Today (June 8, 2020) is a very special day for us, for a couple of reasons. For one, 18 years ago today Marcia proposed. On one knee, at the edge of a creek along a walking trail in the woods. After weighing the pros and cons of the idea, giving each side appropriate merit and thinking of all of the possible outcomes (all of which took approximately 0.36 seconds), Mike of course said, “YES!” Not that much of a fool. We continue to say “YES!” to each other every day. 🙂
Our second Anniversary today goes back to June 8, 2010. On that day we undertook our first Free Hugs campaign, down in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. We first mentioned that escapade here: Marcia’s Meanderings – Ladybugs and FREE HUGS! As we’ve mentioned, we had no idea what to expect, and we were both excited and terrified. We showed up, posters in hand… and waited. After what seemed (to us) an interminably long time, a little girl came rushing over to share a hug with us. It was a wonderful, blessed moment. Our world was transformed. We were hooked! We still are! In 11 years (starting today) we’ve shared hugs with thousands and thousands of people from (at least) 88 countries!
Unfortunately, 2020 having been what’s been, our last Free Hugs campaign was on March 1, 2020 – after which we underwent self-quarantine for two weeks. Living here on the island as we do we are incredibly lucky in many ways… one of which is that the last case of Covid on the island was a month ago. None of us can say with any certainty what the future will bring, but yesterday we were able to hug two of our kids and one of our grandsons (who also live here) for the first time in over three months. Yes, we are blessed. We look forward to the day when we can resume our Free Hugs campaigns back by the Homecoming Statue at Ship Point but in the meantime we encourage you all to stay well and stay safe. There are many reasons to be grateful and many ways to be kind.
This being a double-down kind of day, we wanted to mention that today is both World Oceans Day and Best Friends Day. Your best friend can be your spouse/ partner, a long-time friend, a new friend, your pet… and since you can (in a generous world) have more than one best friend, we’d like to suggest that your best friends list include the earth. She is the home for all of us.
Before we sign off, since much of the world seems to be on fire of late (literally and figuratively) we want to leave you to consider one of our favourite words: respect, or more specifically, re-spect. Literally translated it means to look up, to look twice – to live with awareness. It may seem there are many reasons to be sad/ angry and to want to push against, but there are many more reasons to be open, to be honest, to trust, even to love. All of the changes in your world begin with you. There is much in this world you can’t control, but remember that power comes from within, and one thing you can choose is how you feel, how you act in every moment. Aggression is an often misunderstood word. Birth is aggressive. A flower opening is aggressive. Even a thunderstorm is aggressive. Violence is not aggressive. Violence is passive submission to anger. If you’re feeling fear, anger, grief, etc. don’t bury it. You can’t hide it deeply enough. But there are ways to let it out without causing harm to yourself or others. As Gandhi said:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi may not have said, “Be the change you want to see in the world” but it is the essence of his quote above. And very good advice for all of us.