Yesterday, I talked to a friend who had just gone to a spiritual retreat. Because he is a Hindu, what he was about to tell me made sense to him. He had gone to the “Hugging Woman ” from India, who makes tours around the world and simply hugs. It must have a definite effect on people or why would so many flock to see her?
ABC News carried an article on her with one interviewed person expressing it this way. “I’m not religious,” a 28-year-old banker tells me. “I saw her four years ago in Houston. Now, I just go to her every chance I get. She may be just an old woman who hugs. But there is some beauty in this. Maybe we have to appreciate our need to hug and be hugged — to care for each other.”
An article by Vivian H Ortiz and Sarah Hodd continues… “She is not selling salvation or offering physical healing or a chance at prosperity. Instead, Amma seems to have tapped into a deep and essential human need — the need for affection and the human touch. Some people, it is true, don’t get enough human contact.”
They may not have been held or hugged when they were babies or small children…and don’t know what to do with hugs as adults. My husband saw orphaned babies in Russia that did not get warm, close attention stand for hours in their cribs…rocking back and forth….as to make themselves feel something...anything. When I was in Ukraine, I visited a State orphanage and no amount of hugging would make those children smile. They simply were not used to it and did not relate to close human contact.
Too many hugs or over-eager huggers are not often accepted in the “American way” of life. We ,in general , like our distance. (unlike the Italians and others). At one of our favorite restaurants, the owner’s wife (who speaks very little English) comes around the tables and gives hugs…sometimes very big hugs…with her large bosom in close proximity to the faces of the customers. This is not to say that some don’t enjoy it! Nevertheless, it becomes a little far-reaching for the “not in my space” Americans.
There are definitely different types of hugs. I like what A.K. had to say on this subject.
“A hug kind of depends on how long it lasts : Just a quick and polite hug is just that, polite. Oh, and the patting on the back, that is definitely non-romantic. If he pats you on the back you might as well be his Aunt Liz.
A romantic hug will last just a little longer than it should and it will end when he leans back and puts both hands on your upper arms, just below your shoulders. That is the “oh baby” hug. If he does that, you’ve got him. He’s yours!
Very few first hugs will be a romantic hug though. If he is really interested, the first hug will be somewhere between “Aunt Liz” and “oh baby”. This one may end with him stepping back but leaving one arm around your waist or slightly rubbing your back vertically. This is the classic “whew, you are awesome, I can’t believe you let me hug you” hug. That’s when you look at him, smile slightly, and then look away. Powerful stuff!”
Even animals like to curl up and cuddle. We had a cat in our neighborhood climb between the paws of our Golden Retriever; curl up and just enjoy the closeness.
Nothing can take the place of the peaceful, relaxing, mothering hug that warms our heart. Hope someone has given you a special hug today…or you have given one. It will probably come back to you in some form.