Create a very special Valentine's Day -- for you!

I'll bet most of us can remember at least a few occasions when we spent days or weeks planning the perfect Valentine's Day (or the perfect surprise birthday, or the perfect surprise getaway . . .) for a special man in our lives.

And, I'll further bet that relatively few of us can remember a time when a loved one did anything even remotely that special for us.

Well, it's time to do something about that.

You may have noticed that the women who get all the good things in life are those women our moms disapproved of.  The ones who weren't appropriately humble and self-sacrificing.  The ones who didn't mind showing off a little, and who liked to stand out in the crowd instead of fading into the wallpaper.

So how bad were these fun-loving, have-it-all women, really?  And, wasn't there a little bit of sour grapes in our moms' reasoning?  Why is being a selfless doormat what the "good" woman is supposed to be?

That woman who everyone said was able to "twist a man around her little finger"?  Modern day translation:  She was charming, cared about what she wanted as much as she cared about what "he" wanted, and wouldn't allow herself to be a victim.  Is that really so bad?

This Valentine's Day, (whether or not you're romantically involved at the moment), here's what I propose:  Try on a little of that "I deserve the best" personality.

Step 1.   If you have children, or a special "signifcant other" in your life, ask for what you want.  There's still time to receive a thoughtful homemade Valentine, or a bunch of pretty flowers.  Remember, those who ask, get.  We teach people how to treat us, so let's start teaching!

Step 2.   Give yourself something that you'd love someone special to give you.  Don't wait for that special guy to come along.  Give yourself a special gift this Valentine's Day that will remind you how much you love and care about yourself.  Have fun picking it out.  Every time you see, use, or wear this item, you'll remember that you are a very precious person who makes sure that everyone treats you right.

Step 3. Take this very special day of love to start one small daily practice that will help you grow in self love every day.  This should be a very simple gesture of self-care that doesn't take very long to perform, but makes you feel relaxed and cared for.  What will it be for you?  For me, sometimes it's just to take time to paint my nails, or to have a few minutes each morning to do my smiling meditation (just sit still, close your eyes, relax your breathing and smile).  For more on the power of smiling, click here.

Dare to take these three steps, and you are guaranteed to have a beautiful Valentine's Day -- and to start the path to becoming that women who gets to have everything she wants.

What I Did for Valentine's Day: One Billion Rising

I thought that maybe you'd like to see how I spent V-Day 2013.  I choreographed a little bit of flamenco fusion to "Break the Chain," the official music for the One Billion Rising organization's flash mob initiative:  bringing awareness to violence and abuse against women and girls worldwide.

Probably not my greatest achievement in the art of flamenco, but we needed something very simple, with a flamenco flavor, that we could teach to a variety of students and supporters -- many of whom had no previous dance experience.

Here's how it turned out.  My favorite part is at the end where everyone joins in and freestyles.  V-Day 2013 at Union Station in downtown Chicago:


For more about One Billion Rising and why we rose up in support:


And here's a big flash mob group that took place the same day at Daley Plaza:


Taking back V-Day with beautiful women-power.  Love to all!

That's Enough: Dorothy Love Coates

For the Valentine's Day weekend, I submit for your approval this great gospel tune by Dorothy Love Coates.  If you're not a Jesus-person and your belief is centered on a different form of the divine, substitute that name for Jesus (as I do when I listen to this song).  Or, even more radical:  "I've got myself . . . and that's enough."

Great things to do with inspiring vintage gospel songs like this:  Get your cardio in while dancing and elevating your spirit!  Don't let the dregs of winter (and V-Day) get you down.  Uplevel yourself : )

And, P.S.:  Got some haters in your life?  This should be #1 on your playlist.

Check out the links below for more about the singer/songwriter and videos with more of her music.  Find out why she influenced a generation of R&B and soul greats, including Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and The Supremes.

What word would you use to fill in the blank:  "I've got __________, and that's enough"? 



Here are Dorothy Love Coates inspiring lyrics:
There's always somebody talking 'bout me, but really I don't mind
You're trying to block and stop my progress, most of the time
The mean things you say don't make me feel bad
'Cause I can't miss a friend that I never had

(I've got) I've got Jesus and that's enough
 When I'm sick (he's there) and troubled (he's there)
When I call him he will answer my prayers
 When I'm burdened (he's there) with a load (he's there)
That's when Jesus is a comforter (to my soul)
You may scorn me turn your back on me
He's got his arms wrapped all around me
(I've got) I've got Jesus and that's enough

You know there's been so many times when I didn't have a dime
And didn't tell nobody but my Lord
He heard my plea and came to see about me 'cause he's one thing
I can afford
When you push me down Jesus picks me up
Sticks by me when the goin' gets tough
(I've got) I've got Jesus and that's enough

We're talking about a great emancipator and a heart regulator
(Jesus is) yes He is
He'll make my way brighter and my burdens lighter 
yes He will (Jesus will)
When my enemies attack me, He sends me help
Don't leave me to fight these battles by myself
Takes care of my enemies when they try to get tough
And that's enough

Want more?