This post is not directly related to Laughter Yoga but is related to the connection and joy that hugging brings and as I usually end my laughter sessions with an invitation to appreciate each other with a hug then this is a little relevant!
On Saturday 3rd August I went into Huddersfield and offered “Free Hugs” to anyone that wanted one.
And what a beautiful few hours that was. I found myself a lone hugger but I wasn’t alone at all as, although it was pretty wet which probably deterred some people from venturing out, there were still plenty of people wanting a hug.
It is hard to describe my feelings following that day but my heart has been truly warmed and I feel uplifted and full of gratitude.
I could write an essay on those few hours but I’ll just share with you some of my experiences. It’s still a longish post so I apologise for that but take a few minutes to read it and I hope it will inspire you to also do a random act that promotes positivity and love to all.
I thought I would be waiting a while before people warmed to the idea of a free hug but I was wrong. Within a couple of minutes I received my first hug and, although people weren’t queuing for a hug (I never expected that to be the case anyway!) and the weather was miserable, I received a regular stream of hugs from young and old alike. Some people were happy for a quick hug while others connected with a longer hug and stopped to chat. Some people were happy to make eye contact, share a smile and pass on by while others looked away. Some people ran at me with open arms and someone even stopped their car while the passenger jumped out to give me a hug!
I shared phone numbers with people who were interested in what I was doing and sharing similar philosophies wanting to connect and hopefully join me next time.
I also met 2 incredibly special people. Max and Michael (name changed to protect privacy). Max stopped me for a hug as they sat outside Wetherspoons, introduced me to Michael, who also got a hug, and I stopped to chat. The people of Huddersfield may be familiar with Michael. Michael is homeless and spends his nights sleeping rough.
With a huge heart and a warm and generous personality Max took Michael to buy some new clothes and a bag to keep them dry and I was invited to join them. It was a real privilege spending time getting to know them a little and chatting about life. Yes, it distracted me from my hugs but it was worth it. Thank you Max and Michael for sharing that time with me. x
My arms ached from holding up my umbrella and “Free Hugs” sign but if you asked me would I do it again I would say most definitely YES. Would I recommend others doing it? YES! “Be the change you wish to see in the world” as the quote from Gandhi goes. Whether it be free hugs or some other way of connecting or reaching out to others to create a more united, loving and compassionate world – do it. To liberate ourselves from our disconnection with each other. Don’t wait for others to step up to the mark. Share love – not hate.
I’m looking at organising an event for International Day Of Peace on Wednesday 21st September combining a session of Laughter Yoga for all followed by Free Hugs. Please get in touch if you’re interested in joining us.
I wish I had photos of all the hugs from the day – maybe someone will be there with me next time to take some. It would be lovely to have a record of people’s reactions to “Free Hugs”. Some members of the public did take photos themselves though.
It was lovely to connect with people with a hug, a smile and some laughter too and hopefully they went on their way feeling loved, uplifted and ready to spread some love and kindness themselves.
Thank you to the people in Huddersfield who literally welcomed me and my hugs with open arms! To find out more about our Free Hugs initiative you can visit https://www.facebook.com/HugForHumanityUK/