By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s a lovely idea to have day where love and attention to our fellow human beings is in focus, it has also sadly been connected with pressure, consumerism and anxiety for me in the past.
I remember in high school, we could all buy roses for our friends and boyfriends for Valentine's Day and get them delivered to the school. The one strutting home with the most blood red roses at the end of the day was perceived as the most popular person.
It would always leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach, knowing that others were not as privileged as those who could afford to buy roses. It is a clever marketing trick for the flower and gift shops, and a great way to make insecure teenagers even more apprehensive by making them attempt to find their value in a symbolic gesture.
Since then I have been able to let go of some old beliefs telling me that a gift has to be expensive to count, that only material things can mirror how much I care for someone and that my value lies in how many of my friends are buying me roses. It’s just not true. What is true for me is that I have a choice in how I want to show love, just as others do too. Just because someone else is showing love in one way doesn’t have to affect how I feel. My feelings are mine and I let others keep theirs. I am a divine creation, good enough just as I am, and so are you.
For me Valentine’s Day has become a valuable reminder to bring more loving attention into every day, however we choose to do so.
“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.”
- Suze Orman
One of my favorite ways to show love is to give my time freely. For example, by making something by hand or cooking for someone I care for. I enjoy the process so much and, for me, it is really the best investment in my relationships. An experience, a memory created of a sweet moment spent together, no money can buy that. That is what I really have come to value.
This delicious ojas rose milk can be enjoyed as a snack two hours between meals, with a meal or in the evening before bed. Remember to set an intention before you get started and stay with that state of mind. What you are embodying is going into the milk. If you cook with love one can feel it.
Ojas rose milk
4 cups milk of your choice (I prefer raw whole milk from a sattvic farm or almond milk)
4 fresh dates, pitted
1 tsp. grated fresh turmeric
4 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick, or 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
2 cardamom pods (or 1 tsp. powder)
2 Tbsp. organic rose petals
In a thick-bottomed pot, bring all ingredients to a simmer. Cover and turn the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the stove off and let the milk cool down slightly.
Strain the milk into cups to remove the whole spices and rose petals. Put the dates back into the cup as a loving little surprise. Another option is to blend the milk after it has boiled with the dates, or to blend the dates before putting them in.
Serve the milk warm, decorated with some edible flowers and maybe the star anise too, on top. Take this time to enjoy the milk fully with all of your senses. Sit down in a calm, sattvic space and relax. Show your love by giving yourself or your loved ones a treat, and some quality time.
Lisa Åkesson Stryker grew up in Sweden and started a career as a fashion model in her late teens. In 2015 she completed her 200-hour Raja yoga training at Hale Pule and her Ayurvedic Health Consultant training in Sweden. In the summer of 2016 she became certified as an Ayurvedic chef with Hale Pule, and immediately completed a residency thereafter. Since then she’s been teaching Yoga and Ayurveda in the USA, Europe, and Africa. She’s currently based in Hamburg, Germany where she regularly offers cooking classes, Yoga classes, workshops, Ayurvedic treatments and consultations.
You can follow and contact Lisa at @areyouvedic on Instagram, Facebook or through her homepage www.areyouvedic.co.uk.