In the Moment.

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When I was a small child, I loved helping people. It felt good to be there and do things for others out of sheer generosity.  Over time, although that was still part of the motivation, I also understood that I saw myself as able to help people, but sometimes, I would view them incapable of helping themselves.  When I saw that, I realized that what I really want, is to connect with other people, in a deep, meaningful way.

 

The first time that I offered hugs on the street, that was not my intention, not fully, anyway.  What it feels like now, is that I want hugging another person to be a reverence, a presence, a deep knowing and seeing of another soul.  Feeling your oneness deeply and firmly.

 

In thinking about that this morning, I realized that what I know to be deep, present hugging, is to be in the moment with that person.  Right there, with no past to reflect on and no future to anticipate.  Focusing only on the here and now.  

 

What is great about being truly present and in the moment, is that when we give no power to past or to future, then we surrender.  We surrender our stories of what did happen, or what might happen.  We breathe deeply, and sigh that air out.  We settle in and feel the details of what is there.  We feel a deep sense of peace.

 

When I am present, I see myself as innocent; as beautiful; as not needing to be or do anything else than at that moment.  And, when I release my stories and see myself in this way, I can always more easily see others in this way, too.

 

So judgments pass, stories seem unimportant, and I don’t feel so alone in the world.  I offer something to another person, I see them as who they are.  And, I see myself as well.  I see our Oneness, our joining.  

 

I see the Light that we all are.  

 

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Hugs as Connection.

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“When we hug, our hearts connect; and we know that we are not separate beings.” 

 

I spent this past weekend with members of my immediate and extended family, sharing memories and laughs and enjoying our time together.  We are also pretty physically affection, so there are plenty of hugs when I see my family.  It feels familiar, safe and so loving.  I have a deep appreciation for having had that as my experience in my lifetime.

 

And, even though not everyone has had that experience in their lives, I believe that ALL of us crave it.  When I considered the idea of that, me writing what I believe every human being desires, I felt arrogant about that.  Yet, I know what I believe about human beings and I consider what I believe to be the real truth.  

 

I believe that we have all learned in our lives to play it safe, to keep ourselves alive at all costs.  To some of us, that means being afraid of change or disruption to our norm. For others, it means never taking a chance to step out of our comfort zone, or not taking the chance of getting hurt by never opening up to others at all.  All of these ideas come from a place of fear, which is ingrained in every one of us.  We become afraid to really connect with others and get to know them, or more frightening, letting them get to know us.  We are so scared of being rejected, or not enough, that many times, we would sooner stay in our own shell than really connect with someone.

 

When I first began my hugging experience last year, it was about connection, but it wasn’t.  It was a type of social experiment, to see if people would trust me and show that by hugging me.  I presumed that I knew what would happen.  And, some of what I presumed did happen; in other ways, I was profoundly surprised.

 

All of us want, need and desire physical connection.  We may deny that to ourselves, we may pretend to others that it isn’t important to us, but we ALL want it.  To me, hugs are one of the most deep and meaningful ways to physically connect with another person, any person.  When I wrap my arms around another human being, and feel that physical closeness, I understand that we are connecting on a heart level, a spirit level.  I not only feel connected to that person, but I feel our Oneness, the real truth of the matter. Not how we are different, but how it is true that we are not the same, but One.  We resist that, but hugging helps to remind us of that very truth.  

 

Hugs are beautiful medicine.

 

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I Want You! Join the Hugging Army.

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When I did my first hugging encounter one year ago, I had no idea how powerfully it would impact my life.  Since last June, I have spent several evenings in areas of the city, offering hugs to persons that I meet on the street.  I have offered hugs to clients that I come into contact with.  I even offered a hug to a woman that I encountered pumping gas, who was talking with me briefly about her struggles.  

 

As I plan to keep going forward, with an event at our Scranton Fringe Fest this year, I get excited with the prospect of what comes next.  Hugs feel essential to human beings. Even persons that I encounter that say they don’t like hugs, I believe that they need them as much as others.  I believe hugs create healing for others.  I believe that hugs are meditative in their nature.  I believe that by opening myself up to hugging persons that are strangers to me, I grow closer to my understanding of what it is to be part of the universal order of things.  

 

In the beginning, I thought that I had to offer something to others to bring them some semblance of peace.  But I soon realized that I received as much from them, as I felt that I was offering.  Then, I realized that I not only received something in return, but holding persons close to me assisted me in letting go of my judgments of others.  It helped me to see and feel our shared humanity.  To remember that there really is not differences between us.

 

The Hugging Army is a revolution.  It is the belief that hugs are not only for me to offer to others, but to remind the world how much we all need them, and how we all have something to offer to one another.  From September 29 to October 2, I will gather my Army and send them out into the world.  To share the humanity that they feel within themselves with others.  To connect in a way that is deeper than they may realize that they can go.  

 

I don’t have to save the world.  And there is no denying that I am a body, an identity.  I am also more than that.  I am Universal.  I am Light.  I am one with all. 

R- REALIZE!

Okay, so it is pretty powerful to allow ourselves to dream, and then, to actually write down or keep track in some way of those dreams that are most important to us.  However, that is simply not enough.  We also need to make sure that we go forward and REALIZE our dreams; taking steps to turn those dreams into our reality.

 

How do we do that?  Believe me, it CAN be done, so if you are reading this and thinking that your dreams will never come true, you are so wrong.  True, we need to believe in them as an important step, however, even defeat and adversity early on does not prevent our dreams from happening.

 

WE, as in you, me, each person reading this, WE are the makers and breakers of dreams.  We hold the power to create them, AND to destroy them.  We are the planters AND the sowers AND the croppers; it is up to us to think of our dream, to plant the seeds to bring that dream to fruition, and then, to nurture and take care of that dream so it can grow up to be a big, strong, REALITY.

 

Realizing our dreams doesn’t always mean that we have to take giant steps toward them at every turn.  The importance to me in going toward our dreams and their realization, is to do it with full intention, and to make our steps precise.  So, if one of my dreams is to have a healthy body, yet I continue to smoke cigarettes, that is in no way a precise step toward my dreams.  It actually will take me much further away from my dream of a healthy body.  So, a precise step can mean quitting, right now in this moment for good, or letting go of a cigarette at a time.  Each step, large or small, is precise, and calls upon us to sacrifice what might feel good in the moment, yet goes against what we say we want the most.

 

Don’t get me wrong; realizing our dreams is not for the faint-hearted.  It takes GUTS.  No matter what dream we are talking about in our lives, it takes large amounts of bravery to say YES! to that dream, and then, to take the precise steps toward that dream.  It doesn’t mean that we might not be scared to pieces as we walk through the struggles, however, we are braver than we think (Christopher Robin!).

 

Realizing our dreams is within reach, albeit a stretch at times.  Don’t just dream those dreams, but take one precise step toward them this very day, and see what magic comes of it! 

 

B- BELIEVE!

Believe in the possible, AND the perceived impossible!

 

I would hold it to be true that the majority of persons find it necessary to have something to believe in; whether it be God; a human; karma; or destiny.  For many of us, in order to keep working toward that which draws us in, we need a belief system in place that allows us to keep moving in some direction, whether at any given time that direction is backward or forward.

 

The belief system that I see as most critical however, the one that we need to EMBRACE! the most, is the belief in self.

 

Without that, belief in self without shame or withholding, the rest is temporary, the rest dissolves before our eyes.

 

I believe in a Higher Power, for sure.  An entity that is greater than my self and one which kind of watches over me.  I take comfort in that thought as well, many times in my life.  I might even call that faith, one type of faith at least.

 

However, in spite of that belief in something greater than me, I STILL have to believe in my self for the good stuff to happen.  Faith alone will not bring my awesomeness. 

 

Most recently, I am learning new and profound ways to connect with myself.  Turning off the television, and reading and writing more.  Being present in each of my moments more, and focusing on the “what ifs” less.  Talking, AND listening, to those around me in a more active manner.  Listening deeply to the workings of my soul, and realizing that there is where the true answers lie.

 

I think, in a way, belief in self is of a spiritual nature, much in the way that belief in a Higher Power is, except, we are connecting with our own spirit FIRST, not looking outside of ourselves to then connect us back to our selves.  WE have the power, and WE feel that sense, that sense of those aspects which connect us to one another.

 

We believe that we can grow, change, evolve, live fully, love passionately, and dream big, and then, before we know it, those things DO happen in our lives.

 

The deeper that I believe in myself, by keeping promises I make to myself, the more often that I keep those promises, and then, the deeper my belief in my self grows.

 

And on, and on, and on………..to infinity.

 

See how strong belief in self is?  Try it on.

 

BELIEVE! 

 

M- Maximize!!!!

The M is Maximize!!!!

 

Whatever it is that you have available to yourself in terms of talents, gifts, strengths, abilities:  maximize that potential.

 

So if you have an opportunity, jump on it.  Don’t wait for it to work its way to your corner of the world, go chase it.  Better yet, if you don’t see one, MAKE one.  SEEK one out.  Don’t wait for your life to find you, because lives get lost sometimes.  Go find IT.

 

We all benefit from ongoing growth and development, whether we are a tomato plant or a human.  The better the soil, the light, and the care of the weeds, the better that we can grow, and the more awesome fruit that we can bear.  Keep growing, keep feeding yourself, MAXIMIZE your efforts by keeping yourself healthy and whole.

 

What better way to keep up with ongoing growth and development than by knowing yourself a bit better?  Instead of wondering why it is that it bothers you so much to take the dog out at night, or why you get annoyed waiting in a bank line, really ponder on it, set it in your mind and actions to figure it out.  Any part of our lives that is unknown to us when it is about ourselves, keeps us from our full potential.  When we know why we are affected by circumstances, people and things, we can change our actions and get on with the full focus on truly living.

 

Now, I know that many of us have gotten into a groove of playing it safe.  In this current day and time of lack of homes for many, and lack of employment and health care for more, it can seem like we should not take any risks.  And, for some of us, financial or employment risks might not be the way to go.  However, we can all stand to take some emotional risks; telling the person in your life just how much you love them; taking a class; going out with friends you haven’t seen in a long time; wearing a different color or buying yourself a new lipstick.  Take a chance, take a risk.  See the happy results.

 

You know, I go through much of my day feeling a bit scared of what is to come.  I used to think that the reason for that is that I didn’t believe in myself enough.  What I think it might be, more than anything, is that I scare myself with how awesome I know I can be, and the path to it is somewhat unknown.  However, the more that I maximize my efforts, and go for it with gusto, the more real those dreams will be in my life.

 

MAXIMIZE, friends!!!!!

E- Energize!

 

 

 

Energy is key to making any dream a reality.  Whether we are talking physical, emotional, or spiritual energy, energy is what drives the machine.  It is how we make real that which we imagine in our minds.  It is how we walk the paths on our many journeys of life.

 

So, in order to EMBRACE! your life, start with energizing yourself.  Physically?  Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning, and take a brisk walk around the block.  Do a short sequence of yoga.  STRETCH.  BREATHE.  It is amazing what full breath and moving bodies will do for our energy levels.

 

Have a healthy breakfast.  Give your body the fuel that it needs to get on with the dream making.  Whatever your fancy, be cognizant of introducing some healthy choices into your breakfast routine, and DON’T SKIP!  It is the most important meal of the day, and helps to fuel your brain for the hard, creative work it has to do.

 

Emotionally, spiritually, psychicly……yep, we need to be energized in these areas as well.  Whether you make some time for meditation if that is your thing, writing, reading, reflecting, praying.  Or, simply admiring a beautiful sunrise from your kitchen window, fuel yourself with that stuff in your world that feels good, gives your life purpose, and helps you actually see the way to your dreams.  This aspect is as important as fueling yourself with a healthy breakfast.

 

If your dreams mean that you will also have deeper, closer relationships with those that you love, know that you are much more likely to achieve those closer relationships if you are energized.  And, even when we are tired, or overwhelmed, giving ourselves an energy boost helps us to maintain, and then to continue, to be energized each and every day.

 

So, step one, ENERGIZE!  Get to it!!!!