A winter storm has been raging its fury where I live. As a result, I’ve been snowbound. It’s been a time of retreat … of reflection … of prayer … of dealing with the news that the arthritis in my hands, fingers and wrist is severe and I will no longer be able to knit/crochet/’letter’/do much creative work for lengthy periods of time … of finding new ways to use my stash of yarn … and of discovering new ways to ‘create’ that don’t cause so much physical pain. And that’s when I learned the word ‘meraki.’ [may-rah-kee]

Modern Greeks often use this word to describe “doing something with soul”: when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. Whether preparing a meal; caring for a garden; creating something artistic with pen, paint, paper, yarn, wood, clay, canvas, pencil, coloured markers, etc.; caring for someone who is ill; arranging a room, choosing decorations – whatever – if it’s done with soul, with passion, with love, then it’s “meraki.” The end result of *perfection* isn’t the intention. The *creative, loving, soul-awakening act itself* is what matters.

Today, known as Valentine’s Day in some parts of the world, many are sharing love expressed in acts of kindness, thoughtfulness. Some are sharing a meal with their ‘special someone’ … sending cards … giving flowers or chocolates … having a telephone visit or visit-in-person. While this is all happening, some will be alone, receiving none of the above.

Isolated because of illness, weather, grief, hurt feelings, poverty, self-hatred, this day of commercial love is not a day of joy to them. No one has told or is telling them that they are valued, appreciated, loved. Whatever is going on in your life and thoughts this day, I hope you will consider yourself “hearted,” loved, if only for a moment, and receive this Valentine “heart” made out of my stash of yarn.

As you look beyond the imperfection of its creation and as squiggly as is the writing on the accompanying card, it has been created out of an abundance of love felt deep within my soul: ‘meraki’. May you experience the love that went into their creation. May your Valentine’s Day be a little brighter than it might otherwise have been. And may it bring a gentle flicker of “light in your soul”, for you are ‘hearted’; you are loved. Happy Valentine’s Day.

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” <Chinese Proverb>

© June Maffin