Every February 14th we are reminded to show love to someone.  The cool kids feign scorn to this “commercial” enterprise and look upon the masses as sheep to consumer marketing.  I think it’s lovely and it’s just perspective.  No one needs to buy into anything other than the fact that it’s an annual reminder, in case you forgot, to include loving into your daily practice, just as Christmas can be about gratitude, just as Easter can be about re-birthing yourself.  We are only stories anyways.  So get on board the love train and find yourself a seat at the dinner car, because Ayurveda is taking you both to dinner for Valentine’s Day.

This might sound a little weird (what can I say, my occupation is about observation) but I’m secretly fascinated with couples at restaurants.  My heart aches for the ones that are so bored they wish themselves at another table – the excitement ends at the ordering of food and then the space before the food arrives looks like torture.  Then you have the LET’S DISCUSS THIS INTENSE MATTER IN PUBLIC SO WE DON’T THROW DISHES AT HOME – and always red wine to accompany. My favorite are the “comfortable in silence” eaters.  It’s like watching a mesmerizing silent movie.  I always feel relaxed after observing this.

Little do these folks know what atmosphere they are creating on the insides.  That expensive meal is either going to exit the building in disappointment, start the journey of bitterness sitting in the crevices of sick tissues, or have the confidence to fortify you with strong and robust tissue and a positive way of being.

Agni in Ayurveda, relates to all transformation.  That means food as well as ideas and impressions.  You begin your date by digesting the atmosphere of the restaurant – the music they are playing, the manner of the waiter, the smell of food cooking, and the visual stimulation of décor.  It’s what they call setting the mood.  Your stomach will either be prepared to take in impressions or it will begin to shut down.

Marketing gurus are well aware of how the environment affects the way you purchase.  That chipper high beat tune at your local grocery store is there to spiral Vata dosha out of control to the point where you spend too much money, because that’s what excess Vata dosha does, it can’t hold onto anything substantial. So before you decide where to take your date, make sure the atmosphere is conducive to digestion.

Ayurveda Love Advice

Dr. Vasant Lad in his textbook of Ayurveda cites many subsets of Agni, one of which is shauryam, which means bravery, courage or fearlessness, being a byproduct of normal agni.

If agni is abnormal there is ashauryam, creating fear and anxiety.  To face a problem in a relationship, we need healthy agni. Healthy agni gives the courage, confidence, and fearlessness needed to face problems.  If agni is impaired, the person has no courage and will run away from the situation.

If your love-person isn’t picking up what you’re putting down, it could be a case of impaired digestion.  It doesn’t mean they don’t want to understand. They physically don’t have the ability to do so.

So if you want to have a wonderful date, here are some tips to employ before Valentine’s dinner, and perhaps every night at dinner (why not, life is short) –

Be hungry.

If you haven’t digested the food from before, it will be difficult to allow anything else in to digest.  Your objective is to leave the snack machine alone for just today because you’re gearing up for an exciting evening.

Be prepared.

Aperitifs are alcoholic bitters made for enhancing your digestion.  The feisty Europeans are well aware of the importance of food and good digestion.  Small amounts of the bitter taste will enhance all the other tastes in food.  If you don’t drink alcohol, ask for a tea from ginger, fennel, or peppermint, if the restaurant has them.  At the least drink hot water.

Be joyful.

Turn up in a good mood and do what you need to, to make that happen.  This is for your personal well being as well as affecting the well being of your love-person.  The point of the flowers and chocolates is to effect this mood.  Be grateful in receiving.  They may not know why they are doing it, but it’s helping the situation.  As long as you respond in gratitude.

Be interesting.

If you have no imagination to come up with some entertaining conversation, you can tell them you read this article on Valentine’s day digestion.

Be clean.

Showering is one way to clear out the energies from the day or any form of switching off – taking a stroll around the park, playing the guitar or watching an entertaining busker on the streets.  Treat this awesome date as something of its own accord rather than an extension of your work day.  A calm mind assists in good digestion.

Be generous.

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want your full attention for a couple of hours at dinner.

You’re just about to spend some big bucks.  Make it a great evening and follow the marketing gurus by establishing the atmosphere for your food to digest well.  The rewards come in a better mood, concentration, good listening skills, patience, joyful attitude, intelligence, confidence, and a retained blissful memory of the event.

Photo: Morguefile.com