around the world. But I digress.
My excitement stems not from the fact that I am in a relationship with a boyfriend/lover/husband. No, if I focused on my divorced singlehood with any energy I might actually get a little depressed. But you see, the virtual world has given those of us without significant others a lifeline to capture our hearts within the labyrinth of cybergames. Yes folks, I'm talking about FarmVille. Again. You do know that's where I am when I'm not here with you (which probably explains why there is no significant other)?
The caring folks at Zynga have generously given us farmers the expanding mailbox. Lovers/friends/families/total strangers befriended for just such purposes--send you cuddly teddy bears, love letters, heart-shaped chocolate boxes and flowers JUST FOR YOU. Now, from a technical standpoint the gifts give you cash, fuel to run your tractors (how romantic!) experience points to level you up in the game, and sometimes random surprises (here's a horse guys!). The more feverishly you monitor your friend's/families's/stalker's activity feeds, the more you collect these romantic trinkets.
Suddenly your mailbox is brimming over and you are harvesting the fruits of love. See, that's what this does, you start to feel so popular (I know, right?) because they even have some kind of competition thing going, where you are ranked. Just think how loving you feel when you are compared to someone you care about (well, at least, have included in your Facebook enclave), and are told you have more Valentine's gifts than they do and therefore are more loved/loveable than your neighbors! Yeah, because competition always brings out the compassionate side of humanity.
But there is something about the egoic mind structure that gets incredibly excited at the thought that with every gift, someone actually thought about YOU (enough to send you cyber-crap!) and to the mind, that translates to LOVE. And I have fallen for it; wallowing in the deliciousness of my mailbox valentines. I feel shamelessly giddy because my
Of course, most of the gifts come from my kids and friends, there's no actual romance involved, but it still feels good. And so you have to wonder, how can something that isn't even real mean anything? Especially something so meaningful as L-O-V-E? Yet freakishly, it does. It brings me to a hearty state of gratitude, and that feels--emulating my FarmVille pigs--worth wallowing in.
For some actual heartfelt thoughts on gratitude, join Susan Mazrolle as she talks about experiencing gratitude in grief as well as joy. As she says, "A grateful heart cries; a grateful heart laughs. A grateful heart is open." gratefulness.org. And that my friends, is real.
Happy Valentine's Day to you. May your hearts be filled with joy and ...