyal readers .