Ask the LifeQuake Doctor

A LifeQuakian Take on “True Love” on Valentine’s Day


Dear Dr. Toni:

Well, I survived the Christmas holidays as the only person at my family’s gathering who is single. If I can get through Valentine’s Day without the impulse to slit my wrists (that was a joke, I’m not suicidal), I can accept the fact that I am considered a second-class citizen as a single woman over forty. Do you have any suggestions for how to turn this around so I don’t feel so inferior to women who are married?

Single and Hating It


Dear Single:

What Valentine’s Day has become is a real travesty. February is the month traditionally assigned to celebrating love. The Greeks were a smart bunch. They had words to communicate the different types of love: eros for romantic love, agape for spiritual love, and philia for friendship love. When I researched the word for self-love, I discovered the word narzissismus, or narcissism, a term rampant with negative connotations. So the positive love of self has been a hard thing for many of us to grasp.

I would like to share with you and my readers the story of St. Valentine because it contains the essence of what we should be celebrating on Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine was not some legendary derivation of Cupid in human form; rather, he was a priest in the third century who, against the mandate of Emperor Claudius, was secretly performing marriage ceremonies. Claudius wanted to build an army and most men at that time did not want to leave their families to go off to war. St. Valentine disobeyed Claudius’ law and was arrested, clearly finding himself in a LifeQuake!  Andhe passed his crisis of faith with flying colors. Young people took up his cause, coming to the jail and throwing flowers and notes up to his window. The daughter of the prison guard kept his spirits upwith daily visits. On the day he was beheaded, February 14, he sent her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty, signing it,  “love from your Valentine.”

As you can see from this story, there were two kinds of love that St. Valentine was honoring: the love between a husband and wife in performing marriages and the love of friendship. This offers an interesting challenge to those of us who are single. In the LifeQuake model, we are called to dissolve old programs for living and reinvent ourselves to fit with who we are authentically, outside of the countless cultural and media messages. So let’s take up the cause of celebrating love at every opportunity throughout the day on February 14 this year. Give your love generously to everyone, strangers in the grocery store or dry cleaners included. Call your family. And most importantly, take a moment at the beginning and end of the day and send love out to the whole planetary family, setting an intention for example, that everyone have clean water and food in plentiful supply. Perhaps in taking this on for one day, you will feel so good by the end of the day, that you will want to do it again and again. If enough of us spend our days sharing our hearts, a global tipping point willbe reached and then all members of our planetary family can enjoy a time of great prosperity.

Dear Dr. Toni:

I have a stepchild whom I really struggle to like, much less love. He is very self-centered and never thinks of anyone else besides himself. Nonetheless, I love his father. What do I do?



Dear Katherine:

Would you agree that we need to learn to love our enemies in order to end war on this planet? Okay, so everyone can probably think of someone in their family, workplace, or community that they just don’t like. These individuals are in our lives to help us learn how to heal—if we allow ourselves to see it, of course. If you unhook from your need to have your stepson be a certain way and just love him rather than judging him, it will liberate you.

Miracles can happen when we don’t give up on love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!


To submit questions for Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor, contact Dr. Toni Galardi through (no period after the Dr). For more tips on overcoming the fear of change and discovering your life’s purpose, Dr. Toni has a new book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval, coming out February 27. For those seeking private consultation, she can be reached at 310.712.2600 or