A Valentine Hug

February 13, 2007 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

 A few years ago I met Barbara. She is a very vivacious outgoing lady and she brightens the surrounding area she is in. After chatting for awhile we prepared to go our separate ways. Unexpectedly she reached out and hugged me! “Very nice” I thought …. “but why isn’t she letting go?” Barbara is about the same height as me so we fit together good and it was enjoyable but the duration was something new. Of course I did the normal “man thing” and patronizingly patted her on the back. Luckily her husband Michael was satisfied with a firm handshake when his turn came.

The next time I met her we hugged again. Another round of back patting for me. She sensed my awkwardness and told me she would teach me about hugging. She had decided the world needed more personal contact and hugging was a great way to accomplish that. That seemed true to me so I listened as she explained.

To properly hug (according to the Japanese) both people raise matching arms high (e.g. left) and lowers the other. The high arm goes over your partners back while the low one curls around them and you align yourselves so your hearts line up (this prevents bosoms and bellies from getting in the way). I tend to hold my breath in a hug but I was told to breathe in deeply, exhale and hug for as long as it takes to feel the other person’s Spirit. I was somewhat dubious but tried it and it worked! I felt peaceful and loved. Every time I met Barbara we hugged and I looked forward to it. Michael still shook hands but one day it was decided that same sex hugging should be OK too. Well, easy for women. They have been hugging each other forever but for a guy hugging a guy it seemed weird for me. I have hugged a few non family guys and have to admit that it was uncomfortable (for both of us I think). I have to get over that….. hey, any guys need a hug? Even my wife Lorinda, who is not the huggy type, has learned to hug and says it works for her.

This brings me to a television news story that aired back around the beginning of school. A group of college or university students (all or mostly girls as I remember) were standing on a busy street in Toronto with signs offering free hugs. It seemed like an orientation stunt but was apparently a meme. Memes are ideas or beliefs that spread through a culture and in this age of the internet there are internet memes where the idea can spread worldwide like wild fire. Whether this was intended to be serious or not, this idea spread and on Jan 16, 2007 the Toronto Star reported that due to this internet meme craze, two girls with a sign were offering free hugs in Toronto. In Canada people were also hugging in Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, North Bay and Toronto. The Star also reports that similar actions were taking place from Spain to South Korea! Maybe there is power in a hug. Certainly the doctors at Humber River Regional Hospital think so. They have a Hug & Hold program where parents and children are encouraged to hug to prepare themselves before and after surgery.

I think my friend Barbara is on to something. Have some fun and give it a try with family, friends or even strangers! It does promote a sense of well being. Remember the recipe – breathe deep/one arm up/one arm down/breathe out/ hug with hearts lined up and hold about 30seconds min. Yield: feeling of peace and love. A great way to share the Spirit.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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