It all started with an idea to hug people. A thought about creating a day of love and connection leading up to 10th anniversary of 07/07 London bombings. Once my friend mentioned this, I was in. Hugging strangers? Spreading love in the world? Anytime, let’s do it!
Neither of us knew what we are doing, how or where we should start. I remember Ian and I standing outside of the tube station at Bank in the middle of the morning rush hour watching importantly looking business people passing us hurrying looking rather focused and unfriendly while two of us shaking like a leafs before giving our first free hug, scared of huge embarrassment and signs of rejection.
Then we said to each other, the bottom line is, we came here with the mission of giving away unconditional love. Let’s not make it about our selves, our fears and insecurities based on the insignificant past experiences. Let’s not stop and get moving.
We hugged each other laughing thinking we are absolutely crazy doing this. But what a wonderful craziness it is, I thought! Then it felt like Ian and I held imaginary hands and decided to ‘jump’ together. The fear was too great and to conquer it, it was the only way to go and I’m so glad we did that!
I learned when you hug, it is important to hug people with all your being, with your soul, like you mean all of it, straight from your heart. Hug with respect and acceptance. Hug like there is no difference between you, with the sense of great compassion and gratitude. The most I learned was actually from hugs that never happened. I remember several occasions when I opened my arms, smiled ready to give the best I have and the person pulled back.
I always then offered the handshake and in one occasion, someone even declined a handshake. It was a young man with the cool hat. For a moment his rejection hurt me. I started judging how very cold, unfriendly and horrible this guy was to refuse a handshake from a lady like I am. But I stopped myself there. Instead, I kept on hugging people with even more care and determination than before.
No isn’t a ‘no, I don’t like you’ or ‘no, you are weird’. No from people is just those two letters: NO. These two letters doesn’t mean anything about us or anything about how these guys are. No is just no for now, it is not a ‘no’ forever. Suddenly it hit me, wow! Imagine the life of this guy. At the age of 30, he doesn’t trust stranger enough to shake his hand with a kind looking young woman. Imagine living life with the perception of the ‘world is a dangerous place’. Or ‘I have to watch my back to stay safe’. Just think about it for a moment…
We will likely never find out, but I would like to believe that the smile of acceptance I left the man in the cool hat with is my hope of him now being a little closer to opening his heart getting ready not only to give, but also truly receive his first proper hug, to experience the nourishment of the beautiful connection, the warmth, the cosines, the safety, the love.
We must of experienced it this way as babies. The feeling of bliss which you never want to go away. Our bodies are built so we can hug each other, our souls are designed to give unconditionally and receive with gratitude. Those of us who used to pretend it’s not important need them the most. Our first hugging day ever, Ian and I hugged lots of people and I will never know what ripple effect each beautiful act of kindness has on people, their families, colleagues and all people they interact with on that day. I dare to say we may even saved lives.
One of those hugs coincidently saved mine just hours later. Ian and I, together with lots of our friends still hug in the packed streets of London, in the tubes and the train stations and every time, we have the time of our lives as amount of love we experience in just hour is the most beautiful way to start or finish any day. We all have a busy demanding lives, so we sometimes hug in the morning on our way to work.
One thing I can always guarantee, next hours of my day on the ‘hugging day’ are nothing short of miraculous and so I feel the need to mention if any of this resonates with you, we would love you to join us to share this beautiful space at least once and then please let us know how it went for you and share about your experience. We want to hear from you!