Between the Lines

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. — Hal David
All you need is love. — John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. — Dalai Lama

Kathy Steffen

Wow, feel like we can all use a little more love in our lives? Always, but especially in times of turmoil. Lucky for us, February is the month dedicated to love. Originally a Roman festival celebrating the coming of spring, in the 5th century Pope Gelasius replaced it with St. Valentine’s Day, which later became Valentine’s Day, celebrating love.

You know that journal I keep nudging you to keep? Grab it and we’ll make you a whole lot happier. Haven’t started one yet? What are you waiting for? Remember (from last month) you can write anything in it, doodle or both. Glue photos or phrases in it that inspire you. Make lists. Write in full paragraphs. Remember the #1 rule for journals: no rules! This month, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, turn your journal into one of positivity and love.

Trusting someone is another way to say you love them. Who do you seek in times of trouble? Write the name of the person you trust the most. Next, who do you share secrets with? List the others you trust. Write about these people — what they bring to your life, why you trust them, list the things each has done for you. This is an excellent journal entry to revisit when you are feeling vulnerable, sad or alone. One glance and you’ll realize you are surrounded by love.

Who has done something nice for you this week? This month? In the last year? Choose one instance and write about it in more detail. Make it a habit to revisit this prompt every week. Keep a positivity tally — remembering these moments and contemplating how to repay the favor will keep the gratitude and love going strong.

List what you are grateful for this day. The last week. The last month. Your mood will sweeten as you bring more positivity and love into your life.

Brainstorm all the things you’d love to do in the next year. Circle the one that gives you the warmest fuzzies and break it down into steps. Going in a positive direction to do something you love is a sure way to bring light into your life.

Make a priority to be more loving. Compliment someone you know. Or a stranger. Instead of judging someone, lend a compassionate ear. Really listen to them. Encourage someone. Help someone out who needs it. Check in on someone who lives alone. Jot a positive message and send a card to someone. Pay for coffee of someone in line behind you. These are the things that return a thousand fold in good feelings. Continue on with ideas and brainstorm a list of how you can uplift people. If your ideas are broad, sharpen them until they are specific. Pick one. Do it. Write about it in your journal. Make it a point to make someone happy every day this month. And don’t forget to add yourself to the list.

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion.” She is grateful to write from her home in Spring Green that she shares with her husband and cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com.