Tag Archives: life

Fat and Happy.

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My body and my image of it, in terms of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, have been on quite the journey throughout my time here. I have been housed in this physical vessel for over 55 years so far. I have been in various feelings states in that time about it. Anything from pure shame and disdain, to pride and ease. With lots of feelings and thoughts in between as well. 

What is most interesting to me, however, is that what I have felt about myself, either positive or negative, has always related directly to something outside of myself. So, when the scale read 211 pounds, I felt deep shame; I would criticize myself in the mirror and in my head. Then, when the scale read 200 pounds, 180 pounds, 150 pounds, I would feel a deeper sense of satisfaction and “happiness”, because I was losing weight. In addition, if I felt hungry in between meals, or wanted to order french fries instead of a salad, I would experience loud chatter in my head, about how bad I was.

When I started to eat more nuts, avocados, and coconut oil, I was terrified about how much weight I might gain from it. I have followed many of the eating plans, regimens, and diets that are around. I have weighed myself daily, and avoided doctors’ appointments so I wouldn’t have to get on the scale. I have had the sense of absolute dread when I would pull out my clothes for the season, about whether or not they would still fit, or be too tight.

I have obsessed, cried, cursed, wished, and waited for something to change, so that I would be different, look different, or both. I was sure that I knew the true equation: the number on the scale, or the size in the closet, is in direct correlation to how valuable or beautiful I am, and whether I have worth. In this type of math, the math of self loathing, less (pounds) is better.

With the grace of the powers that oversee my life, and with my own willingness to see a different, more authentic truth, I have rescripted this in my head. I no longer equate my personal worth with what size or weight that I am. I have chosen to no longer choose shame when I don’t take a walk for a week, or have fries for lunch. I buy comfortable clothes and give away those that are too small for me. I stopped looking in the mirror, scrutinizing for every flaw, and know that the surface body that I see is not the summation of who I Am. I tuned in with how to care for myself more deeply than ever before.

This weekend, I was spending some time with my parents, and as my father commented on how happy I am, and how much it shows on me, a deep Truth showed itself to me once more: I am fat, according to many of the schools of thought in the world. And, I am blissfully happy, in all that I think, say and do. It’s not perfection by any means, and I still feel body shame at times. Yet, I finally get it, that as long as I am taking care of my body, mind, soul and heart, in the best ways that I know how, tuned in to what I really want and need, that is enough. No matter how it appears on the outside, or what others expect or want from me. I am always enough. Complete. Whole. 

Fat and Happy as my True Self. 

 

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The Beauty of Impermanence.

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It’s pretty common for me to get into a routine about certain things in my world. Often times, on a Saturday morning, I will go for a walk, by myself or with my wife, at Lake Scranton near our home. This morning was particularly beautiful, and although I wanted to get out and take a walk, the Lake was not calling to me; however, Nay Aug Park was. I drove over there and started out on the Davis Trail, and as soon as I saw this deadening tree I understood why I was pulled. 

The previous evening, my wife had given me a sweater that had belonged to her sister, Diane, my soul sister, who died unexpectedly two months ago. I had felt deep emotion, after giving hugs all evening around the city, when she told me that she wanted me to have it. In that moment, I not only missed Diane’s presence in my 3D life, but I was more acutely aware of impermanence, and how that is true for All Things, human and otherwise. As I walked on the Davis Trail, I saw this tree, and realized that I was deepening that lesson. And more was to come.

I could choose to either stay on the dirt trail, or to walk toward the waterfalls and hike on the rocks. I decided that the rocks felt like the place to be today. As I walked down the steps toward the water, I was aware of how present and mindful I needed to be with each step; there was a hard frost last night, and the steps, leaves, and rocks were slippery. Again, the idea of impermanence, the fleeting nature of things, and my own temporary nature came to me. 

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I walked along the rocks, large and small, and sat for a few minutes in the crisp morning air, listening to the water running beside me. I kept walking along the brook, and up the hill toward the other end of the trail. As I got back on the Davis Trail, I found a makeshift memorial, underneath the treehouse. There were candles, flowers, and messages. Again, this lesson speaks to me

 

Every image that I encountered about impermanence- a sweater, a deadening tree, the memorial- had radiant beauty to it. Whether in its appearance, its heart feeling, or its intention, the beauty of each part shone through. This stayed with me as I left the park, and remembered yet again how temporary we all are, as well as everything around us. To some, and to me for much of my life, that knowing would bring to me a deep sense of fear and anticipation. Today, it reminds me of the essential way in which I want to approach my life, as often as possible: In the Present Moment. To be right here, right now, without memory or anticipation, I get to enjoy the deep beauty of what is, and also remember that it is only here Now, and will never be again. It reminds me of the grace of gratitude in my world and how it opens me up to many new, wondrous things. That our fleeting nature reminds me of how I always, in all phases, a part of the whole. A beginning from and returning to the Source.

And, that beauty exists in each portion of our world, no matter where it is at in its evolution. 

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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.

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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

 

 

Perspective.

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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Hugging Heals.

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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