would you like a hug?

free-hugs-small.JPG“would you like a hug? it’s free hug day today!”

we must have said that at least 500 times today. and hugged at least 100 people.

seniors, children, big people, small people, shy people, exuberant people, vancouverites and vacationers, sweating people and people in their sweaters. we hugged ’em all.

yes, we joined the free hugs campaign and celebrated was free hug day today

the weather co-operated fully: another day of blue, bluer, bluest skies, a light breeze, and sun, sun, sun. september in vancouver is awesome.

so i guess we could say we were hugged by the weather.

we started off at the vancouver art gallery, where we were soon joined by a bunch more people with free hugs placards. oh, “we”, by the way, were my daughter, my grandson and i.

then we slowly wound our way towards english bay, via davie street. good choice. an “old hippie chick”, as i was once called by a ridiculously young dancer chick friend, i feel quite a bit more at home on the rainbow-flagged, slightly seedy, sometimes commercial, sometimes residential asphalt of davie street than on robson street, vancouver’s shopping highway (or, um, “boulevard”).

not everyone wanted our hugs, understandable. so we exchanged waves with quite a few people.

i’m really quite beat. apparently hugging people for an afternoon is quite exhausting. hopefully i’m still managing to make at least some sense in this blog post.

and i’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that i just held close to a hundred people in my arms.

one remark keeps coming back to me: one person said that they reserved hugs for people for whom they feel special affection.

i totally respect that.

still – what would it be like if we had special affection for everyone?

maybe too lofty a goal for now. in the meantime, wouldn’t it be nice if free hugs day on september 10 became as well known as 9/11? too lofty still? how about if everyone who read this post got up and hugged someone?

yeah, i think we can do that.

let me know how it goes.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

(this post appeared in the small actions to change the world carnival

8 thoughts on “would you like a hug?

  1. nancy (aka money coach)

    argh! I missed it! I’m not sure I would have been ‘hippy’ (to use your word) enough to hug strangers, but I would have watched from the sidelines and maybe dive in next year.

    How many people were there? And what did you do? Just kind of fan out all over vancouver and walk up to people and say “hi, do you want a free hug”? Was there much press?

  2. nancy (aka money coach)

    argh! I missed it! I’m not sure I would have been ‘hippy’ (to use your word) enough to hug strangers, but I would have watched from the sidelines and maybe dive in next year.

    How many people were there? And what did you do? Just kind of fan out all over vancouver and walk up to people and say “hi, do you want a free hug”? Was there much press?

  3. Terra

    special affection…to expand: some people fall in love easily and some say i love you easily. i’m in and out of love at the drop of a hat, it seems, but when in the thick of it, it’s deep. hugging is the same. it’s deep.

  4. Terra

    special affection…to expand: some people fall in love easily and some say i love you easily. i’m in and out of love at the drop of a hat, it seems, but when in the thick of it, it’s deep. hugging is the same. it’s deep.

  5. isabella mori

    terra, yes, and that is exactly what i’m thinking about right now.

    what IF we had deep affection for everyone? what IF we expressed that with something like hugs?

    in christianity there is an idea/ideal of “seeing christ in everyone.” that has always intrigued me. i think christ often stands for the ideal (and transcended) lover/sibling/partner or, simply, love object. (urgh, “love object”, that sounds ugly).

    sometimes i’m on the bus and i look at people and i try this on in my head: “YOU are christ, and YOU, and YOU.”

    to what degree does love need to be private?

    i know, this is all very academic. i assure you that working on my deep affection for stephen harper or george bush is not top of my to-do list.

    what i AM attracted to, though, is to at least play with this concept of universal love. and yesterday gave me a chace to spend some time in that sandbox.

  6. isabella mori

    terra, yes, and that is exactly what i’m thinking about right now.

    what IF we had deep affection for everyone? what IF we expressed that with something like hugs?

    in christianity there is an idea/ideal of “seeing christ in everyone.” that has always intrigued me. i think christ often stands for the ideal (and transcended) lover/sibling/partner or, simply, love object. (urgh, “love object”, that sounds ugly).

    sometimes i’m on the bus and i look at people and i try this on in my head: “YOU are christ, and YOU, and YOU.”

    to what degree does love need to be private?

    i know, this is all very academic. i assure you that working on my deep affection for stephen harper or george bush is not top of my to-do list.

    what i AM attracted to, though, is to at least play with this concept of universal love. and yesterday gave me a chace to spend some time in that sandbox.

  7. Janet Riehl

    Free hugs. Ah. Lovely. What I sense in your piece is the desire to offer. To extend. And, you also observed boundaries, physical and emotional. In your reply to Terra’s comment, I feel the answer lies. The same practice of seeing Buddha nature in everyone exists in Buddhism. The advantage of extending our love silently as you did on the bus is that it doesn’t exert any expectations on the person your sending your love to. It’s less aggressive. Less a personal love and more universal and absolute in its nature. It’s a love that’s not about you…or even about them…it’s about love and not just the possibility of loving but doing it on the spot. This can be transformative for the giver, the receiver, and the environment on the bus we all ride on.

  8. Janet Riehl

    Free hugs. Ah. Lovely. What I sense in your piece is the desire to offer. To extend. And, you also observed boundaries, physical and emotional. In your reply to Terra’s comment, I feel the answer lies. The same practice of seeing Buddha nature in everyone exists in Buddhism. The advantage of extending our love silently as you did on the bus is that it doesn’t exert any expectations on the person your sending your love to. It’s less aggressive. Less a personal love and more universal and absolute in its nature. It’s a love that’s not about you…or even about them…it’s about love and not just the possibility of loving but doing it on the spot. This can be transformative for the giver, the receiver, and the environment on the bus we all ride on.

  9. sara

    was reminiscing about September 11th, felt this year anniversary very deeply, alot of feelings
    came back about that day, horror and sadness.
    Then, while exchanging with a friend about our
    memories of connecting with people and consciousness, the realization of how we all opened to one another, and strangers made contact, and prayed together and cried and helped one another.
    It was beautiful and I said out loud why does there need to be something that horrific to have people
    break out of their shells and embrace one another, feeling that we are in this together
    and that our challenges and tensions and conflicts and pain and joys don’t have to isolate
    us from one another and we feel good when we
    relate from the heart to one another.

    Sometimes we connect in a crisis and sometimes
    with a powerful spiritual teacher or music
    concert but I love the idea of a day to
    dedicate to this. so we can experience this from within, our inner connection, Spirit, and
    step over the obstacle to see one another, and
    reach out.

    A group in my church is going out on Tuesdays in
    town to take literally Jesus’ command to do
    greater works than him, asking people if they
    could use prayer or need healing, and praying
    for them. There have been wonderful testimonies
    of healings and also for people reporting
    on the joy of overcoming the fears of going out
    like this.

    I just went out once with a group and we partnered. I observed because it was my first
    time. It was a positive and powerful experience,
    and interesting. Some people had no interest but they were nice about it, great, you’re okay,
    have a nice day, kind of thing.

    New at this group and this is my first comment.

    I love your September 10th hug day. I notice
    people hug when they see each other at the local
    health food stores alot, although somewhat less
    as the area gets more stressful or gentrified.

  10. sara

    was reminiscing about September 11th, felt this year anniversary very deeply, alot of feelings
    came back about that day, horror and sadness.
    Then, while exchanging with a friend about our
    memories of connecting with people and consciousness, the realization of how we all opened to one another, and strangers made contact, and prayed together and cried and helped one another.
    It was beautiful and I said out loud why does there need to be something that horrific to have people
    break out of their shells and embrace one another, feeling that we are in this together
    and that our challenges and tensions and conflicts and pain and joys don’t have to isolate
    us from one another and we feel good when we
    relate from the heart to one another.

    Sometimes we connect in a crisis and sometimes
    with a powerful spiritual teacher or music
    concert but I love the idea of a day to
    dedicate to this. so we can experience this from within, our inner connection, Spirit, and
    step over the obstacle to see one another, and
    reach out.

    A group in my church is going out on Tuesdays in
    town to take literally Jesus’ command to do
    greater works than him, asking people if they
    could use prayer or need healing, and praying
    for them. There have been wonderful testimonies
    of healings and also for people reporting
    on the joy of overcoming the fears of going out
    like this.

    I just went out once with a group and we partnered. I observed because it was my first
    time. It was a positive and powerful experience,
    and interesting. Some people had no interest but they were nice about it, great, you’re okay,
    have a nice day, kind of thing.

    New at this group and this is my first comment.

    I love your September 10th hug day. I notice
    people hug when they see each other at the local
    health food stores alot, although somewhat less
    as the area gets more stressful or gentrified.

  11. Natalia

    Nice article..I mean that sunshine has a power that contains the value of treatment that affect both human health, physically and spiritually.

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