The very first time I hugged someone for a long time 15 years ago, I was struck afterwards with this incredulous moment where I thought to myself, “How is it everyone doesn’t know about this?!” And just after that I had a really strong sense of knowing that even if I did nothing more with my discovery, that others would. Well I did choose to pursue a path of helping people to know about the real power of being held. And others are doing it too, not exactly as I am doing it, but working with the same basic awareness that being held is deeply healing.
The phone is ringing more often now, calls from journalists who are doing stories about the kind of work I’m doing. Last month it was a cool article on the difficulty men have connecting in friendship. And a few days ago, the Hispanic channel Telemundo called to do a television spot on cuddling. We’re filming that on Tuesday.
And media stories that feature others who do similar work are proliferating as well. When I started doing this work, no one I knew had ever heard of anything like it. Today that is much less common. There seems to be something in the zeitgeist that is making this phenomenon of touch come into the public awareness. It seems like what I felt intuitively those years ago may actually be coming to pass.
So why might that be? Well, as our smart phone, tech savvy lives have sped up and shortened our attention spans, we are having less real contact with other human beings. Our relationships can become “virtual”. Like yoga and meditation have become more popular to help people slow down and become more present, my meditative holding practice is a visceral reminder that we need to be touched generously and non-sexually. It also reminds us of our human need to connect with others in an intimate, compassionate way that is fostered by this vulnerable expression of human touch. The language of hugging says: “I want to be close to you. I feel safe here to be myself. I care about you. I feel connected to you.”
These are messages that need to be spread all over as part of the solution for a world that wants to heal.