The Power of Hugging

Pre-Wedding HugWho knew the power of hugging? Well, quite honestly, I’ve always been a huge hugger. I hug people when I first see them, when I say goodbye,even if I just saw them yesterday and will see them in a couple hours. In my mind, I imagine there is the slight possibility that I may not see them again and I don’t want to regret that I didn’t hug them with all my love, affection, admiration and respect that one last time. I’ve learned to open my arms with an invitation of a hug, rather than assume everyone wants to hug just because I do. After awhile, you just know who the fellow huge huggers are, and who tends to shy away from hugging. Respecting everyone where they are, you jump into the arms of those who love to hug and you hug the others in your mind and heart. This is all the practice of engaging bliss into your life-loving others as they are, and being all of who you are without quieting that which deeply moves you.

In my community there is one burly, gregarious, happy hugger of a man, who every time I see him my body goes into a little happy dance, because it knows we’re going to get not only a fabulous hug, but a very sweet little spinal adjustment as well. It’s marvelous, and limits my need to visit the chiropractor, thereby keeping precious dollars in my pocket (always a plus these days!) So, when I saw him last week my receptivity to his hug invitation was no different. Unfortunately, his hug was! Somehow, someway, something went very wrong, and in the process of our hugging one of my ribs got cracked!! As I said, who knew the power of hugging. Ouch!

One thing I have definitely been continuously reminded of this Summer, is that pain brings awareness. Suddenly, in the days that followed, I was so focused on my core-how I moved it, the ways I stretch it, where it’s weak, and how much I depend on it. This was the power of the hug-bringing me back to my core, to my center, and into the awareness of her necessary healing, and I don’t just mean on a physical level. Wow!

In no way will this experience stop me from hugging! For me hugging is a simple, easy, harmless (well, most of the time!) way of counteracting the touch deprivation so prevalent in our culture these days. Touch is healing. Touch connects us. Hugging let’s us know we are loved.

How do you hug? Are you a tent hugger, keeping the lower half of your body extended away from the other person? A one sided hugger, where your hips are touching rather than a full frontal connection? A one arm hugger, never fully committing to the hug? A back slapping hugger? Do you relax into the hug, or stiffen and feel tense? Do you hug with clean, clear intent, or attempt to cop a feel? Is there a hidden agenda, or just the desire to embrace this being before you with love and yummy-ness?

Check out this great video, if you haven’t seen it yet, about how one man took to the streets with a “free hug” campaign. It’s a great example of how hugging can change the world. (Watch for all different types of hugs!)

I invite you to explore the power of hugging. To begin opening up to the receiving of magnificent hugs from others, and engaging in the practice of inviting others to be hugged. See where your edges are. Observe how you hug. Explore yourself and your thoughts about hugging. Most of all, don’t forget to hug yourself-lovingly, gently, and often! Drop into the bliss of it all.

Then go out and start your own Free Hugs campaign and see how your world changes.

Loving What Is In the Lessons of Love

A few of the ways I love you.

The Summer of 1967 was known as “The Summer of Love”. I was only 6 yrs old, and undoubtedly already learning some lessons of love, or the lack thereof, within the strange realms of an alcoholic household.

42 years later, as yet another Summer season draws to a close, I wouldn’t exactly put this years Summer experience in the high love category. However, as I navigate the tumultuous waters of lost love (do we ever really lose love? I mean, how can we? Love resides within us, not outside of us…) and “divorce”, I certainly have learned a lot about love.

I’ve also been reading, and working with, Bryon Katie’s fascinating ideas about “Loving What Is”, which is also the title of her new book. With the basic premise that the root cause of suffering is the identification with our thoughts and the stories that we have continuously running through our minds, Katie offers a process of 4 questions that can turn around our thoughts and give a new perspective, allowing us to stop fighting reality and accepting what is ( Exploring The Work has allowed me to look deep within myself and discover the stories I have been operating under as I struggle to make a transition that I didn’t ask for, or want.

When your life is made up of certain ideas about the future, commitments, and partnerships, a sudden change, even with all the pre-warning signs, can be traumatic. I have cycled through so many levels of grief, anger, sadness, righteousness, blame, acceptance, and letting go, and am certain there are many more to come. I’ve spent moments hiding under the covers, other moments strongly empowered. I’ve supported clients in their love relationships, witness to the magical unfolding of their journey, a fellow traveler on the path.

Rumi says, Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” I know this, yet, I do grieve. I have to. I can’t help it. Moving through the grief allows me to accept, to let go, to dive deep into the wells of all the love that I am, that I have given to others, and that I yearn to share again. It reminds me that I am alive, that I am feeling, and as I give permission to myself to feel, to grieve, to rage, to just be in what is, I learn the largest lesson of all about love: that ultimately we must love ourselves unconditionally, in the weakest, darkest, I’m-so-small-and-lost moments, if we ever hope to fully open our hearts to love again.

Better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” Hemingway

What’s happening in your life with love and relationships? Join me for a 6 week teleclass series “Loving Ourselves While Loving Others” starting in mid-Oct, where we will explore belief patterns and habits that keep us stuck in unfulfilling relationships, identify sabotaging behaviors, and learn specific techniques for embracing a new way of being in healthy, authentic, co-creative relationships. . If you would like to go a little deeper, plan on participating in the 6 month relationship support group where you can take advantage of personalized coaching for half the cost. Details coming soon.