Intentional Embrace

a fave pic of Adam and Jude

Who was the last person you hugged? I believe I hugged a tree last September…

I like wellness stuff and recently scrolled across a mushroom coffee in my Facebook feed that appeared to promise everything: peace, brains, vigor … healthy, wealthy, wise … I bought it on the spot and couldn’t wait for it to come. I’ve been cutting my coffee with it most mornings (probably not the intent, but it’s working for me). In my first shipment (which would likely have been the last had I actually realized that the deep savings of the initial order came with an auto renewal), there was also a little card in the package encouraging further wellness through journaling. Clearly I’m an easy sell, and the simple ploy to keep me connected worked, so now I get a text prompt every morning to which my response becomes part of mine/their virtual journal. A very personal record they keep and format in a pretty way for me to access whenever. If you read my posts with regularity, you know I’ve been busy, and while my response-to-the-prompt commitment lasted just two days, the mushroom journal persevered my neglect. So, despite my indifference, like a faithful puppy, I still get a hopeful text each morning without fail, and on day 10, I got the hug question above. While I never responded, my post this morning came from that mushroom coffee inquiry. … And, here I am – perhaps not necessarily measurably smarter, happier, or more vital – but, ready to write!

I was never much of a hugger until the past few years, as I’ve worked at getting out of my head and becoming more present to what’s real right here and now. Hugs make a great mindful practice. They can be done totally unconsciously, empty and perfunctory, with nothing really in it all, just a rote greeting, sterile, or even worse, awkward, uncomfortable, or with associated anxiety. But they can also be offered with intent, presence, actual perceived love, and authentic connection. I’m not sure when I started this (I might have written a blog about it in Season 1), but at some point I began to embrace more consciously, and it’s changed how I engage with the people I encounter in a profound way. I’ve come to believe, especially after my reflection from the text, that the execution of more cognizant present hugs could be a powerful antidote for some of the disconnection and polarization in our world today.

When I got that text prompt on a Friday morning, four hugs immediately came to mind (instead of just one … that alone says something!)

I remembered hugging my work colleague at a conference I’d come back from the day before, someone I usually only see on Zoom, and its reciprocal warmth as I poured loving energy from my heart into hers as they came close through our embrace. … I still remember it clearly, and just caught myself smiling as I’m now thinking of her fondly. 

I remembered hugging the mom next to me in the stands as our boys’ lacrosse team won their first game of the season, recalled my tears of happiness (I know, pathetic), and the connection in our relief and joy for our boys after what’s been a long season … And turning to her tall husband a row above in the bleachers to high five – as he was bending to hug me – and awkwardly (but only because of the height), reaching up to entwine our joy together … I still remember it, and somehow feel like I know them both just a little better than before.

And I remembered right away after in the same stands, turning and hugging the mom of our goalie this long season, the last defense with a, let’s call it, “still developing” backup of a young team, and our joyful energy melded and compounded for his superstar performance. … I still remember it; and I’ve also started to feel his pain more after a tough game, share her pride more after a great save, all much more personally and closely, as if he was one of my own.

I know that even without my attention and intent, each of those hugs would have fed a positive energy, connection, and joy in the moment; they’re nice even when we’re distant or distracted. But, had I gotten the mushroom text prompt before my mindful hug practice a year or two ago, would I have even remembered them all? Would they have generated the positive feelings after that I just now relived again in their recollection? Would I feel quite as close or care quite as much about any of them as I now do?

There’s definitely something to it. Try it and see for yourself. If you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it right!


Get your copy of Naomi’s book today… and pass it on to a friend!

4 thoughts on “Intentional Embrace

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