Valentine's Day has been a cause of much frustration in my life throughout my single years. All the hype, all the pressure to be par...

Self-Love Day + Fudge Recipe

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Valentine's Day has been a cause of much frustration in my life throughout my single years. All the hype, all the pressure to be partnered up or buy sugar-packed goodies and a million other things. There are so many different stories about how the day came about, including one I just read of how it was a pagan fertility celebration, woah! Over the years, I have worked to give Valentine's Day a more positive twist by making it more generally about love in all its glory and magic, and now, especially about self-love.

It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.
It's necessary.
-Mandy Hale

Here's some interesting  history to blow your mind a little, "According to the legend, [St.] Valentine crushed the violet blossoms growing outside his cell to make precious ink with which to write, on the leaves, to his friends while an obliging dove delivered the notes. It is also said that Valentine maintained a remarkable epistolary relationship with his jailer's blind daughter to whom he wrote daily and cured of her ailment.

 St. Valentine was executed on 14 February 269 A.D. His demise coincided with the pagan festivals of Lupercalia held in honor of the goddess Juno, who favored women and marriage. From there on, this late winter festival was associated with romantic love, fertility rites and the coming of spring. Violets, linked to faithfulness or the 'I return your love' sentiment, remained a symbol as well as a popular offering between lovers." -http://americanvioletsociety.org/HistoryTraditions/Saint_Valentine.htm

Some say that violets were the first Valentine's flower because of their heart-shaped leaves. Too bad they don't bloom until April! So, more on them later.

Anyway, back to self-love...
February is a perfect time for it. Many folks, myself included, complain about winter, the cold and sluggishness it produces. If we were really connected to the Earth and ourselves, we would realize that winter is custom made for turning inward and rejuvenation. Just like the plants go dormant, a little dormancy could do us all good. It is a time of yin nourishing, quiet, darkness, and reflection. It is a time to rebuild our energy and recuperate from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year. This will provide us with energy when we need it again, during the yang or active times, coming up sooner than you'll believe possible. 

My request to you for this day is to figure out how you can carve out time for self-love every day, and make a special self-love date with yourself every week. For me, this manifests in lots of different ways. It's through my morning yoga and meditation practice, but also through loving myself if I can't get out of bed some days to make it happen. My biggest self-love practice is my daily hike, time in the forest to reconnect. Sometimes I'll go with friends, because I've realized as an (mostly) extrovert and entrepreneur (aka working at home alone a lot), I need to be surrounded by others. Though there's days, usually after teaching, when my introvert self kicks in, that I need solo hikes. Also taking care of my body is super important for my self-care, like taking elderberry syrup and wild mushroom tincture daily. (You can find my blends here.)

My self-love dates can consist of a wide variety of activities. Sometimes they're letting myself take a nap, read in bed, or watching a guilty pleasure movie (without guilt). Sometimes it's going on an extra long hike and taking extra time to explore a path I've never been down before. Other times it's taking myself out to lunch or  just working from a coffeeshop and treating myself to something special, or a dinner date in town with a friend at an Ethiopian restaurant or whatever I'm craving. 

And of course, how can you have self-love without chocolate????!!!!
Did you know that cacao (raw chocolate from the chocolate plant) is the highest antioxidant food in the world? Unfortunately, by adding a bunch of sugar to it, it kind of cancels out the health-supporting properties. So, because I love you so much, I wanted to give you a healthy, yet scrumptious chocolate recipe from my recent Herbs as Food workshop. 


Self-Love Fudge
⅛  c hemlock, spruce, pine, or fir needles + some for garnish
⅛  c sumac berries + some for garnish
2 c cocoa powder (or ground cacao)
¾ - 1 c coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ c maple syrup, or to taste


Directions:
Melt coconut oil, if not already melted, by warming slowly in a double boiler or in a pot over very low heat.
Finely grind evergreen needles and sumac berries (except the garnish) in coffee grinder. Make sure the seeds in the berries are fully ground. Mix sumac and evergreen mixture with cocoa powder in a food processor. Mix coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup, and blend with dry ingredients in food processor, while running (this is important to help the ingredients emulsify) until it holds together, no longer crumbly, but not too oily. Blend until smooth.

I pour this into a 6.5x4.5 tupperware and it makes 12 small pieces, 1 inch deep. You could use a 9x5 inch pan and ½ inch deep, or use a loaf pan. Press garnish into top of fudge. Refrigerate until fudge is set and hard.


If you want more chocolatey self-love, check out this past post:

If you make either recipe, please tell me, in the comments, how it went. 

Also, I thought I'd let you know some of my fave books on self-love and related topics:
Radical Self Love by Gala Darling
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
If the Buddha Dated (and others in the If the Buddha series) by Charlotte Kasl
Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Menton
Anything by SARK
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein

What are your faves? Let me know below.

Again, I'm asking you as favor to me, to the world, and mostly to yourself, to make a self-love date. Pamper yourself a little (or preferably, a lot)!


Sending big hugs and lots and lots of love today and every day,
<3 Abby

What does self-love mean for you? What will you do on your self-love date? Leave me a comment.






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