Free Hugs

I came across a picture today.  It was a drawing made by a someone I don’t know. I saw it online, I think it was in my Facebook inbox.  The artist’s name is written in the side. It is basic but genuine and to me conveys the most achingly beautiful sentiment.

and it sparked something…

I will sometimes get an idea for a post, but I won’t know actually how it will turn out.  It starts with a message I want to convey, whether it be simple or complex. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months even. it just rolls around in that crazy head of mine waiting for something… a spark?  Something to give it life. Incidences will happen; little things, really of no significance but then one day–wham! It all fits together. This picture was a catalyst.

Love will show us the way by Art the System on Facebook

We share a collective consciousness. The good, the bad, the everything contained therein.

The best and worst of us is inside us all. We share so much. One important need is to give and receive love. We are an empathetic species that thrives on mutual understanding and cooperation. We need togetherness.

Newborn babies can die if denied love, it is ingrained in us, the need to reach out and be held. It is a basic and human need we first receive usually from our mothers and fathers. And it this need to touch to be touched lasts through our lifetimes. It is beyond sexual desire which in itself is powerful. It is grounding, it is humbling and uplifting.

The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety.  Hugging relaxes muscles; releasing tension in the body. They can take away pain and soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.  Hugs balance out the nervous system and boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

~ Virginia Satir

FREE_HUGS';_Tokyo

Hugs are wonderful. They are warm and innocent expressions of affection.  To me hugs are magical events.

free_hugs_2_by_dastalisa-d3adynw

They are hopeful. They are happy. They spread happiness.

'FREE_HUGS',_Notre_Dame_de_Paris

We have a human need to be wanted and valued and accepted. A hug is a demonstration of that.

There is much to be said about the power of a hug. I have noticed a trend as of these last few years of people with signs giving out free ones. It is a novel thing. it creates a bit of a spectacle and maybe it isn’t all that serious but it does make people happy. and it sends out a terrific message.

I have noticed with the passage of time that hugs are becoming more freely given and socially acceptable. When I was a child one rarely would see two men hug, these days it is commonplace. This is a wonderful thing.

It is such a wonderful thing and so is a kind word, a pat on the back and a smile.

Sometimes we don’t know the burden another may be carrying and cannot fathom how one simple act of encouragement from someone; a stranger even and what sort of positive impact that it can have.

If we all made a point of doing this;  reaching out to others even sometimes going  the extra mile to tell another person you care; whether it’s just an ear to listen.  Sometimes all people need is a release; someone to talk to and a little sympathy.  Sometimes it is a stranger, a person you will never encounter again, this does not lessen the quality of the interaction. Every positive interaction we have with another person makes them feel good and makes us feel good. it’s all good!

And just like rabbits these positive interactions spread and before you know it the room is of full of rabbits.

Try it you’ll like it. Hug someone today.

Strawberryindigo.

.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 
― Albert Einstein

English: 'FREE HUGS' in a marketplace, Chile
English: ‘FREE HUGS’ in a marketplace, Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

References and Related Articles

Why we need at least 8 hugs a day (mindbodygreen.com)

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5756/10-Reasons-Why-We-Need-at-Least-8-Hugs-a-Day.html

5 Ways to Hug  (wikihow.com)

 Miracle/soulmate (helioshub.wordpress.com)

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Today the world is colder…Senselessness at Sandy Hook Elementary

I am stunned and saddened by what has happened in Connecticut today and I am compelled to write this. I suppose that is only human nature; to reach out after such a tragic event. My fingers are flying across the keyboard as I quickly compose this.

First of all, my  heart goes out to all the families and to everyone involved…really…my heart goes out to everyone because we are all involved.

I yearn to offer words of comfort, of solace. I want to say that everything will be alright. .

I want to ask ‘Why?!”   I want to scream and rage and cry my eyes out! I want to make sense of all this senselessness, but it is all much too shocking and much too fresh…

All I can say at this point is this must stop!

I am frightened at what this world is becoming.  I’ve been making light of this end of days business; this crazy notion that the Mayan’s have predicted the world ending on December 21st of this year.  I still don’t believe in that insane notion but nevertheless, I am keeping myself and my family at home on that day, not because I believe the world will end but because I doubt the sanity of my fellow humans and I don’t trust in them. I guess I should say “us” because it is “us”  and this angers me.

Is this what we humans are about?!  We think the world will end so we go crazy…this mania is contagious and if I have helped spread it by my making fun of it, I regret this… and again I say, this time I am screaming; THIS MUST STOP!!!!

Why oh why do we humans need to turn on each other in times of crisis?

This is a rhetorical question I expect no answer…and I really don’t know why I am writing this…I can offer you nothing really, no insight or answers, no comfort but to offer a discourse and a suggestion…a sugggestion that will probably be repeated time and time again over the coming days.

Be there for your loved ones, hug them a little tighter tonight.  Be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk off, or a heart to reach out with love.  Be there; because we need each other–especially right now.

I have tried in the past to keep this blog light…I want to be a port in the storm on a sea of darkness but today is just too dark for that but I will make a promise to you, my friends. On THAT day–you know the one..the day I’ll be staying home, I will be publishing a frivolous distraction and I will do my best to make you smile, perhaps to give you a laugh or two but today the wound is still too fresh but on that day I promise this…

…for now I want to say…. I need to say…I’m sorry…

Take care and remember LOVE is contagious too.

Nancy (aka Strawberryindigo.)

candle-in-the-darkness

The future of humans

I worry about our future.  I wonder if our machines will become more natural to us than our own humanness. I see it time and time again and more and more all the time.  People ignoring one another in public. Turning the other way. Looking right past a person, almost denying someone’s existence.

I see people on their phones. Talking away to some distant person, ignoring the one in front of them. Be it the checker who’s bagging your groceries, the person at the counter of the post office, your dinner companions.

I see these space cadets walking down the street, in the street, eyes cast down on their little box of insanity. Ignoring the real world of real people, real streets with real cars on them. Engrossed in some distraction on the screen, some vitally important game or text that cannot wait. People endlessly texting or tapping or something or another. Thumbs flipping away, eyes glazed over, mind placid and unchallenged.

star trek borg race Star Trek Exhibit at Queen...
star trek borg race Star Trek Exhibit at Queen Mary Spruce Goose Dome, Long Beach Ca, Feb 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are an instant generation. Our ancestors were forced to have patience. Life generally works that way. But we humans have perverted the system. What used to take time and hard work, now takes an instant.  The minute itself stretches and contracts depending on the situation. We are a race that can spend hours upon hours, slack-jawed staring at a screen and still have a hard time waiting 60 seconds for a convenience store burrito.

A sprawling clearcut of old-growth forest stre...
A sprawling clearcut of old-growth forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How much have we lost already?   We of the quick and convenient.  That human knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Homespun talents. Hardscrabble necessities.  How to grow your own food, how to darn a sock, make a quilt, pluck a chicken.

And knowledge of a more ancient wisdom: The healing power of plants, the power of belief and living at one with the earth instead of against it; as if it were some sort of adversary. The power to walk in the woods without making a sound or leaving a trace.The wild arts. How to make a fire, how to live off the land.

I know its easy for me to say; to judge. Do I have any of these practical talents? Not really. Beyond my urbanized knowledge of plants and animals through books and gardening in my backyard, I am pretty much useless in the real woods. If I were stranded alone in the true wilderness, the odds would be against me.

A young boy living on an East Cipinang garbage...
A young boy living on an East Cipinang garbage dump, Jakarta Indonesia. Picture taken by Jonathan McIntosh, 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our human civilization, our very existence is dependant on  “progress”. Always upward and onward. Always a new hill or people to conquer. A mountain to climb, a resource to be exploited. We have colonised, revolutionised and lost our sights and priorities, maybe even our collective minds as we rape and pillage and steal from the future generations, who will have no choice but to try to live in the mess we’ll leave behind.

We have lost our way. We are losing our humanity. We are losing our collective soul, we are losing ourselves.  And it is ourselves who we need to conquer not nature.

This reckless attitude we humans have taken toward nature. This need to be dominant over nature, this very human need to conquer no longer serves us as it once had. Nature is fighting back.  All the lies and ad campaigns can no longer hide this from us.  We are “progressing” ourselves right down the road to extinction. Is this our future? Many believe it is.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems the one’s in charge on this planet are in race to use up what is left and get it all before everyone else can.  Our beautiful Planet Earth has become a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder.  But our planet, our mother, belongs to us all.

We are being sold out and generations upon generations will hate us for it. They will ask why.  Why did we just sit back and let this all happen? What will our answer be?

  Strawberryindigo.

“America was once a paradise of timberland and stream but it is dying because of the greed and money lust of a thousand little kings who slashed the timber all to hell and would not be controlled and changed the climate and stole the rainfall from posterity.”       **Don Marquis (1935)**

The Smile Factor

Cat smiling at sanctuary
Image by rikkis_refuge via Flickr

Smile

According to my ancient Websters dictionary; A smile is defined as a change of facial expression involving the eyes and an upward curving of the corners of the mouth that may express amusement, pleasure, affection or irony.

That sounds a tad bit antiseptic. It doesn’t define the human element of a smile and the power that a smile has.

I believe that smiles are magical and slam dunk contagious.  A warm smile has the potential to melt the coldest of the cold.  If it is honest and heartfelt, one simple smile can mean so much to the receiver of such a gift.  A smile can convey sympathy and friendship.  It can say “I understand” or “you are not alone”.

Smiling Baby

The Smile Factor

Smiles unite us.  They break down language and cultural barriers. They are a basic part of our humanity. We are born with that smile factor; that need for a smile because acknowledge it or not, we all need them.

Warm smile
Image via Wikipedia

It can be easy to forget the power of a smile.  A sadness or anger can set in to a person that will cause them to never smile again.  Their face balling up into a permanent scowl.  This scowl may remove the possibility that anyone will ever smile at them again.  I think that sometimes people don’t realize the effect that we humans have on each other.

We are all connected and we affect each other more than we realize. One person’s bad day an easily become the next person’s.

Bad days are contagious too.

I have started to think about this of late. It seems some people save up their misdirected anger for someone “easier” who cannot retaliate.  “The customer is always right” is their motto above all else, even human dignity.  I have witnessed some rather awful behavior by some “right” customers.  Rarely do I witness the opposite.

Smile 2

Making a difference

I am but one person, but I believe that even one person can make a difference in the life of another.  So I am making it my habit to spread some good cheer around wherever I go. This is not always easy and I am not perfect, but I have found that putting aside my feelings a bit to sympathize with someone, pay a deserved complement or just a simple smile can have rewards in themselves that reach far beyond the here and now.

It’s easy and it spreads like wildfire.  Try it. Smile at a complete stranger if for no other reason that to just do it.  Watch the reaction you get.  A smile truly is a gift that keeps on giving.

Keep smiling

Strawberryindigo.

SMILE

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