I am beyond grateful for the well-timed, invaluable reminder that a soulful hug can make all the difference in the world.
It can brighten a person’s day, it can shift energy and it literally has the ability to heal.
It’s so easy to get caught in the buzz of life: going, doing, creating and making things happen. Typical daily routine goes something like this: brush teeth, quick injection of caffeine or a perk of some sort and for most of us in-tune and on a path, our practice of choice.
When in flow, my mornings begin with Ashtanga practice followed by a vitamin-injected green smoothie before the day unfolds. The moment I turn on the computer or step out the door, I am in flow. Whether working a café or hunting down goods for my business, I am focused and following intuition. I have a mission and I am driven by a purpose stronger than any I have known. My line of transformative talismans is bigger than me and I push well beyond my boundaries to ensure that I am doing everything within my power to move the vision forward.
Well, recently it has come to my attention that some crucial yet easily overlooked, basic human needs had gone unattended due to uncompromising focus on vision. What is the basic need that has been missing in my life? Deep, soulful, aligned, heartfelt, organic, human connection via touch.
Touch is most easily accessible and acceptable in the form of a hug.
As newborns we are dependent upon another person’s touch to connect with the world. When carried as infants, we are enveloped in the arms of loved ones; our first experience of a hug. Embraced for the first couple years of our lives, a primal need for touch is reinforced deep within. What a beautiful way to begin life; hugs as our first means of communication. As we grow, we learn to communicate love; we give and receive, or reserve, hugs, half-hugs, pats and in some cases handshakes.
It was later in life when I began travelling that I was introduced to touch-as-healing in communities (many of them yoga communities).
Hugs and embraces were shared in spades. The process of learning affection through touch—mainly hugs—was new for me. Most of my life I had experienced an aspect of touch that was less than benevolent. Spending months on-end in hospitals between the ages of 10 and 23 for an autoimmune disease, I was frequently touched, but in the most sterile, invasive, unaffectionate ways. More to the point, my experiences of touch were associated with stabbing needles, surgery, pain and masked doctors. The touch I received growing up, for the most part, did not provide soothing, balancing energy to help my soul thrive.
It truly took travelling, exploring and connecting in new ways to re-design my life, thoughts, perspective, programming, behaviors, interactions, reactions and attachments.
This undoing allowed me to re-create my mind-body-spirit-soul, from the inside and out. Within weeks of stepping outside of the grid into developing countries, I dropped into spiritual communities formed on the basis of openness, trust and love that I experienced as in-tune, supportive and encouraging of open-armed, heart-aligned embraces along with lip-to-lip kisses as greetings.
In many of the circles I now frequently consider home, men greet women in this manner, women greet women and men greet men like so. This act does not denote anything about a person’s sexuality nor is it a sexual advance or act; it is an intimate, familial greeting for people to say, “My divine soul greets the divine in you. I am open to receive and give you love unconditionally, for we are brothers and sisters, we are one, we are the same, we are soul.”
When in these global communities, I am beyond grateful for the free, unconditional love which is extended.
Without a thought, I am able to slip into myself; my essence that is comfortable both receiving and giving this type of affection. My gorgeous global family holds space for natural, healing, human connection via routine, daily touch-hugs, simple hand grazes and kisses. The community is so supportive of healing through touch that one cannot go more than 30 seconds without witnessing or experiencing people embracing, giving massage, kissing hello or some sort of organic physical contact.
Given my upbringing, it has taken me quite some time to shift perspective, welcome and appreciate these acts as:
- Basic human needs.
- Precious displays of unconditional love.
The first couple of years travelling through communities of people who are open to touch as healing and natural, I was still stuck in old patterns-still stuck in my pain shell. My process of healing began with self; a lot of time connecting with others through verbal communication and even more time alone uncovering heavy layers that had built up over the years. It was—and sometimes still is—easier for me to crawl into my shell of pain and fear and remain alone than extend out.
Following this year’s trip to India to recuperate from the lack of human touch and time devoted to my vision to my work, I returned to my home of open, connected family. Within two months I realized that something had been missing in my life but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was when what began as a random connection—referred to by my friend as RACs (Random Acts of Connection)—that I became aware just what is missing in my life; genuine, heartfelt, open, soul-connected, loving hugs. Daily. Nope, not every once in a while. Daily.
I met Brandon in the midst of a work-crazed month.
I hadn’t taken a proper break in a good month since spending time in my home with the family for whom hugs, kisses and touch come naturally.
Excessive work combined with lack of daily affection are a recipe for sickness.
By the time I met Brandon I was on the verge of a mini flare-up of the old autoimmune disease. For me this meant exhaustion, inability to think clearly, mild body and head aches, minor fever and inflammation. Body said: rest, de-stress and chillax. Hmmmm, good idea body. Trip to the temple in the jungle wasn’t enough.
Brandon sauntered into my life; extremely generous with love, insisting on hugging just about everybody. The worst day of the flare-up was also the turning day. I received a good five-minute-long hug from Brandon in the middle of a café. Separating from him, I felt his beautiful energy still with me—on my hands, in my heart and filling my entire body.
Healing began that instant.
My previously heavy, uncomfortable, inflamed energy shifted into a more open space filled with a feeling of unconditional love. Brandon was hugging me for the same reasons that people in my global open community hug—because it’s in his nature. He needs hugs just as much as I do, just as much as you do. A couple more glowing hugs and time out with this positive, expansive, soulful person connecting with other beautiful souls (whom we also hugged) and my body was back in balance.
How could I have so easily forgotten my deep need for such a simple act, a heartfelt hug?
I think it’s extremely easy in urban environments to fill ourselves and our time with just about anything besides true human connection. I connect deeply with divine souls but mere verbal communication only allows a certain level of energetic healing. I am beyond grateful for the well-timed, invaluable reminder that a soulful hug can make all the difference in the world.
It can brighten a person’s day, it can shift energy and it literally has the ability to heal. You do not need to be in some exotic part of the world in an unknown community to experience a shift, to give a hug.
Brandon reminded me that everyone needs hugs and with practice, we can be the person to reach out and hug someone.
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Assistant Ed.: Stephanie Sefton/Ed: Bryonie Wise