The decision people make, to enter into a hug with a stranger, is a decision to allow themselves to be held. Participation is made easier by the fact they will probably never see us again.
How do we hug? How often do we hug? We've nearly all been 'duty huggers' right?
Hands up if you haven't - but I bet there aren't too many hands up.
The top tip? Take a sign, or wear a Hugs for Peace or Free Hugs tee-shirt. It's just easier. Unless there is a really large crowd, 2 or 3 huggers are all you need.
1. Relax, breathe and don't do it if you're feeling grumpy because your hugs will suck.
2. You MUST let people have time to see you, weigh up the risk and decide that it works for them. You are helping them to walk through a comfort zone gap.
3. Honour comfort zones (don't walk along heckling them, that's not a Free Hug ) let them bring the zone to you.
You can quite often ‘sell' a hug to someone that is a little unsure with a great big smile, open arms and a "hey - it’s just non-alcoholic, calorie free goodness.” You can give a gentle second chance and say "are you sure?" to them if they smile and laugh when they say no.
4. A firm 'No', means no. Hugging anyone that doesn’t want a hug is counter productive and flips all your good energy over.
5. Hug the people who say YES. If they don't want a hug - they are not rejecting you - they are coming up against a wall of their own stuff. Your open heart may be the most threatening thing they have seen for days. But you might inspire them. And quite often people change their minds.
6. Some people will think you are nuts and go away growling. Let that roll off super fast - they are not your audience.
7. Some people will be a bit scared to hug you, but they will laugh and POW! the good vibes will have got them - just like that!
8. Be prepared for surprise huggers. Now and then people will jump into a hug. Some people will get out of their cars and run across the road to get to you for a hug. - Please DON'T go Hugging if you have a sore back.
9. A really healing hug lasts for moments longer than a 'see you later' hug - walls come down and people realise that there really are other people out there who care. It can be a deeply profound experience - wrapped in one magical moment of connection.
10. No Free Hug hug includes touching below the belly or on the butt! The only way is up Baby. Creepy - is creepy.
Smile from the tips of your toes to the top of your field. Arms out, fill your heart with love and greet that person with a full illumination of your energy field, seeing the light in them, regardless of whether they might believe it's present or not. You see them - as the beautiful soul they are.
That illumination brings deep clearing on so many levels. Let them go and bless them. Have fun.
You'll meet all sorts. I've hugged thousands of people and I can tell you, there are plenty of different huggers out there.
The rigid 'three pats on the back' hugger will probably pass you by - but the open arms 'come to Mama' hugger will say yes.
The 'surreptitious pelvis presser' hugger may have a go - yes it's yucky - no it doesn't happen often.
There is the 'I'll hug if you hug, but don't get carried away' hugger, those ones are generally doing it for points because their friends did.
The 'duty' hugger makes me a bit squeamish - Mothers often direct their kids to hug when the kids are not comfortable, we ALWAYS say to people who do this "no way - we respect boundaries and honour feelings - if you don't want to hug, don't hug."
The icing on your cake is the 'I love the world and everyone in it' hugger. (These ones are AWESOME.)
Your marriage proposals will come from the 'I haven't hugged a woman for years, would you come home and cook my dinner?' hugger. (These may also come with a quick pat near/on the bottom, but as they are mostly elderly men - I have not yet bopped one on the nose.)
Travellers are amazing, and so open to hugs, and there are a huge amount of people who just need a hug because nobody gives to them without expecting something. Ever. (These ones are often Mums.)
A Free Hug is just that - Free. If someone opens their arms to you and allows you to hug them, treat them as if they are offering you a most precious gift, because they are. An open heart is pure treasure.
It's not a PR exercise. You are giving - if you're really doing this properly, the Spirit of Free Hugs will stop you from speaking about your work unless you are directly asked by another person. Then it’s fine to talk about it and if they are genuinely resonant with it, let it grow organically into connection. Though I've hugged thousands of people, I've probably handed out only 6 or so business cards. This is not because I'm 'doing it wrong.'
Massive bonus: Many people will answer your free hug with a real hug of their own and give equally.
Most humbling and also very thought provoking: Some people will tell you they have not been hugged for years.
In this digital age we are embracing cyber space and losing touch with each other. We are more connected, and somehow, some of us are more alone then we have ever been. We just need to open our arms more.
In time I have hugged thousands of people. When I first started, I had to get a permit from the local council to do it.
I find it funny that I am, technically speaking - a licensed Free Hugger.
There have been so many highlights, but possibly the most poignant, were the elderly lady who initially said no, then said yes and had a really big hug, then told me she had not been hugged for ten years since her husband died… you read right - that's 10 years. How does that happen?
And the 12 or 13 year old boy who could not believe anyone would want to hug him (his Mum didn't want to - she didn't want him), he had a couple of hugs, then swapped shirts with his friends in an effort to go 'undercover' so he could come back and get more. We told him he could have as many as he liked.
Hugs can help throw people a lifeline when they've been hanging by a thread.
I hope you are inspired to share more, even if they are just at home.
And it's Mothers Day this weekend here in New Zealand - so you know where to start, don't you?
My recent newsletter featured an article about indigo, and in the course of my writing, I discovered anthocyanin.
After a conversation this morning gave me even more insight, I am super lucky to be awaiting the arrival of a bottle of Black Raspberry Vinaigrette from Te Kuiti (NZ based) company Peplars Fine Foods.
Tony and Belinda are committed to creating beautiful foods with love and they have a wide range of jams, jellies, chutney mustards, vinaigrettes…
They have developed a range with stevia in it for those with a preference to avoiding sugars.
Here is their link: Black Raspberry Vinaigrette
I am told by Belinda that Black Raspberries *note these are not BLACKberries - are even higher in Anthocyanin than blueberries.
The Black Raspberries are grown in NZ, but they are juiced rather than sold in shops because they have a great deal of seeds in them - they are rich in ellagic acid, anthocyanins and antioxidants, and have been called the ‘king of berries’ for their superior health benefits.
Ohio State University scientists found significant decreases in colon tumours in rats and oesophageal tumours in mice when fed on a diet which included black raspberries.
They are now trialling this on humans. I look forward to hearing more.
I'm convinced that there is 'food for thought' here, after my research into the way that indigo helps the brain. Here is my article on indigo.
No pushing, no extreme stuff, be mindful of your capacity and you will feel different.
Connect with the ground and feel it strong and firm under your feet. Build up to 36 if you want to - don't rush there.
Try three cycles first, then nine and go from there. If you start then, like I often do - get distracted - write the numbers 1 - 36 somewhere and focus on each number as you go.
Count on your fingers if all else fails, and if you have 36 of them, I'd love to know.
The idea is that we are gently moving stale energy (and releasing that which no longer serves us) out of the body and bringing in the new and fresh. Any clearing you do helps you and all the people around you and regular practice helps you strengthen and brings benefits to your body.
The new fresh air we breathe in has the stronger life force energy in it - especially if we are outside. Inside the house, the energy has slowed and is recycling around, this is why it's important to open windows and doors.
More lively energy brings you better life force.
Breathwork is used all over the world to balance mind and body, and has been known to help focus and also with pain relief. (Think birthing for example.)
You are breathing out the ideas and thoughts you have, and bringing in the energy of universal consciousness. This energy is stronger and clearer near water and is also contained in water, this is why we get great ideas in the shower or the bath, why the air is fresher at the sea and near lakes and waterfalls, and why we have more of a flow when we are hydrated.
We are what we think, and also what we drink! Fresh is best.
Have a try with the breath exercise and let me know how you get on.
Edelweiss, the song featured in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, was a gift today in a session I did with a client.
It arrived, popping into my head, as most do, (have I told you about the Heavenly DJ?) in an extremely relevant moment.
It turned out to be a spiritual healer that was most appropriate and most welcome in the space.
Not only did my client know the song, AND sang it to me, but he also bought an Edelweiss flower when he was travelling, many years ago in Europe.
The spiritual significance of Edelweiss is so encouraging.
It stands for daring courage and noble purity. A hardy plant that blooms in difficult conditions, covered in a layer of fluff, protecting itself against the tough conditions. Used as a symbol of bravery and an award.
To climb and return with Edelweiss was considered a great achievement.
It's been protected in the wild, but is now grown all over colder places in the world, and for skincare ranges and medicinal preparations - Edelweiss is described as a miracle flower - good for vascular health with anti ageing properties and useful in cases of dysentary, diphtheria and tuberculosis.
As I look into the message Edelweiss brings, it says "Tadahh! I made it!" to me. I see its journey through a tough space and how it presents itself, outstretched, and opened really wide.
That star shape is magical. Can you see? If you close your eyes and ask - can you feel the energy of it?
The vibration of flowers can move us deeply into a place of wellness.
It may have traditionally been hard to find, but its generous openness, the exhilarating trip it led you on, and the beautiful energy it shares, is worth the hike.
What a gift.
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I am inspired to share ways to make life kinder, easier, cleaner, smarter and more fulfilling. It's about time we recognised all the animals that we are seeing washed up on beaches, or trapped in cages have voices, and the reason why we are seeing them, is because they are asking us to help.
People need to pull together, they need support, ideas and inspiration for making the world a better place to live.
Our planet needs us - humanity needs us.
Please share on the page - I will just ask that your contribution comes with good advice, positive ideas and that you are enlightening, creating, inspiring and rewarding real solutions - sharing in a spirit of global community and enrichment.
Let's do it together.
A global voice for miracles
I heard people discussing a documentary a while ago - it was about where our plastic recycling ends up. A large portion of the plastic recycling we do, ends up in China, and in the factories that purchase the waste - the only way to truly separate the plastic into its correct chemical group - is to heat it and…. SMELL it.
So while we recycle, (please read that as passing off our waste to another country), we are also poisoning someone. Many people.
This article inspired my post: Grey whale dies bringing us a message
This is from the NZ Herald - Sea Turtle harmed
This is from the Daily Mail in the UK - Banish the bags
How does plastic end up in our ocean? - Project Green Bag tells you here
I juggle this. We should recycle? What does recycle mean? Are we poisoning people as well as animals? Yes we are.
Do I still buy plastic? Yes I do. Why?
Because I have not started putting pressure on suppliers to change their packaging. When should I do this? Now.
That whale is on the beach because of me and you and the people like us who think lovely fluffy thoughts about recycling - a practice which is partly recycling and partly bullshit. The thing is - people who deliver that to China - they know this. And yet they do it.
We are creating a demand. Let us create anew.
Bring back paper grocery bags and glass bottles. Recycle paper in our own country and let children and people who need spare change recycle the glass bottles. Tidy country, tidy sea, good economics…?
I once stopped my car when a passenger in it threw his empty can out the window and I told him to pick it up. He said "no" and everyone cringed as I got out of the car, got the can and threw back in the window at him. He still didn't get it, but Iwent all around Europe looking at great beauty and the litter that was in it, and was proud of the green country I had back home. This is 'my country' for sure, just my home really, but we are not 'unjoined' to other countries by the sea, any more than we are 'unjoined' to other people by the air.
(Have you taken a look at the energy that flies around in the air?)
If you have an interest in doing something that may make a difference, but you are not sure what - perhaps it could be this:
Perhaps we could all pledge together to inspect the food cupboard or pantry (or the recycling bin) tonight or tomorrow and send the article below via email, or print it (and post) to the companies we are supporting.
Could they consider changing their packaging for the good of us all?
It's our children who need this the most. And if you are my age, I'm sure you remember glass bottles, and glass factories here that recycled for those few cents. What better way for kids to address their own needs, than to collect a few bottles and save the country, save wildlife, create jobs, be entrepreneurs … what else would it do?
It is our country, our planet. We are joined and we are on this ride together.
I'm a little bit keen to make it happen.
How about it?
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Waiheke Island Bring Your Own Bags initiative is on Facebook
Plastic Free July Initiative in Australia Website and Facebook
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Energy expert, Deb is also a spiritual teacher, healer, writer and artist.