Tag Archives: love

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

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My Purpose is Peace.

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I receive daily emails from a woman who has been a spiritual seeker and leader for years now. She has followed and studied under don Miguel Ruiz, writer of the Four Agreements. Whatever the subject of the daily reminder, I find it relevant and always timely with what is happening in my world. One of this week’s reminders was no exception. She wrote about having a life’s purpose, and how it is that we know what our purpose is. She invited readers to think about one word that they would choose to best describe their overall purpose in life, and in the world.

 

I thought about it for quite some time. At first, I thought of words that are often in my daily lessons: Forgiveness. Love. Inspiration. Yet, the one that came to me, that makes the most sense, is Peace. Peace is my Purpose.

 

From my perspective, if I do not start from a peaceful center, the rest of what I will encounter and experience makes no difference. I will either be judging it, resenting it, avoiding it, embracing it, depending on where my mood scale is at. If I am in fear, then I will most definitely choose judgment and being a victim more consistently. And, even though I encounter feelings of fear frequently on most days, I know that I always have another choice: I always have the choice to come back to a Peaceful center within myself.

 

Choosing Peace is not always easy. I have been experiencing some interesting, drastic changes in some of my relationships, particularly with members of my family. Changes to the structure more than anything. And, I have at times, felt very dramatic, upset, depressed, tearful and discouraged about them. I even have embraced being the Victim to the “circumstances” around me that are “out of my control”. However, in the last few months, I have consciously and deliberately chosen to get off of the Drama Rollercoaster, and instead, embrace Peace that is always with me.

 

We all have the ability to choose it; we just forget. The more gentle and forgiving that we can be with ourselves, about our not remembering, the more loving that is. I am not perfect, and I no longer strive for perfection (most of the time anyway!). However, if I focus on what makes me feel really good, then I choose differently than when I want chaos or discouragement.
When I begin with a purpose of Peace, everything else falls into place. My day is more fulfilling and joyful; my surroundings are pleasing no matter what is happening; and I am willing to accept the world around me just as it is, without expectation and room for disappointment or judgment. When I begin with Peace, everything is a gift.

 

A gift that I want to consciously keep giving myself, every day.

 

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Notice the Fireflies.

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I recently began as a volunteer with my local hospice organization. Persons that are referred for hospice services are presumed to have six months or less to live. Hospice services assist with their medical needs, social work needs, or provide companionship and emotional support. My interest in becoming involved with hospice is my own interest in death, dying, and assisting those that are close to death in making their transition. I will be a guardian angel for them, sitting vigil in the last few hours and days of breath. It is not a career, as much as it is an inspired calling for me right now. 

 

With the training that I received this week, and meeting the first person that I have been paired with, I feel completely at ease being where I am. And, I find myself being even more acutely aware of the present moment, and the importance of that. You see, the present moment is all that we ever have, even though it feels like our lives are based on past and future the majority of the time. The truth is, the past is merely a memory trace, and the future is just an anticipated outcome, that may or may not come to be.  Yet, that is often how we define ourselves and establish our identity in the world. 

 

For persons that are dying, especially those that are actively dying at a relatively young age, there is no more planning for far into the future; the reality is, that they have fewer breaths remaining than they had planned on or hoped for. So, presence of what is in their now, and appreciating everything that they have in their lives becomes of more critical importance. However, it is a reminder that could serve all of us in a meaningful way. 

 

I read, listen to, and remind myself daily of the importance of present moment awareness, in accepting things as they are, and choosing peace over conflict, judgment, regret or anticipation. It takes daily reminding for me to remember the importance of it, believe me. Yet, I am amazed at the details that I get to immerse myself in when I pause long enough from my agenda ridden life, and pay attention to what is happening right now.  

 

Gift yourself with the celebration of the present moment. Enjoy the symphony of birds in the morning as you awaken. Watch the puffy, changing clouds from your car on your drive to work. Breathe deeply in between the bites of your meal. And, don’t forget to notice the fireflies that glow with such mystery in your backyard. The moments deserve our full attention. 

 

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Hurricane.

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Ever since I was a child, I remember being fascinated by the weather. I would do projects in grade school that focused on weather maps and weather patterns. I would get scared and intrigued by the way that Mother Nature could be calm and beautiful one minute, and mighty and destructive the next. I had fears of high wind, mainly tornadoes, and although I didn’t live in an area of the country where such incidents were common, I was scared, just the same. Same with hurricanes; not common, but the intensity of them would stir up fear in me.

 

One of the most fascinating things to me about a hurricane is the eye of the storm. On the outer perimeter, a hurricane is fierce, in wind, rain and destruction. Hurricanes change communities sometimes forever, by the intensity of them and the impact of that intensity. Yet, in the center of it all, there is a calm, peaceful spot where none of that turmoil is seen. It is really amazing.

 

This morning, I started thinking about storms such as hurricanes, but not in terms of an upcoming weather pattern. I was thinking about the hurricanes of times that I encounter in my life. I feel grateful that I don’t experience upheaval or destruction in my world very often. My life feels very grounded, peaceful, and going in the direction that I really most want to go. Yet, I have times when it feels like life and circumstances are swirling around me. I feel overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, hopeless, and small. I feel like the wind is blowing and the rains are falling, and I am without shelter or reprieve.

 

The most helpful thing for me in those times, is to remember my own, internal, eye of the storm. I have within me, as all of us do, a peaceful center. A core essence of being that is always available to me. ALWAYS and in ALL WAYS. It is my peace; my soul; my true nature. When I am swept up in the currents of storms that may be occurring outside of myself, I at times forget that the eye is always at my disposal. However, when I do remember this, which I always do, it is a great sigh of relief to come back to that center. To breathe deeply, consciously and presently. To remember that no matter what is happening outside of me, I can always rely on what lives in me.

 

Even though it feels simple and small, that eye of peace is strong and powerful. It creates for me, or brings me back to, that sense of knowing, of having my feet firmly planted. No wind or force can uproot me when I am coming from that place of pure peace, pure knowing. I am so grateful, each and every day, that I understand and know what really exists in me. So that I can call upon it whenever I most want or need to do so.  It is nothing short of a blessing.

 

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My Humanness.

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I went out last night with my wife, first for dinner, and then out to listen to some music. I always look forward to our evenings out together,  because we are spending some time as a couple; because I like visiting some of our favorite local businesses, and because I enjoy seeing people that I know. At those times, I feel social and available to others around me, and my environment. It feels freeing and peaceful, and I am present with how in touch with my own self and feel good about it.

 

We began the evening with dinner at our favorite restaurant in the city. We don’t go out to eat very often, but we enjoy this restaurant no matter what our other choices are. The food, atmosphere, and heart in the business draw us there, and it is warm, welcoming and delicious. I always see people that I know, including the owners, and even strangers feel known to me. I feel at home.

 

When we got to the second venue, to see some friends of ours who recently formed a new band perform, I knew right away that it felt different than where we had just been. Something inside of me didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt like I didn’t want to be seen; that I was too old, not cool enough. And that even if there were people there that were familiar to me, I didn’t care to have them converse with me, ask about me. I wanted to go into a corner of the room, drink my drink and just listen to the music.  

 

Now keep in mind that for two years now, I stand on the street and give hugs to complete strangers to me. And it feels connected, true and warm when I am hugging those people. Like I am connecting with them on a level beyond words, beyond form. It feels deep and true, both what I offer and what I receive. So, to feel uncomfortable in a room with many people, some of whom I knew or could get to know, I felt closed, not connected at all. 

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This morning, when I was sitting quietly, I found the space in me that feels like an open wound. A wound that has been around for years, some years more intensely than others, and is my own tendency toward self loathing and attack. That not wanting to be with other people in an open way, had nothing to do with them, but myself. It feels raw and vulnerable to see the ways in which I want to attack myself for not being enough. When I start to feel really good and sure of myself, Ego is never far away, reminding me of the voice that exists that is self deprecating and attacking. It is always there, wanting to undermine me in some way, undermine who I know myself to really be. 

 

With deep gratitude this morning, I say a hearty Thank You for the awareness that catches this in myself. And remembers what the real truth is. The truth is that I am complex and made up of many parts and aspects, in my human form. I have been domesticated in many ways in my life, about many things, and only now in my life do I have the eyes to understand that none of what I was taught is true. That the truth is that I am perfect; I am Light; and to Love myself is blessed. And that I am a part of All and can embrace that fully, but only by honoring and loving myself deeply first.

 

It can be daunting some days to love myself. Yet, I will continue to remind myself every day of how beautiful that is, and how opening myself fully shines my Light more brightly into the world. It reminds me that I am not alone, ever.

Fearing but Craving Connection