Free Hugs – And A Few Bonuses

I had an amazing day!  Inspired by a YouTube video where a man stands with a simple sign that reads “free hugs” and hugs willing passersby, I did the same.  I attended the Rochester Pagan Pride Festival today and, with the organizers’ prior permission, carried a “free hugs” sign with me all day.  It’s a day that will long live in my memory.

I don’t know that I can accurately relate what it was like exactly.  One thing I can tell you is that it was fun.  While some people kept their distance – sometimes without making eye contact and sometimes with a smile and a “no thank you” – others approached me eagerly.  A few even run up to me, arms open.  One woman said she’d always wanted to do that.  She liked it so much that I offered her a second hug, this time with the sign on the ground and both of my arms open and ready.  That was really fun.

The kids were also especially fun.  If you haven’t hugged a wee one in a while, see if you can make that happen.  One young girl, who took the initiative and approached me, told me that I hug better than her mom.  (I hope her mom didn’t hear that.) 

There was one special child who will stay in my memory.  She didn’t say a word and couldn’t have with the pacifier in her mouth.  Not more than two years old, she ran right up and hugged me.  Then she ran right back to her daddy and gave him a hug first and then her mama.  This girl knows what to do with a hug – pass it on to someone else.  They’re not meant to be hoarded.

One of my favorite parts of the day was staying present during the hug and feeling when it was time to let go.  In order to stretch myself and truly give hugs, I made a commitment to myself to keep hugging until the receiver let go.  I didn’t want to be the one to stop the hug because I wanted to give each person what he or she needed and wanted.  Sensing that moment was tricky and I was wrong a few times.  Some of the hugs were very quick.  I gave a great, tight hug and let go when I sensed the person pulling away.  It was easy to know when to end those hugs.  Other hugs lasted much longer and I felt myself a little uncomfortable or maybe it was impatience.  Regardless of the emotion, I started just the slightest movement of pulling away (still with awareness) and discovered that the receiver was still fully engaged.  So back in I went, arms tight, letting the receiver end the hug.  Then it felt right to stop. 

I also met a special man, Peter.  I can’t tell you here all that we talked about today but I felt then and still do now that I was talking with God or, at the very least, someone who knows Him well.   As I told my husband, I truly felt like I was in the presence of the divine and I feel changed by the experience.  And it all started with a simple hug.

In all cases, I thanked the brave soul who received my hug and most thanked me.  I accepted their gratitude but I know that I was the one who was actually receiving, and it started by giving. 

Sometimes when you give a hug, a hug that comes all the way from your toes, you get back more than you give.  Try it.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply