“If you place two living heart cells from different people in a Petrie dish, they will in time find and maintain a third and common beat.”

~ Molly Vass

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner it seems that we all cannot escape the advertisements for flowers, candy and cards. We are all overtaken with the colors of pink and red and the oversized hearts hanging from the lighting fixtures as we fill our grocery carts, pick up something at the drugstore or Target. How can we not find the right card for all the right people in our lives?

Shakespeare’s sonnets, along with Chaucer can be thanked for romanticizing Valentine’s Day. And when Hallmark Cards started mass publishing cards in 1913 the holiday was changed forever. How can we not find the right card for all the people in our lives?

Valentine’s Day is about the heart. But maybe not the way Target perceives it to be with the symbol imprinted on coffee mugs, socks, or in the shape of a candy dish. That is why I found Molly Vass’s quote so beautiful, it reminds us all about connecting and finding a common beat of heart, going beyond cards and candy.

Mark Nepo wrote in his book, The Book of Awakening that, “ This drive toward a common beat is the force beneath curiosity and passion. It is what makes strangers talk to strangers, despite the discomfort. It is how we risk new knowledge.” (page 40)

We all seek to connect to people and develop an understanding of others. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Como Park Conservatory to paint in the sunken garden. A number of adults and children stopped for a few minutes to ask about my sketchbook, the watercolor sketch I was doing, the tools I was using. For a brief moment we both found a common beat. I came to a realization that entering a room for an art class or workshop, talking to people when I sketch in public, or becoming part of an on-line drawing group are my petrie dishes for finding a common heartbeat. These opportunities are powerful ways of how art can draw hearts together.

So following the tradition of my first valentine to my mom and dad, the handmade valentine’s box made in a long past elementary classroom, I will take out my card making materials this weekend.  and create another way to connect with others on this holiday.

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” Joseph Campbell

Happy Valentine’s Day!