New Day, New Year, New Beginnings

Time Moves Differently for the Ocean and the Shore

Time Moves Differently for the Ocean and the Shore

Hi Folks:

Well, for all of those who follow the Gregorian calendar, we’re now firmly ensconced in 2022. In some ways we’re in a boat that has left the pier and – even though it may be in reach, we know there’s no going back – only onward. Given the local, national and global events of 2020 and 2021, 2022 has a lot to live up to with regard to its older siblings. For some that becomes represented as hope, for others, despair. On this 4th day of January there are some who have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions, and some who declined (resolutely) to state them in the first place. That’s understandable; a year is, after all, a lot to take in with one bite. We do better looking back, each from our own perspective, on what went right, wrong, and what might have been done better. But looking forward to the remaining 361 days on this calendar can be daunting. Our suggestion then is not to do so.

Don’t misunderstand. Big dreams are important, and plans that take time to unfold will continue to do so, but so often we have enough to do to get through today. Just today. This doesn’t mean we should ignore tomorrow or the remainder of the year, but in trying to carry all of that responsibility at once we force ourselves to turn away from what’s facing us right here, right now. So, just for a moment, stop. You may not be able to hold it for long, even a few seconds, but that’s a start, Now, in those few seconds or moments, push the rest of the year away and create around yourself a little circle of now. Quiet the hundred thousand thoughts, feelings and voices crowding into your mind and allow yourself one moment of clarity. Yes, the rest of the world is still out there. It’s not going away, but turn your attention to what you’re focusing on right now. There it is. It may be joyful or sad, it may be urgent or seem to be, and one part of your mind is telling you that you have a hundred thousand other voices all clamoring for your attention and you don’t have time to devote to this moment. But you do. You’ve done it, and you can do it again whenever you want to do so. In fact, it’s much better for you (and the rest of the world) to push back the jumble of your life even for a moment and see what’s right here, right now. Even if you’re multitasking, even if you’re juggling ten different things for ten different people, each of them is being queued in some sort of sequence. We owe it to ourselves to approach our day that way and the rest of the world will in return receive the best we have to offer.

We  are all multi-dimensional beings, playing multiple roles in each others’ lives. This is explained much more eloquently by our friend Gary in his blog post, “Many Sides of One“. Here’s an excerpt, but we’d suggest you follow the link to read the entire post:

“…I have failed or come up short in many of these things and I have also been blessed with a measure of success and joy. In all of them I have learned more about what works and what doesn’t.

I believe we have the capacity to change the world and help make it safer, saner, healthier, kinder and more peaceful. We are the sum total of all our parts and “every decision we have made has brought us to where we are.” (SAR)

This is a look back for a review which I do at the end of a day, a week, a month or a year. I put it away and look forward to the next day, one day at a time. I try to make the most and best of each day and live in the present. I make plans for the future in case there is one. I have written four books and have three others in process at different stages.

I meditate, walk, think, wonder, contemplate, talk, write, eat, drink and check in with others as we celebrate life as a blessing and a gift. An old year is ending, a new one beckons. Grace is revealed in gratitude.”

Each of us, like Gary, have lived unique and interesting lives. My experiences are not yours, and that is what makes you unique and special. Never doubt that you are. The rest of 2022 will unfold as it does. Tomorrow will be here soon enough, and when it arrives, it too will be faced as now. Take a mental step back and allow yourself a moment to face this moment, this day as it comes. Accept its trials and successes, its joys and laments and use those experiences to add to who you are. Be kind and recognize that the person next to you is facing their own trials, reveling in their own joys. Know you are loved, just because you’re you. We wish you peace.

Hugs,
M&M

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ~  L.M. Montgomery

Celebrating the Holidays!!

Hi Folks:

Well, we’re into our second pandemic Holiday season, and pretty much everyone is doing their best to make it through the day. It’s a good reminder to all of us that everything on this planet we call home is connected… certainly not a new idea, but one worth remembering.

As we enter the first full day of winter (here in the northern hemisphere, at least) we’re also entering the period where the days begin to lengthen once again. More light, more trust, new beginnings. It’s a choice each of us gets to make in every moment, so if you’re ever unsure how to react in any situation, be kind. It’s good for you, good for the other person, is non-fattening, doesn’t cause cavities and helps to make the world a better place, even just for a moment. And, sharing kindness is often contagious! Pay it forward. 🙂

From our house to yours, we wish you a Safe and Happy Holiday season! May 2022 find you safe, healthy and surrounded by Love. 💗

“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angeli

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus, Solstice or Saturnalia, the arrival of Sinterklaas or Grandfather Frost, Hanukkah, Mawlid Un Nabi, Yalda, Pancha Ganapati, Bodhi Day, Kwanzaa or something entirely personal, we send you love. Create an amazing 2022!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. The image above is one made by Marcia during a recent visit to the Royal BC Museum here in Victoria. The image is iconic in that the 3rd floor of the museum, including the Old Town displays, will be closed on January 2, 2022 while the museum undergoes modernization and updating of their exhibits. Therefore, this is the last Christmas display there as it is now.

 

Krinkles and Twinkles and Smiles, Oh My!!

Mrs. Claus, Krinkles and Twinkles at the Bay Centre

Hi Folks:

This marks the second pandemic Holiday season, and things continue to ebb and flow. Yesterday Krinkles and Twinkles managed to twist our arms enough (it took a serious amount effort!! 🙂 ) to take them on their annual walk about Victoria. This marks our 7th such adventure, and they always have a really good time. As with 2020 we didn’t venture into as many buildings as we had in previous years, but the reindeer don’t mind. They take great delight in smooshing their noses up against windows and peeking in, waving to anyone and everyone in their path… What delights them most is when people smile and/or wave back and they know that they’ve brought happiness into someone’s life, even if just for a moment. Most children smile and wave and a good percentage of the adults do too (even if some of them only smile on the inside). Some people look at them like they’ve never seen Mrs. Claus (or her companion – long white beard, long red cloak) walking around with waving reindeer, but that’s okay too. The holidays can be hard for some people and that’s why Krinkles and Twinkles take such delight in their outing.

Starting from our home in James Bay we walked through the downtown, checking out some of the annual creations for the Gingerbread Showcase and the Festival of Trees before retiring to Murchie’s café for a tea and lunch (Mrs. Claus found the pumpkin spice soup to be excellent!)

On our way back home we stopped at the Homecoming Memorial at Ship Point to spend a moment with our old friend Captain John Mason, and we tarried awhile by our hugging tree, handing out smiles, good wishes and lots of waves!

Many thanks to everyone who joined in the celebration with us yesterday, to the person in Ottawa who joined us virtually, and to the gentleman who stopped to say he had a picture of us from last year!

We haven’t been able to partake in our hugging adventures since March 2020, but maybe we’ll bring out a couple of our other kids – Frosty and Wonder for example – to our hugging tree after the holidays and we can engage in more smiles and waves then.

Hugs,
Mrs. and Mr. Claus 🤶🎅

It’s Our Birthday!!

Parrot Pals

Parrot Pals

Hi Folks:

Well, it’s now been 12 (!!) years since our blog took its first breath. It’s been a somewhat quiet year, but we currently have 662 blog posts and 150 pages on our site. The posts cover poetry, photography, our hugging adventures (88 countries and counting!) and various other musings; our pages include some of our stories and free Adventures of Rainbow Mouse colouring pages to download and enjoy. We’ve shared some wonderful adventures with you through these and are looking forward to sharing more in the future! This blog is our gift to you, our readers, and we very much appreciate having you here with us. Feel free to drop by any time, check out Marcia’s books, download our colouring pages, read our stories, leave a comment or reach out, relax and enjoy yourself. We don’t have any birthday cake that we can share (this is the best we can do: 🎂), but we send you love.

Remember to hug someone you love today, even if it’s just screen to screen. You’ll both feel better for it! 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♂️

M&M

P.S. Extra special thanks to our son Nick, who does all of the techie stuff that keeps us afloat!! 🙂

Sharing Free Hugs… in Print!!

Free Hugs Illustration

Illustration by Sierra Lundy

Hi Folks:

Several months back the folks at Victoria’s Boulevard magazine added a note inviting any of their readers with the ability to tell a story to submit up to three thousand words for a column called Narrative. Each submission would be considered for publication in an upcoming issue. Since we’re both storytellers we agreed that sharing a bit about our hugging adventures would be the best topic for us!! 🫂

Mike cobbled together the bones of our story and Marcia refined and edited it. We came in at 2995 words. Satisfied, we sent it off … and in August we received an e-mail from the Managing Editor, Susan Lundy, letting us know that our article would be included in the October/November issue. Colour us excited!

The article appears on pages 110-112 of the October/November 2021 issue of Boulevard magazine (Victoria). If you live in Victoria you can find them at businesses and street boxes around the city. However, if that’s not possible for you, you can also read it online.

Many thanks to Susan and all of the staff at Boulevard for sharing our story. Remember to hug someone you love today!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. If we might be so bold, the rest of the magazine is worth reading too!! 🙂

Boulevard magazine, October/November 2021

Victoria’s Boulevard magazine, October/November, 2021

Don’t Call People Out – Call Them In

Hi Folks:

We came across this video the other day (presented at TEDMonterey 2021) and had to pass it along. This is the best forum for us to do just that! If you’ve read other of our posts this goes without saying, but we love this woman!

Loretta J. Ross - TED Monterey 2021

Don’t Call People Out – Call Them In (click on the image to see the video)

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Four health benefits of hugs – and why they feel so good

Hi Folks:

We came across this article recently and had to share it with you. We’ve known the truth of this for some time (of course) but now you do too!

Four health benefits of hugs – and why they feel so good

Hugs,
M&M

Remember, if you can’t hug the ones you love, hug the ones you’re with!

Happy International Free Hugs Day!!

Hi Folks:

As you all know, the first Saturday in July (today!) is International Free Hugs Day!! Normally (what does that even mean anymore?) that would mean we’d be downtown, by our Hugging Tree, sharing hugs, smiles, waves, handshakes, fist bumps and conversations with locals and tourists alike. Not last year, however, and not today… but soon! The world is starting to re-open, slowly. In the meantime, to paraphrase the song:

If you can’t share hugs with the ones you love, hug the ones you’re with!!

Hugging a Chinese lion, 2019

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. We have a late entry in this year’s Creampuff Derby: our granddaughter, who was born this morning. A most auspicious day!!

Ladybugs and FREE HUGS!

Hi Folks:

A very special day for us, for several reasons. It’s World Ocean Day, and since we’re lucky enough to live within 300m of the ocean, we’re privileged to see her in all of her moods. Nineteen years ago today Marcia asked Mike a very important question; we say YES!! to each other every day. And today is also the anniversary of our very first Free Hugs campaign: June 8, 2010. Below is a re-post of our adventures that day.

image © Aaron Licht, 2010It’s been more than a year since we’ve had to (temporarily) suspend our Free Hugs campaigns; we miss it every day. In 11 years we’ve shared hugs, smiles, waves, handshakes, high fives, conversations and more with tens of thousands of people from at least 88 countries. When it’s safe for you and for us we’ll welcome you to join us once again. In the meantime, wherever you are today, we offer you (two – at least!) virtual hugs. We wish you peace.

Hugs,
M&M
_____

Hello Dear Ones!

It’s been my hands meandering today – over poster board with glue and markers, 3″ diameter paper ladybugs and brightly coloured flowers.

Tomorrow, June 8th, 2010, Mike and I celebrate the eighth anniversary of the day I proposed to him. Yes, I did! Down on one knee, rocks and all, by our favourite river. June 8th, 2002.

In honour of the day, Mike and I shall be down at what is referred to as the Inner Harbour here in Victoria, British Columbia at 4pm …. the same approximate time that I popped the question and Mike responded with a resounding YES!

Mike and I are both dolling up these placards to say, simply, FREE HUGS. Yet they are decorated by each of us individually – so each is unique – as are we! Mike’s has a butterfly, hearts and bright colours. Mine has ladybugs and huge flowers.

We’ll be giving out free hugs to any willing participants and we certainly hope there may be a few daring souls. Should you happen to be in the neighbourhood, come join us – even if it’s just to watch two mature adults make absolute fools of themselves – enjoying and savouring every single moment of it! There’ll be ample supply of laughter, hugs, smiles and yes, even free hug certificates as giveaways.

If you’ve not yet checked out our Hugs Certificates page, take a moment to do so here. Mike and I carry a stock of these business card-sized certificates which we delightedly give out to: cashiers; people we see sharing hugs with a friend; as bookmarks in magazines and books in the stores we frequent; on the seats of buses; anywhere we happen to go and someone either gives us a reason to smile or really needs one of their own – which we happily oblige by giving them one of ours. What a joyous adventure this has become – such fun!

An exceptionally BIG thank you to Mike for this marvellous idea, for providing the materials and for the inspiration to make this a play day! A lifetime supply of HUGS, just for him and him alone …

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

BTW: we’re not the first to do this and hopefully not the last! Check out the Free Hugs Campaign that inspired us to do the same.

Update:

We had a great time, and we gave/ received over 200 hugs in 3 hours.  Our friend Aaron came by as well and made some photographs.  Here are a couple of the best of them (more are available here):

Anticipation Group Hug

P.S. Be sure to check out our International Free Hugs Day 2012 and International Free Hugs Day 2011 posts!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Hi Folks:

Today we celebrate all those who are mothers, all who have been and are no longer with us, and all those who have served in that capacity – fathers, aunts, grandparents, foster parents, siblings… anyone and everyone with an abundance of love to share. Today we honour You. (but Marcia’s still my favourite – Mike 💗👨🏻‍🦳👩🏻‍🦳💗)

Happy Mother's DayIn 2010 Marcia wrote a tribute to her father: Remember Father for Mother’s Day. Since then, Marcia’s mother and father have left us. Mike’s mother, dad and sister (herself a mother) are also gone, and Mike’s father passed away yesterday. We remember them in our hearts. However, we are blessed with an abundance of other family and we’ll be welcoming a new granddaughter this summer!!

Sending love and hugs your way!
M&M

P.S. Let’s not forget the Mother of us All…