The Bliss Blog



Yesterday (September 10, 2016), I was in my nearby Bucks County town of Doylestown, PA which is about an hour outside of Philadelphia. The event was our annual Arts Festival. I love strolling the streets and running into longtime and new friends, as well as perusing the wares and creations of juried artists. In the past few years, I have arrived, toting a sign indicating that I am offering FREE Hugs. I call myself a Hugmobster Armed With Love. My friends refer to me as the Hugging Queen, Hug Mob Boss, A Hugging Machine and Mutha Hugger. It is one of those things I was born to do. I have never had a problem hugging strangers and Beloveds alike. The 90-something temps made some people respond with a polite, “No thank you, I’m all sweaty,” or “I’m good,” to which I responded, “Well, hug somebody today.”  I playfully reached over and did an air hug. We smiled together.

In the two hours and some that I was there, I hugged more than 100 people and at least one dog. Some were familiar friends. Some folks approached me and said, arms open, “Bring it!”  One man kept coming back for more and then his girlfriend came over and joined us. The Director of a local organization who actually commissioned a mutual friend artist to design the sign I tote around was one of the first to jump start the hug-a-thon. The lovely daughter of friends saw me before I saw her and we had a cuddle moment. Hugs at the booth of our local food co-op. Hugs with women who were offering samples of ice tea and lemonade (which I really appreciated since hugging is thirsty work) and whose t-shirts bore images of the iconic Mr. T with butterfly wings. A very tall woman leaned down (which this 5’4″ woman appreciated) and offered a really strong sistah hug. Another woman who was wearing a beautiful crystal embedded necklace shaped like a curvy Goddess shared several hugs and told me that I made her day. She made mine too.  A man riding a Segueway hugged me from his rolling perch. A long time friend and I stood in the middle of the street as he wrapped his arms around me, for a full two minutes or so. I actually felt cooler afterward.  A rainbow striped haired young woman joined the fun. Little kids and big kids too, came up for some snuggles. I am always impressed when teens approach me. Clearly, I am cool enough, even if I old enough to be their mother.

When I hug folks, I mostly don’t know their political affiliation or religious beliefs. I just hug ’em. My own judgments were called to the fore as someone pointed out a man bearing campaign signs indicating that he supported a candidate who to me symbolizes hatred, which is the opposite of what this whole hug thing is about. He suggested, “How about if you hug that guy.” I took a deep breath and said, “Yup, he might really need a hug.” I approached and asked if I could hug him. He smiled and agreed and then asked if I wanted to take a picture with him. I politely declined, setting my own boundary.

It occurs to me, on this day, as I am writing this (September 11th), that the horrendous events we are recalling, came from a sense of hatred for those perceived as different. There are all kinds of theories about how it occurred (inside job, false flag, or an outside terrorist attack) and yet the truth remains that people died and other lives were devastated beyond repair. I wrote a Bliss Blog entry a few years ago, called September 11th Remembered. In it, I spoke of the idea that the saying God Bless America is far too limiting. I much prefer God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions. That includes those whose values are in opposition to mine. Chances are, the bearded older man who toted those signs, contends that he has valid reasons for believing as he does. It really was pretty brave of him to walk around the streets of a town where peace rallies and We Are Orlando rallies and environmental rallies occur, where there are a few all accepting non-denominational/ interfaith communities, where some gracefully aging hippies have music gatherings and this one strolls the streets, arms and heart open to embrace willing huggers, even if we don’t share the same beliefs.

I smile when I recall the wise words of a tiny human who came into my life a few years ago. He asked me this question: “Do you know how to turn a bad guy into a good guy?  You HUG ’em!”








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