On this Easter Sunday morning during this season of rebirth and renewal, the powers that be are playing an April Fool’s prank by casting giant snowflakes down from semi- blue skies through the sunshine. It really is delightful. I’m held spellbound by the minute-by-minute visual change. Which brings me to the theme of today’s blog, the magic of being held.
As I was waiting for sleep to come the other night comfortably cuddling my teddy bear (never too old to do this), I happened to think about how nice it is to be held. I was fortunate to grow up in a house where hugs were prevalent. I have pleasant memories of my parents hugging each other and me and my siblings often. My father was more warm and fuzzy in this respect than Mom, so when he passed away suddenly when I was seventeen, that physical touch was missing from my life.
It didn’t fully return until the birth of my children years later. Motherly hugs were awesome, offered by my toddlers as they ran toward me, willing arms outstretched. Through the years as they grew into adolescence, those arms became stiff to my loving offerings, reluctantly returned in exchange for some teen need. That changed exponentially when they moved out on their own. I was blessed to receive a strong collective hug from my son and his girlfriend after they made me dinner the other night. And my daughter held me tightly for a time in her arms the other day after learning of a diagnosis I had just received. Pure therapy.
I was lucky to know someone who taught me how to really hug. This man showed me the value of holding someone close for more than just a fleeting moment. We spent many years together, and when we parted at the end of each day, it was always with that glorious embrace and a simple kiss. My head fit perfectly in his chest and I loved the feel of my hands pressed across his back. For me it was the epitome of intimacy. What I took away from those moments allowed me to realize and expand my perspective and ability to hold others. First, there’s the obvious physical hug. I use this for my family, friends and clients when they are comfortable. I extend the hug handshake when meeting new professionals (placing my second hand over our clasped two). I prefer this over the traditional firm handshake as a warmer introduction and gesture of trust.
I’ve also created imaginary hugs which I can give and feel by reaching out in kindness to strangers, walking through nature, and conjuring up thoughts of loved ones, (departed or not) and bring them into my arms. There are so many ways to hold others beyond the physical. Hold space for them, hold them in the light, hold them near and dear. It all amounts to the same results. The other day in the grocery store line there was a woman in front of me with a baby boy in her cart. He chomped on his teething ring between granting smiles to me as I engaged in friendly conversation with Mom. When she wheeled him out of the store, he held my gaze. Carefree, gleeful; I carried that throughout the day.
When I think about how good it feels to gather others in these examples of holding, I am always brought back to those magical moments with my hugger teachers. I’m grateful for those having become the beginnings to all of the endless ways I’ve learned to share love with my fellow human beings.
From The Sanctuary: After a surprise diagnosis of MS this week, I had some forced time off in the Sanctuary for some spring ecotherapy. Noticeables were prevalent as I stood by the creek, inhaled and felt the mud soften beneath my feet. In my stillness the creatures were not afraid to gather. The birds landed on branches close by and called to me and to their mates. A herd of three deer gathered to steal a look. One took a few steps toward me and then changed his mind. A mink snuck out of its nearby den to steal a quick swim before returning to safety. This morning I rescued a starling trapped in the lanai, whispering to him until he let me gently hold him and send him out the door to freedom.
Raising a glass today to wellness, renewal, and the realization of the physical transformation of The Sanctuary into Capture Life Writing headquarters this summer. It will be a healing place!
Hold that thought and Group Hug!