Receiving Kindness

Hi Folks:

In our We Have Huggers!! post we highlighted our latest escapade to encourage people to share hugs and spread kindness by creating a hugging spot on the sidewalk. The latest iteration looks like this (previous versions can be seen in the above post link):

Group Hugs

While we know that people have stopped to share hugs with each other (or themselves), made images and sometimes just smiled as they walked past, we’re not aware of them unless we happen to be out front or near the window at the time. Nonetheless, everyone who engages with our chalk art adds their energy to our garden and our lives, and we very much appreciate it.

We have received two more tangible gifts, however, and we wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the donor(s) who secretly left them for us. The first is a Kindness Stone someone left on top of our gate:

Kindness Stone

The second is a note someone taped to the inside of our gate!

Kindness Note

Whoever left these for us, we wanted you to know how much we value your acts of kindness. Made our whole day!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. It’s easy to find ways to spread kindness to others in your world, but if you’re looking for inspiration, check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and Ripple Kindness Project as great places to start!

Our Hugging Tree

Hi Folks:

If you’ve been following our Free Hugs adventures, you’ll know that we’ve done (almost) all of them at the Homecoming Memorial by Ship Point in downtown Victoria. Part of the reason for that was that we could stand away from the sidewalk (we offered, but people had to come to us). Part of the reason for that is the statue in the Memorial itself:

Homecoming Statue
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Happy Canada Day!!

Hi Folks:

Today is officially our country’s birthday! We were a part of the Living Flag event here in Victoria for Canada’s 150th birthday a few years ago, and after the past couple of years it’s good to see the city starting to come to life again. People still need to be cautious, but people are being cautiously optimistic as well. Yes, we have challenges to overcome, both as a country and as a planet, but Canadians overall are quietly proud of who we are. We can’t forget the past, but we can move forward together.

2022 also marks the third Canada Day we haven’t been out with our Free Hugs posters (maybe next year) so we wanted to share an image with you from our first Canada Day Free Hugs session back in 2010. This was just three weeks after our first ever session, and we were already hooked!

Free Hugs on Canada Day

image © D. Gibson

Whatever Canada and Canada Day means to you, we encourage you to invest some time with loved ones! Continue Reading →

We Have Huggers!!

Hi Folks:

If you follow our blog you’ll know that for some 11 years we took our FREE HUGS posters to downtown Victoria and shared hugs with thousands of locals and visitors from (at least) 88 countries. Sadly, we had to quit in March 2020, and we have yet to return. Someday… In the interim we continue to give out Hug Certificates and we have sent out a smattering of Free Hugs postcards. We also continue to share hugs with loved ones where we can… but yesterday we tried something new…

Continue Reading →

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

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!

If …

Hello Dear Ones!

This week’s blog post was inspired by my Morning Pages writings of March 15th. Here’s what I wrote:

The word if … how often in my life do I plan this or that… if it’s possible, if I can, if it’s allowed, if it’s available? It’s a word dependent upon all things outside of myself. I’ve found myself using it at least once almost every day since.The recognition of this simple word in my daily plans and activities tells me how frequently I actually rely on people and situations outside of my control before making plans for a wide variety of aspects in my life.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go for a walk. If I do go for a walk, I can stop at my fave spot and sit awhile with my latest book, if that spot is available. I didn’t sleep well last night, so if it does rain, I’ll have a nap this afternoon. Me, always compromising.

Get the drift? Does any of this sound familiar?

So, what have I gleaned from my query into this behavioural pattern? Well, it seems I’m dealing with what appears to be compromises that suggest a lack of trust and faith in myself and yet also in things outside of myself. It seems that during these pandemic times I have gone from a strong, wise, powerful woman ~ a woman who knew what she wanted in life and was well on her way to the unfolding of a vision ~ to a woman who has become afraid of life.

My vision was to take Mike’s and my Free Hugs activities across Canada. All the puzzle pieces to make this dream a reality were falling beautifully in place! That was as of January 2020. As you might imagine, that dream collapsed as of March of that year. After having hugged close to 40,000 people over an 11-year span of time and with folks from over 89 countries around the world, hugs had now become a taboo activity. For many people, hugs had become taboo even between family members, let alone for folks from around the world. Our last Free Hugs session was on March 1st, 2020 and most of the folks we had been privileged to interact with in this fashion that day were from places outside of Canada! When we caught the news later that evening, we realized we would be wise to self-isolate for 14 days, which we did. Blessings be, nothing came of it. But that was the last hug session we did. And, as of this writing one full year later, there is no time in sight as to when, if ever, that precious activity might possibly start up again.

The loss of a dream, the destruction of a vision… it broke my heart and my spirit. Can any of you relate? What dreams did you have to put on hold?

And it seems that loss affected me in more far reaching ways than I had realized. Yet… now that I have recognized the impact this past year has had on my well-being, where do I go from here?

I did some more indepth writing on the subject. Here’s what unfolded in my writings yesterday:

There has to be an answer, something I can do to shift from where I am to where I was. What if… and that’s where my AHA moment grabbed me! What if??? Absolutely! What if? I had added one word to what has been holding me back: from if? to what if? What if I shift my thoughts from dependency on outside sources to my own inner inspirations and strengths? So what if it rains? What if I grab my umbrella and go for a walk because I want to walk? What if my special spot by the ocean isn’t available for a sit? I’ll have my book with me; what if I choose in that moment to nestle onto that new bench the city installed that’s away from the walking path with a lovely view of its own!

So I’ve started to let go of the negatives and the limitations and flip them to positives and potentials! That sounds like the me I remember from the beginning of last year! That’s the positive note I wish to relay to you, Dear Reader! I’ve let the Pollyanna in me return to her prime place of importance and value in my life. It may take some work. There may be a few failures or setbacks, but I know it’s well worth the pursuit!

Are you playing a role of prime importance in your own life? I hope so! If not, however, hopefully something I’ve shared here today gives you the impetus and/or the courage to step toward valuing yourself more highly. Wishing you happy journeys, even if (or perhaps especially if), those journeys take you within yourself.

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia