Happy February! February brings thrilling outdoor adventures, deep historical insights, and a focus on love and kindness. From the Snow Snake Games to celebrating Black History, Valentine’s Day self-care, and Random Acts of Kindness, this month offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Let’s explore traditions and personal growth opportunities that make February uniquely impactful.
Can you believe we’ve gone through an entire month of 2024 already?
Spending time outside in the snow is invigorating, and doing it while volunteering is a bonus. On Saturday, I spent the day at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH, where I participated in the Snow Snake Games.
Snow Snake is a wintertime game played by Native Americans across the US Great Lakes Region and Canada, where hand-carved wooden snakes are thrown along a snow trough to see how far they can go. Luckily, it was a day of fun and not competition because I would not have made the top 10. It’s harder than it looks, but we kept warm and enjoyed a beautiful day between the s’mores, hot chocolate, laughter, and chatter.
February has a few important holidays/observances like Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and Random Acts of Kindness Day. It’s a short month with big and impactful missions.
Black History Month
Today, we’ll focus on three of them. Black History Month is a time to learn a few things about Black History that you may or may not know. Every year, I’m surprised by how much fascinating history and information exists.
When I was about 11 or 12, I discovered Josephine Baker in the library. I didn’t have much to choose from on black history or black people back in the early 1980s, so I was excited to find a book about a beautiful woman of mystery, strength, and complexity. I had to ask my parents for permission to borrow the book, which they thankfully agreed to.
Through her, I learned about her fearlessness through her work, success, and challenges as an international actress, dancer, and singer and that during World War II, she bravely became a spy to help the resistance efforts against the Nazis, and she was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. I learned about her compassion as an animal lover, and as a mother to 12 children, she adopted from around the world.
I learned how fierce Josephine was when she refused to work with or for segregated audiences and places that refused her services. I also learned about how her life was filled with challenges and traumas due to her health issues, complicated relationships, and financial difficulties. Josephine Baker broke barriers, mindsets, and cultural norms that paved the way for artists and activists who followed her example to be all they could be, even when everything looked stacked against them.
What I learned was that Josephine Baker was a human being human and figuring it out along the way, sometimes to great success and sometimes to incredible chaos and hardship.
Valentine’s Day reminds me of the six senses – hear, smell, taste, touch, vision, and instinct. Today, we’ll focus on touch because Valentine’s Day focuses on expressing love and affection. It’s often an outward expression of emotion to others, but let’s focus on how – in a relationship or not – we can turn that day of loving others into a day of honoring the love of oneself.
Touch is an essential human need and guides the strength of our ability to connect with ourselves, others, and our physical and emotional well-being. Touch promotes bonding, happiness, and stress reduction, and it brings us into the present moment, grounding or calming ourselves. It allows us to show ourselves self-compassion or self-pleasure, which nurtures our minds and souls. Techniques of self-touch can be experienced through self-massage, yoga, hand mudras, tapping/EFT, taking a bath, wearing clothing of our favorite materials, cooking a new recipe, or eating something delicious with the hands. Or, it can be as simple as hugging yourself.
Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
Butterfly Hug: Cross your arms over your chest and lightly tap your shoulders with your fingertips to soothe and manage your emotions. Take a few deep breaths and feel your shoulders relax and your chest loosen.
Finger Painting: Let’s get dirty and play! Using your fingers to paint can be a playful and creative way to engage with touch, allowing for sensory exploration and expression. Let your inner child out to play and be in the moment.
Foot Press for Grounding: When you deliberately press your feet against the ground, it can help ground you in your body and the present, especially useful in moments of anxiety or stress.
Petting Animals: If you have pets, gently pet or brush them. It’s a comforting touch and nurtures a sense of companionship. If your pet’s not touchy, find a few sweet and funny animal videos to watch, grab your favorite hand moisturizer, and massage your hands while watching.
Self-Hugs: Wrap your arms around yourself in a comforting embrace to offer reassurance and warmth. Go ahead. Give yourself a hug.
When we celebrate ourselves through the power of touch, we celebrate self-love and all the ways it empowers us externally and internally. Valentine’s Day is a reminder that intimacy matters no matter your relationship status.
What do you do to honor yourself through the power of touch?
Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day dedicated to doing something kind for someone else spontaneously and without expectation.
It’s easy to get caught up in “doing life” that we sometimes forget what it feels like to receive the gift of a random and kind act, and especially what it feels like to be the person doing the act and how a simple compliment, smile, an offered seat on a train, written note, or whatever quiet contribution you make that can impact someone else’s day.
While a random act of kindness is something we can do every day, it often takes reminding that it’s not another chore to get through on our to-do list but an act that can profoundly impact others and ourselves.
Now, that’s love.
DEBORAH BLAKE DEMPSEY, MS, ACC, is the CEO and Founder of Human Being Human, LLC. As a Life Strategist specializing in Personal Mastery & Leadership Coaching, Deborah offers over 28 years of rich leadership and life experience. She has held pivotal roles in strategy, finance, and operations in the healthcare sector. An accomplished writer and speaker, Deborah authored “The Hoppernots,” a poignant tale about unity, resilience, community, and finding one’s purpose within a vibrant ecosystem. Central to her ethos, she offers a fresh perspective on cultivating the empowerment of individuals to cut through the illusion of selfhood by exploring their potential, discovering their distinctive voices, and harnessing the confidence to achieve their objectives to live up to their potential.
An advocate for self-exploration, Deborah embodies self-awareness and personal mastery, understanding her role in the multifaceted world. She exhibits a keen interest in aiding those grappling with self-confidence, professional identity, burnout, or those on a journey of self-redefinition. Her dedication is mirrored in her endeavors to redefine self and professional growth. An ICF-certified holistic and integrative coach, she holds an MS in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. https://humanbeinghumanllc.com/