Today is National Hugging Day, so I did a bit of research on the internet to discover what this was all about. Wikipedia seems to be the best source of this type of information these days. I found an entry about the Free Hugs Campaign that was a bit intriguing. Seems a gentleman using a pseudonym started giving away free hugs in Australia as a response to some personal setbacks. He was using an ancient spiritual principle of giving away good feelings to feel better. I find it interesting to note that his initial efforts were met by skepticism and suspicion. Imagine being suspicious of someone simply wanting to hug and be hugged! Anyway, what started out as the Free Hugs Campaign in Australia has now culminated in today’s National Hugging Day here in the United States.
I didn’t used to do hugs. Such intimacy with people I hardly knew frightened me, although at the time I reacted the way some folks usually react to fear: I denied that I was afraid and attacked the process, saying that hugging was touchy feely, superficial and way too New Agey for me. Fast forward 25 years or so, and today I give and recieve hugs, but I must admit to still having a bit of fear around part of the process. There seems to be a practice going on that I have dubbed “hostage hugs.” It’s where someone hugs and they don’t let go….for quite a long time. I hug my honey like that. There is something about hugging my guy, and being hugged by him, that makes me feel safe and warm and loved comforted in the embrace. But when anyone else takes me hostage by not letting go of the hug, I feel like a captive, not warm and safe. I actually found myself squirming out of a hostage hug a couple of weeks ago. I told the well meaning lady who gave it that I considered it a hostage hug and asked her to please let go of me in a reasonable amount of time.
Some might say this is not very Practitioner like, nor very ministerial (since I am in ministerial school). Whatever. All I know is, I think it is inappropriate to hug someone longer or tighter than they wish to be hugged. I always make sure, when I am hugging someone, to have a lose grip on them so they can break the hug when they feel the need. All I ask is the same in return. My point to all this is that when you are hugging someone, or contemplating hugging them, there is an exchange of permission. Permission needs to be given to touch someone so intimately. For hugs are a sort of intimacy and some people are not comfortable with that, we need to honor that.
However, I know it feels good to hug and be hugged. There is something about a hug. When I approach someone for a hug, if I take the time to be aware of it, I am cognizant of an exchange of energy at a very elemental level. My energy merges with theirs to create some new energy. To me this is a great illustration of One; One Mind, One Force, One Spirit, and when we hug that energy swirls and moves around and changes form and creates some good stuff.
Giving a hug to someone can help them to feel better, can heal them, can comfort them. For both the giver and the reciever.
So, give some hugs today, but be sure you have permission to do so and don’t take them hostage. Ask first if it’s ok to hug, and don’t hold on too tightly unless the other person wants to do as well, and then bask in the warm glow for a while.