The Scranton Fringe Festival is only 39 days away. So much is happening there this year. And, when I decided to keep my hugging project going forward, the Fringe Festival seemed like the perfect venue to get some momentum.
What is the Fringe Festival? Well, long story short, it all started back in the mid 1940’s, when there was a desire to reunite Europe after World War II, by bringing in some arts and culture, some of the best of the best. A huge festival was planned, but there were some creative artists who weren’t on “the list”, so they decided to go anyway, and set up on the street and in alleyways, to share their creativity with the world. In the second year that the festival was held, a news writer commented about the performers on the “fringe” of the festival, and it stuck. Now, Fringe Festivals are held all over the world, all year around, with the main festival being in Edinburgh, Scotland every day.
This is the second year that Fringe Festival has been held in Scranton. Other major venues in the United States include Philadelphia, Asheville, NC, Hollywood, CA, and Rochester, NY. I am so excited that this event is happening here, and it is an opportunity for artists and creative persons to show their wares, and to offer the community a large variety of entertainment, drama, comedy and spoken word that creates impact and is far reaching.
So Fringe made perfect sense to me. At first, when I considered applying for a slot, I was so self conscious; will they think that my stuff is weird? Will they think hugging people isn’t really a creative endeavor? Will it be compared to artists that have been putting their energies out there for years?
The truth is, I realized that none of that matters. What matters is that this project has become a personal mission for me. I understand deeply why it is important to tell people about it, and to get them talking about it. We don’t connect deeply as human beings as often anymore. We want to connect with others, yet we shy away from it. We believe that we have to fully trust someone in order to let them be close to us, or for us to be close to them. We put up walls, and often don’t even know why.
I believe that the real story, is that we want to connect, we want to be close to others. I believe that we all know, at our core, that we all are from the same energy, the same light. Yet, all we see when we look at one another is the form, the ego. It keeps us at a distance, because we have created rules about what is, and is not, okay. So we shut some people out, and let some people in. Everyone’s rules are different, yet it just keeps us all at a distance.
If we want to the world to change, we don’t have to focus on changing the world; we have to change our own perspective. We have to be willing to take a risk, to go across the abyss and reach arms out to others. We have to be willing to realize that maybe we have it all wrong; maybe the person that we have a judgment against, is just another soul, looking for their way, just like ourselves. We have to be willing to leap into the unknown so that we can deeply, truly connect. Hugging does that like little else, in my mind.
It brings me pure joy to offer my hugs to the world. I do it as often as possible. I want to keep doing it. I want to keep offering it. And I want others to do the same. So, Fringe is the PERFECT place for the Hugging Army to keep growing.
If you are in Scranton area on October 1 or 2, at 2:30 PM, please stop by and see for yourself. I will be at the Hilton Hotel and Conference center, giving hugs, receiving hugs, and spreading the message that it is time to really do this. REALLY connect.