Awakening the Bone Wisdom.

44512330_10157863011958136_8878818159662989312_o

Nine days on the road, 2100 miles driven throughout the south, and I am so grateful to be back home again. The Hug Bug Tour 2018, as it was named prior to our departure, is now in the memory banks, literally and figuratively. Once again, my journeying and experiences have deepened my understanding of who I am, and what I want for myself. What I am truly made of.

I had so many magical moments. Many stories that would easily make for another book. Yet, that isn’t the path this time around for the lessons learned. Since we returned home yesterday, I have been deeply quiet, and in my thoughts about what stands out for this trip. In total, I didn’t exchange that many hugs with strangers. I have no interesting circumstance that would help to explain that; it just didn’t happen. I got tired of being on the road, sleeping in a different place each night and being away from home. 

44996479_10157877427708136_795995067880833024_n

But the learning that came my way this time around was unmatched up to this point in my life. I deepened my practice of surrender, of being in the present moment, and of going toward the best feeling state that I can manage at any given time. I had fewer expectations of any outcome, and being more flexible in where I would go, and how I would spend my time. I had fun, and felt so quiet within throughout the trip.

44895659_10157877426953136_1007071450391117824_n

And the lessons that I learned, or rather, was reminded of, were those that live in my very bones. It is the wisdom that is not bestowed on me from any guru, or book, or way of living. It is the wisdom that I affectionately, today, call Bone Wisdom. That which lives in my marrow, that has been there since the beginning of time, the Wisdom that lives in all of us, yet if you are like me, you go throughout much of your physical life not being aware of it. 

Bone Wisdom came to me in the form of some of the simplest lessons that I have learned yet; simple in their concepts, but complex to put into practice on a daily basis. Yet, I did that on my journey. The two biggest teachings that I came away with, is first, to always trust my guts. I did that on my last trip, toward the end of my stops, and it brought me complete peace and inner knowing to go where I was led. Last week, I did that every day; I spoke truthfully, I followed my intuition of what and where felt best, and the results each day were remarkable. 

44944395_10157877427583136_217706171337801728_n

My main take away however, the one that will be on my heart forever more I believe, is that right now, in this moment, I have every thing that I could possibly need, or even desire. I went on this tour, in part because I have a desire to connect with others, and to talk with them about what that means. Yet, I also saw it as a way to have what I don’t everyday- a fun destination, a way to see friends, which are all true things that happened. Yet, I came back with a richer understanding that I am so well cared for, have so much that fulfills and inspires me, that even though I will continue to adventure for the fun of it, I don’t need to in order to find anything. I am not lacking. Nothing is missing. In every moment, through every experience, I have precisely all that I could ever need.

44837907_10157877426548136_4816109157293752320_n

I believe that I will always feel, in some way, that there is more that I could do, be or achieve in this world. And, I need to constantly remind myself to not always be planning for what must come next for me. Yet, I also more easily understand that in the doing nothing, I have everything that I will ever require. And, I am grateful to have listened to the Bone Wisdom once and for all. 

Advertisements

Hug Bug Tour 2018.

38928918_10157663146348136_5513660740071849984_n

Sixteen months ago, I went on a journey for ten days, drove more than three thousand miles, and hugged hundreds of people. It was one of the most brilliant adventures of my life. And, now, in one week, I get to do it all over again. Get ready for Hug Bug Tour 2018!

 

35882121_10157516358943136_4309291995479670784_n

So much has happened in my world since June of 2017. Many changes to many people that I love. Some losses. Some big adjustments. And, some of the most amazing lessons of my life so far. I feel ready, eager, and peaceful about what is going to happen next.  On Saturday, October 20, my wife, Brenda and I, will depart for eight days of adventure, magic, and love. 

 

35943761_10157516358893136_2340620514755608576_n

The stops are diverse, and I have no idea what is going to happen! Yet, the vision for this trip is the same as my last Hug Bug Tour, but different. What is the same is that I want to connect with as many human beings as I can, through the power of touch. Through the simple gesture of a hug. 

43058701_10157809970323136_282625001448800256_n

I also love the adventure of traveling on the open road, seeing new places, having new experiences, and driving for hours with the beauty of nature all around, and finding out what might be coming around the next corner.

41694432_10157758778943136_2502039838304239616_n

Some parts are different this year. Having my wife with me means that I get to share the meaningful moments along the way with her, in real time. It means she gets to have some great experiences of her own, and we both get to expand out of our familiar comfort zones. I also get to talk about my book, the chronicle of my last Hug Bug Tour; The Hugging Army: An Experience in Connection. 41699961_10157758779038136_6910052052219461632_n

I want my lessons from the first Hug Bug tour to be more deep and profound than ever; with my desire to let go of any outcomes. To let people be as they are. To simply shine my light without having to do anything. Except to be a presence. Be my self. Go forward in the world and love deeply. 

IMG_1902

Please, follow me as we depart on our journey, send loving messages our way, cheer us on, cry with us, laugh with us. We carry you with us as well. You know where to find me: 

http://www.thehuggingarmy.org

Facebook: The Hugging Army/Vanessa Leigh White Fernandes

Instagram: vanessaleigh19625653

I Love You. Hug Some One. 

 

Don’t believe your mind.

IMG_0833

 

I have been studying present moment awareness and other teachings for becoming more conscious of the true self, for a few years now. And, on most days, most of the time, I seem able to remember the skills of what it takes to be where I want to be. To go toward feeling good. However, over the last two days, I have forgotten that truth, and forgotten the knowing that I possess of my true nature, who I really Am. I have been believing the lies of my mind.

 

In the context of presence, and understanding the nature of our true essence, the mind cannot help itself. It is merely a tool of self-propelling ideas, and it is constantly doing its job, generating thought after thought. However, the danger comes in how deeply we want to hold our thoughts as truth. The real truth is, we cannot believe anything, or at least, the vast majority of things that our mind tells us are true. I can identify with this fully and knowingly, especially when I forget.

 

When I forget to not believe the stories of my mind, I think that I am nothing. I believe that I don’t matter, that I am not enough, that there are parts of me that are broken or not okay. I am defensive, hostile, blaming and accusing, all toward myself. When I do find myself blaming others, it is because my ego feels so bruised, inflated and dramatic, that it needs the intensity to feel like it matters. When I get to these places of pain and self loathing, I feel so low that I fantasize about punching myself, doing all that I can to literally self destruct. That is how deep the lie goes, and that is how far that I get from self love.

 

It never lasts long, but when it is around, it feels terrible. And, the thing is, it will hang around until I say to myself what the real truth is, so that it disappears. When I am feeling this insane, it seems like I will never feel better, and as if the whole dramatic story is true. I don’t remember my inner peace, my light, my ability to drop the story at any moment. Gratefully though, I do eventually remember what the truth is.
The truth is, I am Love.

I am Light.

I deserve beauty, joy, and peace.

I can create anything.

When I am in Love, my true essence, anything that I create can only be a thing of beauty.

When I remember the truth, when I stop believing my monkey mind, I see my true essence as if I had never, ever forgotten it. And, I understand that I have the freedom in any moment, through a breath and a conscious awareness, to come back to my essence, my source, in an instant. I never have to be lost for long.

I Know who I Am. 

IMG_0937

Mine stinks, too.

I love that at this time of my life, over half of a century that I have been in this human form, I like to look at myself with deeper eyes. What I mean by that is, I enjoy looking at, and catching myself, at the ways in which I want to either build or maintain my own identity, or see myself as “different” than others. When I say “different”, I typically mean, better than. When I get to catch myself engaging in these subtle but powerful attitudes and behaviors, it is refreshing and relieving.

 

Yet, what I keep discovering, is that the more effective I get at catching myself, the more subtle and illicit the behaviors, ideas, and attitudes become. Because my ever present Ego still wants to exist, it is sneakier and sneakier at how it presents itself. For example, I can feel really good about catching my Ego at what it does, but then, when I become egoic about how much better I am at catching it than someone that I know, that is Ego doing what Eckhart Tolle calls “coming in through the back door”. I am still a human, and a physical body, and I still believe that I exist, just like every other person. And, just because I am in one place about it, and someone else is in a different place does not make me more anything, evolved or otherwise.

 

The best thing that I get to do for myself, and for the world, is to see my own behaviors without making a story around it. Without using it as yet another way to separate myself from others. No matter what loving word I call it- seeing myself in that way out of love, compassion, forgiveness, or self esteem- it is always a way to separate myself from others, and for me, all that does is discourage deeper connection. And, that is not what I want anymore. I want to deepen my connection with myself, and with others, without making it into my identity that then I get to feel good about. I just want to do it, and be present with that, and remember that all of the rest of it is the details of the story that I tell myself or someone else. And, I get to look at it in myself with eyes of love, not condemnation, guilt or judgment.

 

I get to see myself as human, and as a light being, and get to see that Universal aspect in all of us. 

 

35051972_10157485809073136_1736311147260280832_n (1)

Oops! I did it again.

I can’t tell you how often it is that I believe that I have finally learned the deepest lessons of my life, and that they will no longer come back around and hit me in the back of the head. But, life as a human doesn’t quite work that way. We learn, we put it into practice, we get back into the routine of our lives, and then, we become complacent and forget for awhile. Then, we feel surprised when we have to learn the lesson yet again.

 

I don’t give myself a hard time about this anymore, but I am always surprised when certain life lessons reemerge. Today, the lesson that was taunting me yet again was my insistence on comparing myself to other people. Now, this is an old, familiar tune for me. I have done it my whole life around my body, actively comparing myself to other women, and sometimes men, in terms of how much larger, or smaller, their bodies are from mine. I have done it with knowledge, how much smarter someone seems to be than I am. And today, I was comparing myself to other women in the country that offer hugs to strangers in their corner of the universe.

 

At first glance, I think, that is amazing; their are other like minded people in the world who are doing what it is that has brought me fulfillment and connection, and they are sharing their light and love in the world. What could be wrong with that? Then, my insecurity kicks in, because one of the women is a writer whose books have been on the New York Times bestseller list; she has a podcast with hundreds of listeners and amazing guests (like Brene’ Brown). The other woman I just encountered on social media this week, and when she posts about her hugging events, dozens of people comment and hundreds of persons like her posts. In an instant, I feel inadequate and small.

 

After comforting my bruised ego and remembering the reason that I do what I do with free hugs, I feel a bit better. But, then I remember why learning this lesson again is so important, and why it is essential for me to pay attention to it every time that it comes up.  When I compare myself to others, the initial thought and feeling process that comes from it is “I am not enough”. Of course, I know most of the time that is the farthest thing from the truth, and that I am always doing my best. But, when I am actively comparing who I am in the world to who someone else is, beyond being a terrible comparison due to our own individual, unique qualities; when I compare myself to someone, I simply have to criticize, put down, or find fault or cast judgment or either myself, or on them. And, the judgment is usually pretty harsh.

 

Gratefully, I catch this pretty quickly when I am going down the rabbit hole of self loathing. And, I have also gotten pretty savvy at forgiving myself for going there in my mind and my heart. But, it can be a dangerous reminder of what I need to keep doing; that I need to keep shining my own light; being my self; letting others do the same. I need to keep loving, growing, evolving, waking up, dreaming, and being as big as I care to be in this world. And, celebrate and join hands with other beautiful humans who are doing the same thing.

 

I don’t have to learn all of the lessons overnight; and many of them have to be repeated pretty regularly for me to let them sink in. But, I am so grateful that I see the opportunity in them, each time, and how much closer they keep bringing me to truly loving myself. 

35051972_10157485809073136_1736311147260280832_n (1)