Every Valentine’s Day when I was a little girl, my mother received a heart-shaped box of chocolates from my father. My sister and I were always thrilled when she shared her treats with us.

We would sit at the kitchen table marveling at the candies in front of us, imagining their insides: would we be lucky enough to choose a gooey chocolate-centered confection, or would we unsuspectingly bite into a mushy strawberry cream?

As an adult who practices daily mindfulness meditation, I think about the centers of those chocolates at this time of year especially. When I close my eyes each morning and breathe in and out, trying to watch my mind, each day holds something new.

Sometimes the center I meet in my meditation is as sweet and appealing as a fudgy chocolate. Sometimes, it’s as distasteful as that strawberry mush.

Try as I might, I can’t predict.

And that's ok.

But with patience and daily practice, I’ve found that I can appreciate whatever is at my center each day and move beyond the temporary emotions of disappointment or frustration without getting stuck in them.

And that’s the true liberating power of mindfulness.

Whatever you meet at your center today — in your box of chocolates or in your meditation practice — I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Guest post by our Director of Outreach, Paula M. Chaiken

Feature photo by Jennifer Pallian