FREE HUGS IN AUCKLAND & SOME TIPS:
Yesterday Nicole and I went for a bit of a ramble in Auckland.
We hugged hundreds of people outside Britomart and around the lower Queen St area, and I just wanted to share with you a story (or two) from the morning...
One man who did not speak English walked up to me and gestured that he wanted to know what we were doing. I demonstrated from my heart to his and a sign of peace. His eyes went wide and he stepped into my hug and remained there for a few moments. We hug with our hearts, real and strong. No patting on the back, no rigidity, a big beautiful hug. He drew back from me with big tears in his eyes and then overcome, he hugged me again. He bowed as he left.
I had to take a few moments to process the tears. Bless him, if he was the only person I hugged all day it would have been so worth it.
One guy was on the way to his first day of his new job.
Monday morning hugs are non toxic, alcohol free, no calorie, uplifting, heartwarming and I am quite sure they go a long way toward curing Mondayitis.
I recommend you find a friend you trust and who gives GOOD hugs and take him or her along for a couple of hours.
People will ask you why you are doing it. If it helps - this is what I say - I tell them that it's because we need touch and connection now more than ever in our world and because people are AWESOME.
Nicole and I also met some hilarious Hug Avoiders. I will save that story for another day.
There are a few things that are useful to know when doing Hugs in your community.
1. NEVER hug a child that is pushed towards you. Children's boundaries are SO important and we always honour them. Parents who are a little nervous sometimes push their kids forward. It's important not to curb their natural instinct to keep themselves safe. If it feels right, give them a high five instead. Now and then, a child will openly come and say "Yes I would like a hug." Those ones are just fine.
2. Banter is good - gentle, non invasive, lightheartedness. No bullying anyone into a hug, personal zones MUST be respected.
(3. This should be fairly obvious, but I've seen otherwise, so no touching below the waist.)
4. If you can hug in the open air with plenty of space around you and enough time for people to deal with their risk or resistance - the 'shall I or shan't I?' you are more likely to get a yes. Include everyone in your offering.
5. You'll get loads of No's. Deal with it gracefully and instantly. (If this is a problem go straight home. The streets are ok without you.) The No's are not about you. At no time make fun of anyone - this should also be obvious - but you are being a role model for people around you. Some people you are sure will decline you, will surprise you and say yes.
6. Some people will think you are nuts. You are. It's great.
7. Some people haven't been hugged for years. Once someone told me she had not been hugged for 10 years. That's why we need touch. Of course I hugged her twice.
8. Some of the people you will hug have been hanging by a thread. Your hug is their lifeline. Don't underestimate it. Love each person you hug, big golden, sunshiny love is good for all of us.
9. Hugging is not a business opportunity. Over time I've hugged thousands of people and have given out very few cards. Sometimes I take them with me if people want to friend me on Facebook or get more hug pictures. If you are really hugging - you are holding a moment of time, not having a conversation. It's not networking - it's HEARTWORKING.
10. Too many people giving out hugs can be quite scary - three is plenty - so split up or spread out.
11. Keep your arms out wide and SMILE. Pack away all handbags and extras so you are totally able to be present and play!!
12. Be prepared to have your heart melted.
International Peace Day is on September the 21st. Want to make the world a better place?
Grab a friend or get a group together and go DO HUGS FOR PEACE.
Past hugging days: There are more tips and a couple more stories here: http://www.debx.co.nz/blog/10-top-tips-for-free-huggers
Be the change you wish to see.
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