From the minute we read our first fairy tale, or perhaps even earlier, we are spoon-fed all of these images and snapshots of what defines real “love.” It is packaged and sold as grandiosity. Moments and highs of romance, big gestures, fancy occasions like weddings and Valentines, or maybe even a peaking trend, like this whole deal lately with self-love.
One thing I have learned in dance and choreography is that if the transitions between the grand, stand-out movements and scenes are awkward or clumsy, it throws off the whole dynamic of the piece and showcases a lack of professionalism. Similarly, transitions between chapters in books have to sweep you along in the story and musical transitions should always serve a continuous purpose, surprising and/or delighting the listener.
Grace and mindfulness in these transitory moments of artwork are qualities that, if you think about it, can be similarly applied to how we reevaluate parts of love (I say parts because love is way too big of a concept for me to deign to define alone). It is not always the big moments that matter to a relationship, but how you move between them in daily life.
Starting with love for yourself, how do you transition from one emotion, one extreme, to another? I feel that with the trendiness of self-care in the online world lately, it is all often being packaged to us as something to achieve. Buy enough organic body products, read some inspirational poetry and you have achieved that moment of maximum self-love. However, finding that love for yourself is a constant schlep of trying to climb higher than those negative thoughts, slipping an inch or two back, and then getting yourself up again, staying compassionate the whole way through. These are the messy transitions, but our job is to try to keep smoothing them out, making them less clumsy and more graceful and thoughtful each time we push forward.
This same concept can and should be applied to our external relationships as well. This year, M and I sort of decided to let Valentines slide, for the main reason being that we want to try to treat every day like Valentines. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it is similar to what I’ve been discussing. The transitions, not the big events, are what make up the real tactile matter of a relationship. If you are simply waiting for that big day to show your love, that waiting starts to wear away the effects of the previous grand moment. Nothing builds up, it just stays stagnant or lessens. That is why we should focus more on the transitory periods. When there is no holiday, no event, nothing to really look forward to, make seeing that other person each day a thing to look forward to within itself. This could even apply to friendships and relationships with family members. Don’t wait for a birthday or holiday to show your appreciation and gratitude for having them in your life- how can you express it daily? It is something I am personally always trying to work on and practice even more.
We call Valentine’s Day the day of love or “heart day,” but really, we should never have a day that isn’t a day of love and the heart. We carry it on, through every moment, transition, and every high and low.
Don’t stop the love, friends.
Music, for me, has always been one of those things that weaves through the most mundane moments and in-betweens. Ever since I took the bus to high school, having something playing on my headphones is what has carried me through commutes to school and now to work, what stays with me while walking, cooking, dancing (of course) and even sometimes while I write. I find that the right music makes me connect with the little daily things on a deeper level, discovering more feeling and expression in moments that may seem insignificant, but are really the threads that sew together a beautiful, full life.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a playlist with you today- my favorite music as of late to inspire love in the small moments, whether for yourself, a parter, or friends and family around you. The sounds range from bliss to beautiful melancholy, spanning the spectrum of how we might feel in relationships on a day-to-day basis.
You can listen to the full, 1-hour-long playlist here on Spotify (oh and follow me for more music inspiration- I have incredibly all-over-the-place taste just to warn you). Also, here’s the track list if you don’t have Spotify or just want to find some songs one by one:
Don’t Stop the Love Playlist
Love It or Leave It by Asaf Avidan
Levitation by Beach house
Given the Chance by The Kite String Tangle
Better by Maggie Rogers
May I Have This Dance by Francis and the Lights
LUV by Tory Lanez
Keep Running by Tei Shi
Middle of Things, Beautiful Wife (ft. Xavier Omar) by Sango
Good to Love by FKA Twigs
Lovers Don’t Sleep by A.O.S.O.O.N.
Love Me In Whatever Way by James Blake
Zina by Babylon
I Forget Where We Were by Ben Howard
Blend by Aldous Harding
Real Love by Big Thief