Tag Archives: connection

WHAT ABOUT ME????

22I am transformed

It is of no surprise to many of you that are reading this that I love giving hugs to complete strangers. For over two years now, I have been standing on the street, in my city and cities around the eastern coast, offering hugs to others, and writing about my experiences. It has been amazing, and I have literally grown an army of like minded individuals local to me who have been offering hugs with me over those two years. I have felt so compelled and inspired by giving hugs to others that I am writing my first published book about my experiences, and even registered The Hugging Army as a nonprofit organization. What a blessing.

Then, a few months ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the presence of Tex Allen, who is the co leader/founder of Hugging America. On the west coast of the country, he and his partner, in crime and in Love, have been offering hugs, smiles, and profound shifts in heart and connection. I have been watching their activities, from Burning Man 2017 to what they have in store for 2018. I have been in awe, and felt inspired even more to keep doing what I am doing.

19275141_1762300637128437_5036350518214389055_n

Yet, the ever present Ego in me has been actively comparing myself to their beautiful gifts for the last few days. I love their logo. I love their plans to travel. I love that they have one another to support and cheer on as they go forward in this beautiful dream. And, I begin to not only doubt my own way of offering hugs and inspiring others, but begin to judge them for having it “all together”. Like they are treading on my turf, something that I am growing from scratch and is MINE. WHAT ABOUT ME????

As I write this, and read what I am writing, I have a ridiculous smile on my face, because I know I am being ridiculous. Yet, I also know how present, illicit and powerful my Ego can be. How controlling and possessive It can lead me to believe that I Am. It is sneaky, and the more that I am on to It, the more clever it becomes. I have it so cush right now. My life is complete bliss. So, what better time for my Ego to amp up the game and want to get my attention?

The beautiful, magnificent, real Truth of it all is that any offering that any one of us give to this world is amazing. Is magical and spiritual. And, to think that I have to have something, to put my name on, take possession of and call my own, instead of teaming up with beautiful, like minded souls, IS ridiculous. What better way to pass on the Light that lives in me, and show how it lives in all of Us, than by teaming up with those that are already awake? I am astounded at the Truth of that, and humbled by it as well.

The last year of my world has brought many difficult, painful lessons. And, in that time, I could have fallen into deeper sleep in terms of what I am here for and what I want to be inspired by. However, I have used every painful circumstance to become more highly conscious, especially when that is the hardest choice that I could make. And, the beautiful result is, is that I can show my humanness. My flaws. My icky and beautiful stuff. And, that one day very soon, I will be hugging these beautiful humans in 3D. What could be more magical than that? 

16Hugging Meditation

 

 

Advertisements

Perspective.

 

IMG_0360.JPG

 

I spent a lot of time in nature today. I laid down on large rocks, I walked on trails in the woods, and I breathed deeply in the air of the day. Nature is close by our home and we spend a great deal of time there. Taking the beauty in through all of our senses is a deep, healing experience. And, it helps always to remind me of the freedom that I have to contemplate life and circumstances from a variety of perspectives.

 

I am grateful for knowing that I have a choice. Many persons, including many in my life, do not know or understand that they have a choice in their perspective on the world. Whether they see themselves as a victim, as flawed or defective, as better than or more evolved than others, as only being their life circumstances and nothing else, they cannot see beyond these roles or situations. And, in addition to that, even if they are told that they have a choice to see things differently, they don’t understand that because they don’t believe that it is true.

 

The truth is, life is different depending on the perspective with which you look at it. Today, I lay upon a rock, that was the length and width of my body, and somewhat suspended between other rocks. First, I sat up looking around, and had one view. And, then I lay on my back, and just looked upward, and the view of course was somewhat different. So it is with my life.

 

I have had a boatload of shit that has gone down in my world in the last year. And, I mean, A LOT. Good, bad, sad, frustrating, blessed, and everything in between. And, if I believed in accumulation, of good or bad circumstances, then I would be believing that 2017 was one of the worst years of my life. However, I don’t believe in accumulation of circumstances. I guess because I have stopped believing in past, or future for that matter. I still understand that memories of the past and projections of the future will occur in my life, I don’t take them as seriously as I have before. I now believe that more than anything, the present moment is all that we have. And, I don’t consider that as a point of view; I consider it to be a fact. This, right now in this moment, is all that we ever have.

 

IMG_0366.JPG

 

That reminds me that peace is always in my grasp, if I only just choose it. To look upon a small pine seedling, a pile of leaves crunching under my feet, or clouds that look like cotton streaks in the sky, or the arms of someone whom I have never met hugging me on the street. Those are moments of sweetness, of truth, love and abundance. And I can only fully experience them if I am present, as present as I possibly can be.

 

But, there are times I choose strife, and anxiety, and worry and belief that the past defines me or that the future will save me. And, then I remember that I can always change my perspective, and I remember that this moment is all that needs to grab my attention, and it carries within it every possibility of greatness, beauty, magic and eternity and infinity within it. That is my saving Grace. 

 

IMG_0348

Hugging Heals.

img_1964

 

Life has issued to me some deep challenges in the last few days, in the way of loss. Although I am not a person that typically senses that life accumulates troubles, or that bad things “happen in threes”, I felt a bit overwhelmed and taxed by events recently. And, although how things impact me is always within my own choice and control, I felt spent. I felt like I had enough. 

 

In the span of four days, my beloved Hug Bug 1998 VW Beetle broke down 700 miles from my home; my wife’s sister died unexpectedly; and our cars were broken into and my work computer was stolen from my car. By Thursday, I felt tired, discouraged, and like I wanted to hide away in my home, under a blanket, and forget about everyone and everything. I had enough.

 

However, I am so grateful to have within me the gift of sight, the gift of awareness. I express gratitude for awareness daily, because without it, I see myself as a person in pain with no way to relieve it. With awareness, I can accept that I am in pain as it is, and love myself in spite of that. In addition, I can see another option to relieve the pain, or to accept things as they are. I have learned deeply about surrender, acceptance, and presence. 

 

This weekend, here in Scranton, is The Scranton Fringe Festival. I participated last year, talking about The Hugging Army, and this year was to have two shows again to tell stories, share photographs, and instruct people on mindful hugging. As my first show approached, my level of enthusiasm was diminished, because I was focused on the loss and sadness that I felt. However, once again, awareness assisted me in seeing things another way.

 

You see, when I first began offering free hugs in my community, I saw it as just that: an offering to others. A giving to them what I believed that they needed or desired. After hugging strangers for two years, however, I deeply understood that I was also receiving something in return, with every hug that I received, and even with those that I didn’t. I was gifted ten fold. A part of me wanted to feel selfish for wanting to receive that gift. Yet, being honest about that, and also understanding that the mutuality of the hug itself has deep healing powers, I saw the opportunity in sharing it with others. I get every hug that I offer to people. Plain and simple.

 

And, I offered and received many hugs so far this weekend. And, in those hugs, I cried, I breathed deeply, and was present to what I was giving and what I was receiving, right into my heart center. I felt what hurt so intensely was healing, slowly and methodically, through the exchange of deep love, presence and respect. I understood, yet again, the importance of what hugs do in the world, for myself and for others. 

 

I am not always sure why this became my path. Yet I know more and more each day why I will continue upon it. Why hugs are so important. And why my modeling of that opens me, and others, to a new way of being. 

 

16Hugging Meditation

I Am Hopelessly Flawed.

IMG_1901

I have always enjoyed learning something new. And, most recently in my life, I have come to deeply appreciate when I have personal breakthroughs. I have not always appreciated this, because to have a breakthrough to me, meant that I had either hurt someone else, been hating on myself, or learned the lesson through some other difficult or painful means. I now understand that the most painful lessons for me bring the most brilliant recognitions in my life.

I have always sought in my mind to be a perfect human being. I always wanted to look just right; lose the right amount of weight; measure my foods in precisely the right amount per portion. I always wanted to be right on time for work, for play, or for an appointment. I always wanted to know about everything that someone would ask me; I would want to be the expert in any field of study. I wanted to be the best friend, mother, sibling, daughter, and co worker that there ever was.

I guess there is no harm in wanting to be the best at something in life. The problem has been for me, that being the best was an obsession for me. I saw myself as having to be perfect at everything, and when I wasn’t, I would criticize myself, or the situation. It would bring out the darkest, most undesirable parts of me, my traits. 

We all are made up of various traits and characteristics, that make us who we are. The ones that I tend to focus on are the ones that are most appealing: being kind; loving; compassionate; forgiving; patient; open; and honest, for a few examples. Yet, there are other traits that are always present within me that I don’t like to acknowledge live in me. And, when they show up, I get scared. I get defensive. My fists come up. And, I criticize and berate myself for having them appear; it is some of the darkest moments of self loathing for me. So to say that they live in me has been a challenge during most of my life.  Here are a few of my top traits:

I am a know it all. I am controlling about the slightest detail. I am judgmental to anyone who isn’t as “evolved” as I  am. I am arrogant. I am naive, to the point of feeling offended when my illusions are shattered. I am bossy. I am not willing to be a team player. I am dramatic. I am a gossip. I am stubborn about looking at things in news ways. I am unforgiving and resentful. I am selfish about my own needs. And no doubt, there are more that I could list here. 

These traits aren’t always how I am in the world, yet they do live in me. I was recently reading a book by SARK in which she was not only listing her various traits, she was celebrating them!  I was stunned, amazed, and confused. Why would one want to focus on them? Why not focus on the positive parts of ourselves?

I came to understand why a bit more deeply this week. I know that I have these traits that I see as more negative, and I am even pretty savvy at catching them when they pop up in my life and my relationships, at least most of the time. And, I most often choose the more positive, loving traits in my world. But, even if I didn’t choose those more often, I realized, SO WHAT? Really, so what? Loving myself means loving all parts of myself, the parts that I praise and the parts that I loathe. The Light and the Dark; they are all me.

Today, I am renewing my commitment to letting go of perfection and embracing my Perfection as I Am. Even though that may sound like the same idea, with the same word, it is completely different. It is the difference between conditional love, the need to be a certain someone in this world in order to love and honor myself; and Unconditional Love, the loving, honoring, and Celebrating who I Am, in all of my delightful, human ways. It is the difference between living according to our domestication, of how we have been carefully taught; and living in accordance with our true nature, our deepest, most authentic self.

Today, I announce, declare, acknowledge, and Celebrate every aspect of who I Am.

IMG_2742

Please, help me.

IMG_4931

 

I have defined myself as a helper for most, if not all of my life. From an early age, I wanted to always help others, and to give them gifts and special things. It isn’t something that I necessarily thought about, it just felt as if it lived in me as part of who I am. This giving and offering applied to my family, friends, and strangers. As I got older, it felt like a longing that meant that I wanted to choose a career in which I could offer myself to others. To me, that meant social work. And, although I have loved what I have done as my career all of these years, I don’t seek so much of myself in it as I used to in the past.  As a social worker, and a counselor, I have come to find it quite normal to always focus on what others need, or how they are not capable of taking care of themselves, and require my assistance. I see humans as much more capable than I used to, so I feel less needed to provide a service, but rather, see in them the ability to help themselves.

 

Another aspect of who I have been in my life, is that I rarely have asked for help for myself. Not only do I offer to do almost everything that may be required in a given situation, I rarely ask for others to actively help me. And, if I am in a bad situation, it is often not my comfort zone to ask someone to assist me. 

 

One area that I find it interesting is in how prayer has been present in my life as I have grown. When I was a child, and even in college, I would enjoy going to church, participating in the structure and tradition of it all, with prayers and song. I loved that I knew the prayers by heart, and would enjoy reciting them in unison with others in the church. I even prayed at night, or various other times, to God, as I knew of it at the time, for help for others. I never, ever asked God for help for myself. To me, to ask God for something that I wanted, or needed, was selfish. Was me asking God to give me something that I should be able to take care of myself. In other words, God was not responsible for my happiness or relief; I was. 

 

Letting go of the belief that I am solely responsible for the happenings of my life, without the need for others to assist, has been a challenge for me. Mostly, in the area of where God, or Spirit, fits into my life. I would rarely remember that God, or Spirit, is always with me, and I am always part of it, and it is there as the purest form of who I Am. And, there to assist, guide, and support. Yet, I am beginning to understand how important that is right now for me. Being able to say to Spirit, please, help me, to see this situation as it is. To let go or surrender. To remember that I am resting always in the Peace of God. That this is just a dream. That the form does not matter. These are the parts of my daily living that feel most challenging, and yet, I still believe that I need to solely rely on myself to remember. 

 

Most recently, with life form situations that have happened in my world, I have remembered with more frequency to call upon Spirit for help, when I am in a moment that does not feel peaceful, yet I am longing for peace. I am aware that I am not choosing Peace, and yet, need some assistance in choosing Peace. That is when Spirit is right there, for me and with me, to hold me up and remind me, gently and lovingly, what Peace feels like, and that I always have help in choosing it. That I am not in ever in this alone; that I am always held by and watched over by Spirit. That all is well. That Peace lives within me. And Forgiveness. And Love. And when I cannot remember to choose them, it is a beautiful comfort to know the help that exists to help me choose.

 

11202856_1606994312902212_7038100225790313098_n

 

To Ruthie. With Love.