Of course, at any given moment you are 50% of a hug.
My mother was widowed when only 64. And after that, she always said she missed his hugs. No-one hugged her, touched her.
We each need the
3 HUGS a DAY diet
We each need to be touched, to feel the warmth of another person's hand or arm around us.
Hugs are healing. Heart rate slows, blood pressure stabilises, immune system improves.
We know that if newborn babies are deprived of touch, they don't do well even if their other needs are all met.
Virginia Satir, American author and psychotherapist said we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, twelve hugs a day for growth.
I look at this photo. Taken at my mother's funeral. Two of my grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, caught on camera hugging each other. Too small to understand what was happening, but maybe aware of sadness all around them. Cousins hugging.
Hugging is such a natural, healing thing.
* * * *
I hesitate to hug. Always have done.
I like my space, shrink from contact. Immediately following my 90 year old mother's unexpected and brutal death caused by an out-of-control car, people wanted to hug me. It was kindly meant, I know. It felt like being rubbed raw.
Hug three times a day? Eight times? TWELVE times??
And now I read that hugging increases oxytocin, especially in women, and so can lessen stress because it decreases the levels of cortisol , the fight or flight hormone.
I need a hug.
And so do you.
At the end of a Pilgrimage, when we have all been through so much together - miles and miles, blisters and sisters, views and pews, the agony and the ecstasy -
we hug. No words to express so much; but a hug says it all.
Even for me.
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart
Isaiah 40:11 (NIVUK)
Have you hugged anyone today? Been hugged?
Might you try? Might I?
Please hug me if you see me ... I'm learning to hug back!
And if there's someone you want to hug but are not sure ... or they are far away ...
send them this?