In the city of Vienna, Austria, lives a young man by the name, Thyago Ohana. Let's call him an angel in disguise. You will soon learn why.
Every two or three months, he goes out on the busy streets with a big smile and a sign that says, "Free hugs". He opens his arms for an embrace to whoever may be in need of a squeeze. Reader's Digest did an article on the power of touch, where it narrated Thyago's heartwarming tale. A few years ago, when he was stressed out during a visit to a new city, Thyago was hugged by a stranger that left him feeling calm and joyous. It was this feeling that encouraged him to give back what he had received!
Thyago recalled an incident about an elderly woman who watched him as he offered hugs to passersby and asked him for a hug, herself. After a few moments, when they broke their embrace, she held on to his shoulders, looked into his eyes and thanked him saying she couldn't remember the last time someone had hugged her that way! Wow! Isn't that so very touching!? Now do you agree that angel would be the perfect epithet for this young man?
I love hugs. I am quite a tactile person, who can be quite touchy, feel-y when with people I love dearly. Be they my close friends, my parents - I need to hug them to feel their presence; hold them by their arms, pinch their cheeks if they say something really cute, or even silly, in short, I need to feel them. It suffuses me with warmth and an assurance that I have some really fantastic people in my life who not only love me, but look out for me, tolerate my craziness and will never let go of me.
When Chikoo was around, I would cuddle up to him every now and then. I loved hugging him, burying my face in his satiny fur and run my hands all over his warm body. I would pinch his cheeks, play with his soft, floppy ears, in general, drive him nuts by my tactility! He enjoyed it when he was younger and reciprocated with much enthusiasm, but in the past couple of years, he had become very possessive about his space. So, whenever I would snuggle up to him, he would indulge me for a minute or two, after which he would shift uncomfortably in his place and give me a give-me-my-space-woman look.
I would leave him alone after threatening to overdo it all the next time. Tee-hee!
Sigh. Those were wonderful times, when I had Chikoo's instant hugs whenever I needed them. Now, I have to wait for the time when I can go, meet my parents, or my friends to get my quota of the comforting hugs. Half of my friends, whom I communicate with online, send me virtual hugs. They are comforting, too, but I am waiting for the day I meet them in the real world and give them real hugs. Those will be beautiful moments!
A hug is the therapy we all need to indulge in much more frequently than we do. We like our space, and unconsciously build invisible walls around ourselves - a boundary others aren't allowed to cross. It does leave us bereft of the kind of comfort we, ironically, seek everyday! A hug expresses a million emotions. It conveys empathy, love, reassurance, appreciation, care and extends a kind of calm and happiness that no other therapy can.
Scientists have studied the effects of hugs and I am sure you must have read/heard all about the magic of hugs. So, I won't go into it in detail, lest my post come across as a scientific piece on touch therapy! All I would like to urge you to do, is go hug! Just do it, or get into a huddle, if you have a large group of friends, and feel your pain, your sadness physically leave your body! I am aware of some people being allergic to physical contact. Ahem...this is actually a sarcastic remark for my best friend of 30 years who is so allergic to hugs, she has never allowed me to hug her in all these years! Can you believe it?
So, for people like my dear, idiot friend, do give it a try. Hug someone and feel for yourself the warmth that will wash over you, leaving you feeling relaxed and happy.
Go on...just do it, and let me know how you felt!
*Linking this post to #writingwednesdays at Write Tribe.