Tag Archives: inner peace

I Feel the Ocean.


One of my favorite aspects of nature is being by the water. We live by a lake, I love walking down to the falls at the park in our city, and I absolutely adore the ocean. Although we don’t live by the sea, I enjoy getting there as often as I can. This past weekend, we had an opportunity to travel to the east coast for a couple of days, right on the water.


The ocean holds particular fondness for me. As a child, we would spend days during the summer at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, just to be able to run and swim in the waves, walk along the sand and find shells. It was pure heaven, even then. As I got older, it always seemed that myself and some friends or family, would make a trip at least every year to be by the ocean and feel its magic. As an adult, my parents rented a house every year for a decade, front and center on the coast. 


I love the sounds, sights and smells of the ocean. I love hearing the roar of the crashing waves as I go to sleep, and I enjoy seeing the calm of the tide while the sun comes up in the morning. Whether it is opening up in me something that feels closed, or it is inspiring me to create where I feel stuck, it always seems to bring to me what I need at any given time. Inspiration. Consolation. Connection. Infinity. Peace.


So much has changed in the form of life for me in the last few years. And, I still at times, struggle with those changes, and accepting them fully. I keep learning to let go, little by little. But yesterday, as we were getting ready to depart from the ocean for another season, I felt connected. I felt one with all that Is. I felt the ocean, not through my senses, but as being part of Everything. I was as much the sand and the waves as I was my own body. Although I have been preparing in so many ways to be less connected to being my own, little entity, I had no idea how far I had traveled in my realization journey to be one with All that Is, in that moment. It felt like everything, and nothing, all at the same time. Feeling without touching. 


I Am, more and more, All that Is. 





Exquisite Pain.


There was a time in my life, which now feels very long ago indeed, when I was completed wedded to pain and suffering. I believed that my emotions were something on which I was carried away, and that I had to feel every aspect of them in a demonstrative and dramatic way. And, that while I was feeling them, I would weave these beautifully artistic stories that kept me wrapped up in the madness of them. I not only saw no other way of experiencing and expressing my emotions; I didn’t want any other way.


For me, being dramatically connected to emotion was my way of gaining attention from the outside world, and it also was based on my belief that it made me a connected, compassionate person. So, not only would I always have a deeply intense response to “negative” circumstances in my own life, but would also feel the need to be interwoven with every inequity and hardship that existed in the world. That could be a friend who was struggling, or an earthquake on the other side of the world. It all felt equally as intense no matter what the nature of relationship to me, or the circumstance itself. 


In my day to day living, it impacted me by feeling like I was always on a roller coaster, literally feeling the ups and downs in my body and believing it was out of my control. And, by default, those around me were also brought along for the ride, and as a result, never knew how I would be impacted when they would talk to me about something. Many things in my life felt painful, and I believe, over time, I came to see that pain as not only deeply hurtful, but also, in a strange way, as exquisite, enchanting; like even though I didn’t like the feeling, I could not turn away from it. Exquisite Pain is how I would best describe it.


The part of it that made it so enticing for me, was the stories that I would weave around my emotions. I not only believed that I was the emotions that I was feeling, I wove an identity around it, as a person who was extra sensitive, who was easily influenced by the world around her. And, although I have no judgment about that time of my life, it felt pretty helpless much of the time, and I believed that if I were not that influenced by my emotions, that it meant that I was unfeeling, uncaring, or detached in some way.


Gratefully, I found my true path that was the way to Peace and Surrender within myself. I discovered, through a deep letting go process, that I can feel any emotion that comes through me. However, it NEVER has to dictate who I am, or what I choose to do with it.  No matter what, the more often that I can simply accept everything as It Is, whether that be an emotion, a circumstance, or both, than the more deep the Peace that will settle within me. I can listen to the stories of another, without making it my own. I can feel all the feels that occur within me each day, without feeling carried away by them. No matter what is going on around or within me, I ALWAYS get to choose.


And, today, I get to choose differently. And, the result is Exquisite Peace. 



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. 


Seagull Island.



During my walk this morning, and for many mornings this winter, I have noticed a flock of seagulls that hang around at the lake. Now that the weather is turning colder, and ice is beginning to form on parts of the lake, when they gather there, in the center, it looks like an island of sorts where they sit. They are huddled together and occasionally fly away. I often find myself wondering, why are they here? Where did they come from? Why in the winter would they settle on our local, homegrown lake?


As I wondered on that, I also wondered, on why I ask why. When I am asking why, about a situation or a person, it is most often because I feel scared. I might feel scared about why someone I love is upset with me, because that means, our relationship, in the way that I am viewing it, has changed. I might feel scared because I don’t know what is going to happen next, so I feel less secure about my life and where it is going. I might feel scared if I don’t understand the why of something, because that means I am not as wise as I might of thought, so I give myself room to judge and criticize myself.


For me, any why or wondering question comes from a place of fear. Even about seagulls on a lake, you ask? Yes. When I am wondering why something is the way that it is, I am afraid of something. Afraid of what I think I already know from the past. Afraid of what might happen in the future. Afraid to just let the present moment Be as It Is. You see, when I am coming from a fearful place, if I let the present moment be, then I feel as if I am letting go of control. And, when I am afraid, if I am not in control, that is terrifying. 


Maybe being in control doesn’t sound like a problem to many of you, especially if you are a control freak like I am. However, I can attest to the fact that it certainly is not a peaceful place to come from. Not at all. When I am in control, or needing to know the hows and whys of every little detail in my life, I am certainly not feeling at ease. I am feeling tense, and always waiting for the next thing that is about to happen. 


The deepest lessons of my life are occurring right now, and those are about how to bring Peace more consistently and deeply into my world. And, the beauty is, I don’t have to do anything special for that to happen; not at all. I just have to be in my world, without questions or judgments or rules. I can just let the world Be as It Is. Let Go of what I think it should be. Breathe deeply and take in what is happening Right Now.


Today, the seagulls on my homegrown lake are a great lesson in Presence, because instead of wondering why they are there, I get to watch them dance on the water, hear them communicate with one another, and appreciate their beauty and unique nature. I get to just Be with them, in this very moment.  After all, the Present Moment is all that there ever Is.