"There has been much written and recorded over the past decade about the importance of 'giving and receiving hugs' and in particular, how their touch can determine not only one's overall character, but also one's outcome in life's system of benefits!
No....I'm not talking about the DHSS and the other handouts many folk seek, but instead 'Nature's handouts,' along with the powerful and positive energy transmitted by a smily face. It is so true that when you smile, the world smiles with you.
It is also true that when you hug, you encompass all that is finest in mankind's qualities and nature's abundant richness. A hug isn't just about placing ones arms around an object, person or creature. That is but the mechanical gesture of one's upper limbs. No....a hug is much, much more!
When we hug, we embrace life and all that lives within the thing we hug. When we hug, we transmit the very love we feel and the good intent that resides within us to the thing we embrace. The beauty of depositing love in another thing outside oneself produces the great dividend one receives in return. We always get back more than we give out and therefore love's depositors can never lose out on their initial investment.
I have known many people in my life who gained tremendous pleasure and sense of belonging simply by having been hugged. Often during the most poignant moments of one's life when our words fail us and we cannot frame all we want to say, giving a hug possesses the power 'to say it all' with a poignancy that no wordsmith could ever craft.
In my life, I have known the lifelong sadness felt by people whose parents never once said 'I love you' and never once gave them 'a hug.' Whatever start they may have thought they'd provided their offspring with, nothing material could ever compensate for the lifelong harm which the absence of their loving affirmation had produced. Such sad souls grew up experiencing great difficulty in both forming and sustaining relationships throughout their lives. Their greastest loss of all though, was their incapacity to express love; their emotional inability to love themself or others and in many instances, their unwillingness to receive love!
For over two years during the late 1980s, I provided Relaxation Training classes to women prisoners inside HMP Newhall, Wakefield. Because of absence of space at the time, these sessions had to be held in the chapel part of the institution. For some, this was the very first time that some of the women had ever set foot inside any sanctified walls. The women I worked with were the women who were the most despised by society, and even by their fellow inmates. Some were women who'd harmed, maimed or killed their children, some had been addicted to drugs and apart from prostituting themselves to feed their addiction they had sold on drugs to others, including school children. I must have worked with well over a hundred women during these two years, but rarely did I come across one who was capable of loving themselves or who felt that their parents had loved them as children. Many had been sexually abused by a family member or had spent a lifetime moving in and out of one abusive relationship with a man and into another in between serving prison sentences. Most had parented illegitimate children who were either in the Care of foster parents or the Social Services Department. A few had even been abandonded at birth. Those who returned to live with their children often found themselves moving between one women's safe house refuge centre and another in order to escape a violent partner and his wrath. A common experience shared by all these women was that they'd never been hugged as a child and told that they were loved. Indeed the only embraces they received as adults were as a prelude to sexual encounters. Our weekly sessions always ended by me asking all the women to give each other a hug; however, not all felt able to do this seemingly most natural of acts.
Just to see a person hug their pet cat or dog or to gently wrap their arms around the neck of their horse is a joy to behold. The act possesses a benefit that cannot be measured and reflects the essense of 'togetherness.' Indeed, for such hugs to be even bettered requires them to be carried out on the most important people in one's life.
Lovers of fine specimens also like to hug, and here I am thinking of people who love to hug trees. I have known a few tree huggers in my time and the older I get, the more I'm inclined to believe that trees too respond to loving hugs. If you don't believe me, the next time you get out and have chance to hug a tree do so. But beware, I don't mean just fling your arms around it like a great galumphing bear, but rather put some feeling into the embrace. Don't just wrap yourself around it with the brute force of an abusive lover.
The process for tree hugging is as follows for it to produce the maximum benefit for both hugger and tree. First place your arms gently around the tree trunk and as you do so, adopt an easy breathing pattern and close your eyes. With eyes closed, allow your mind to construct the following picture. Mentally imagine the transfer of love that is taking place from you to tree. Feel the warmth leave your body and transfer itself to the tree trunk. Hug the tree for a full minute with this loving transfer in mind and then take a long, deep breath before opening your eyes and standing back to look at the benefit of your hug.
As you look at the object of your affection you will surely notice the transformation that has taken place and gently smile. In return, the tree will breath deeply and as it spreads its overhead branches in the summer breeze, you will see it smile back. It is as though when you willed your smiling love to touch the tree, the tree received it, laughed out loud and blew back a kiss from its bark." William Forde:May 23rd, 2014.