Monthly Archives: June 2015

How About A Hug? Part 3: Give your arms a Rest.

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When I decided that I would spend an evening hugging persons blindfolded, I had no idea what my level of energy and stamina would be. I had a hunch that I would feel completely invigorated physically, because of the excitement within me around the project. And, to some degree, I was correct in that.

However, there were periods of time that I was holding my arms up for awhile, and they would get tired. I would lower them for a few seconds, stretching them out, and then put them up again.

But, something really interesting happened along the way, and it happened a couple of times before I realized it. Even when my arms would get tired, as soon as a person would come up to me for a hug, and I would wrap my arms around them tightly, after they would walk away, my arms would not be tired anymore. If anything, they felt well rested and light.

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Now, some of that relief was bound to happen, because in one sense, I was putting my arms down, and resting them on another person. Yet, my muscles within my arms were tense and strong when I would hug the person, and the rest would literally only be for a few seconds. So, I feel sure that the energized feeling my arms would experience were directly related to the experience itself, my own opening of my heart.

At one point, I had a person come by, who told me as she hugged me that she had hugged me earlier, and came by for a second one. Then, she went on to tell me, that her purpose was to help me to relax.

She told me after giving me a second, beautiful hug, to give my arms a rest. Her voice was gentle, kind and compassionate. And, her words went right to my heart. Right to the core of me, and was yet another confirmation of why this project felt so fulfilling to me.

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To be offering a gift to the world around me, with little anticipation of what would happen, and little ability to see what would happen, was opening my heart plenty. But, to then receive from a person, in such a genuine way, was to understand that my offering was how I was to deeply receive.

My life is so full of magic, wonder and peace. And, that continues to expand every day. Yet, to be in that small chunk of time, and encounter so many miracles of humanity, has exponentially increased my awareness and deep appreciation for the humans in the world around me. Even when we are so bombarded with how messed up this world is, there is kindness and love at every turn.

What a miracle.

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How About a Hug? Part 2- Hugs for Everyone.

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Hugs for Everyone. That was part of my thinking when I embarked on this project, which was just the beginning of continuing it into the future. Everyone should be hugged. We all crave human contact, human compassion in the form of a wraparound, and a tight squeeze. Or a gentle embrace. We all need that in order to feel fully human, loved and alive.

And, even if I had not had on a blindfold, the hugs would have been there for everyone, everyone that felt ready and willing to approach me and stand there, waiting. It gives me pause when I think about it.

You see, I have judgments most every day, about one thing, or one person or another in my life. Someone is driving too fast on the highway. A coworker doesn’t seem particularly chatty or interested in me. My daughter is tired and overwhelmed and seems aggravated with me. Judgment knows no bounds when I feel like my needs are not getting met. I don’t live in judgment all the time, but it most often comes out when I feel scared, or alone.

Standing on a city street, with no sight, and hugging people, sight unseen, was one way to remove my ability to judge, because I couldn’t see anything. I had to just trust that all would be well. And, more importantly, I had to remain with my heart wide open, to receive every nugget that came my way.

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Being judgmental serves me less and less in my life. And, opening my heart serves me more and more. And, this experience was a beautiful beginning to commit to letting go of judgment, and embracing love of others. Let go of wanting something in return, and open to receiving bigger than I have in my life, by wanting nothing in return.

What a rush.

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How About a Hug? Part I

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Last night, I did something, probably one of the craziest things that I have ever done, and the most profound. Last night, I stood on the sidewalk in downtown Scranton, during our First Friday event, and I was blindfolded. I held my arms open wide, and had a sign up:

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And, what happened after that will be the subject of many, many blog posts to come. It was a completely vulnerable, amazing experience. I waited, and stood, and people came up to me, only a couple at first, and then it grew. People that wanted, needed, or were offering, a hug.

Some people came into my arms easily, after letting me know they were standing close to me, either by a phrase, or a sigh, or a whisper to a friend. Some grabbed my hand before they came into my embrace. And, with all of them, I fully embraced them. Wrapped my arms around them fully, tall or short, small or bigger, I curled all around them.

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Before I arrived there, I felt a little bit afraid. What would it be like to be standing there, completely vulnerable? Knowing that anything could happen? Knowing that I was taking away one of my sense, my sight, in order to go through this? I asked Brenda to be there with me, and she chronicled it with pictures, and got to share in the full experience herself.

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All day today, I have not been able to stop thinking about the experience. The fact that my first hug was a small baby. The young man that hugged me, I think for a full minute, tight and full, not wanting to let go. The emotion of connecting in that deep, physical way with complete strangers to me.

What I realized today, among many other things, is that in the moment of standing there in my vulnerability, and opening myself to a world that I know, but I don’t know, I was choosing between fear or peace. In every breath, and every sound that I sensed around me, I got to actively choose to be peaceful. To have no expectations and to know that anything could happen, and that I knew that it would all be magical.

For two hours, I stood there, and it was complete bliss. I could have stood there even longer. It was engaging and addictive, and so necessary for the world that I encountered, and for me.

I actively reminded myself how good it feels to open my arms to the world, all of it.

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