Tag Archives: being myself

The F Word.

Something really profound happened this weekend. I said the F word.  I said it, without condemning, without being self deprecating. Without drama or fanfare.


Just a word.  And, it felt freeing to say it.


No attachment. No story. No thought train. 


Just a three letter word. (Nope, not the four letter one- although I do say that heartily and often).




I called myself fat, in the context of body size, my body in relation to the size and shape of other bodies. On other humans. I could hardly believe that I had said it. 


Said it without having a reaction. Said it without being in tears. Said it without wishing for it to be different. In that moment, I felt my Goddess, Grandma, Round, Soft, Natural and Strong self emerge. 


All of the classmates, the partners, the humans who had used that word on my like a weapon. A weapon that I accepted and thought was okay for me to hear. 


Just a word. 


I realized in that moment, that I am made of soft silk, and a breeze. In that moment, I realized the truth, that words are just words; and they land softly, as if I am not even there to hear them, and then they float away. Just words. 


Just words. As if no history existed with it ever at all. 


Which, of course, is the ultimate Truth. No history. A memory trace. Not here and Now.


In that moment, I realized that there were no more triggering thoughts of attack when I look in the mirror, or put on my clothes, or see my naked body. No more waiting for a different image in order to deeply love myself.


It is not, of course, a chorus of angels every time I look, or feel my body in a certain way. However, it is eyes that are more neutral, more detached, eyes that see and accept what Is; without condemnation or longing. Without wishing for it to be different. Just a long, slow sigh of relief for what has been held my whole life, like holding my breath all of those years. An illusion. A false truth.


How deep the freedom of the Ultimate Truth. 



Rainbows and Glitter.


So, it would seem that most people would know that summer is the season for LGBTQA+ Pride, especially, the month of June. Fifty years ago, in June 28, 1969, a group of brave humans stood up the the police and the public, in Greenwich Village, NYC, to be treated fairly and equally. The establishment is Stonewall. And, the rest is history. Gay history. 


I have been out as a lesbian, to friends, family, and the general public, for more than 35 years now. It has been a journey, that is for sure, one that has included self loathing, shame, and believing that there might be something wrong with me because I loved women. Yet, I persevered, I have been fiercely authentic as myself for many years now, and I love to model that for others also.



Long after my own coming out, my son had his own version of coming out that was in store for him. It was painful and confusing at times, for all of us. Yet, it shifted something in me on a deep level, that helped me to understand that we all just want to be loved for who we know ourselves to be. It is that simple, and yet as humans, we make it so complicated and difficult.


As I stood out in the oppressive heat today, holding my arms open and offering hugs for any and all that wanted, or needed them, I felt humbled. I felt emotional. I felt so sure that I was right where I needed to be. And, even though I didn’t hear a lot of stories, of rejection and heartache that others have experienced, I felt the connection from one human soul to the next, as we held one another and squeezed.


I have attended more Pride events this summer than in my entire adult life, and what I can say is, beyond how fulfilling it is to give a hug to a person that really needs one, and is willing to give it to themselves, it is a completely awe inspiring experience, to watch humans of all ages come to an event and feel free to be themselves. To express it, loudly or softly, and to know that they finally can just BE. Today, at the very end of the day, I had a young person cry in my arms, and me along with them, about how grateful that they were that Free Mom Hugs was there, offering hugs and hope to anyone who needed it.


And, my beautiful, loving son, came with his own sign, to show support, love, and connection with so many that took him up on his offer. It was so lovely to watch. I am in tears as I write this, so grateful that I have stepped upon this purposeful path; so overwhelmed with how it is needed and received; and so humbled by all of the souls that are now joining me on the journey.  I came home with a rainbow necklace, and with my arms covered in glitter. 


It was a very good day.  

Awakening the Bone Wisdom.


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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. 

Hug Bug Tour 2018.


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!



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. 



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. 


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.


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. 


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: 


Facebook: The Hugging Army/Vanessa Leigh White Fernandes

Instagram: vanessaleigh19625653

I Love You. Hug Some One. 


Don’t believe your mind.



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.