there is a secret about valentines day. as a consumer holiday- it is about consuming. buying more junk and spending more money. for couples-it is about togetherness. mandatory date night and spending shared time. for the lonely- it is a mindfulness of loneliness. longing for company and spending self-worth on a perception of failure.
the secret is that valentines day is about a million different interpretations of love, therefore it is not about love at all. because love is only defined by the lover. or the consumer. by the couple. or by the loner. so if there is no definition of love then what is its opposite?
more than any pair of odd opposites this week, so far i decided that love in opposition to suffering is the most obvious representation of balance and harmony and of coexistent and interdependent. the symbiotic relationship- love and suffering- two different things that need each other to be themselves- make opposites. when there is love there is suffering. whatever your definition of love is.
i define love as existing beyond the physical. beyond the individual or a pair of individuals. love is a presence and we choose to acknowledge it or not. the risk of that acknowledgement is suffering. being aware of love creates the potential to suffer from it. conversely- we suffer because we have loved. and if you have neither, if you really think about it, life is not all that interesting.
anyway i saw a musical play on valentines day called “love is a cabernet.” one of the acts was about a vampire couple. they parodied the polarities of love and suffering humorously- in flux between a lustful dance and a heated argument. i think the above picture shows physical expressions of both love and suffering. he tries to gently comfort her while she appears uncomfortably unappeased. and nearby, as in all of the scenes of the play, a bottle of cabernet.