Valentine's Day is all about the romantic aspect of love, but Marianne believes there is much more to love than simply romance. She talks to Grammy award-winning singer India.Arie about spirituality, sexuality and growing from a girl into a woman. Then, Marianne talks to Sandra Magsamen, author of Living Artfully: Create the Life You Imagine , about the creative aspect of love.
Both Marianne and India were in South Africa for the opening of The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. India says the trip affected her deeply. "I had been going through this transformation. I had an intense dissatisfaction calling me to change things about my life and my career," she says. "Going to Africa, especially the conversations I had there, was exactly what I needed to complete the transformation into adult womanhood—into a person who is able to recognize and own my own power, and is ready to use that power."
India says that, for her, the difference between being a girl and being a woman is about taking charge. "[There is a] difference in the way it feels in my body," she explains. "Being a girl means I'm always asking permission of someone older than me or someone who I feel has more power. Can I do this? Being a woman is saying, 'Okay, I'm going to do this.' That's what inspired me so much about being close to Oprah. She says, 'I'm going to do this.'"
One of the things Marianne loves about India's music is her ability to combine sexuality with spirituality. "The whole image [of sex] in popular culture is trashy and de-spiritualized, which hides us from the profound possibility that sex and eroticism have for transforming souls and lives," Marianne says. "The way you re-weave the two has meant so much to me."
"That's one of the lessons I've been teaching myself. It's nothing my mother or father could have taught me," India says. "It's something I've had to learn for myself by being in situations that were totally unspiritual, that were nothing that spoke to the truth of how I see myself; and seeking situations that were very respectful and reverential of the other person. It's experimenting and experiencing life."
Sandra Magsamen , author of Living Artfully: Create the Life You Imagine , takes a creative approach to love in all its many forms. For Sandra, the fact that the word creativity comes from the Latin word creare, meaning "to grow," is very revealing. "To grow anything we must nurture it, care for it and love it," she says. "So if you look at creativity as a way to grow, and you need love to grow something, we grow everything in our life. We create the life we imagine by the love and the nurturing and the kindness we put into every single action."
Sandra offers these questions for us to reflect on when we ponder love: "What I'm talking about is how do you grow relationships? How do you grow friendships? How do you grow yourself? How do you grow in the community? How does one grow to be all they can be in this lifetime?"