At the end of May 2014, I joined in the celebration of a milestone for a group of people, who were all strangers to me. Not only were the people unknown to me, but the group and what they did was new to me, as well. Since then, I have come to get to know some of the people and the work of the group. In retrospect, I can say this was a big part of the unfolding of a new chapter in my life, a wonderful new journey—a journey to me—for which I am so grateful.

My new journey actually started at the beginning of May with the move to Florida and the start of my studies in Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine. I sensed immediately that I’d stepped into new territory, yet it felt so familiar, so much like home. It began to unfold slowly, but by mid-June, the pace had picked up; I was on a rocking rollercoaster ride. But I am getting ahead of myself.

On that evening, I was greeted by so many kind and interesting people. Almost everyone greeted me with a hug. “We hug here,” was the simple explanation as I was, again, folded into someone’s arms. I felt forced to comply. The hugs were mostly authentic, so that made it more bearable. Some people could sense my hesitation, and either backed off a little or leaned in even more. Thinking about it now makes me laugh. I was the test subject, bringing out each person’s personality. And, at the same time, I was very aware of my own.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love hugs. So what was bothering me? I didn’t know these people. Perfect strangers were pressing me to their chest, stepping into my private space. Within the embrace, I was pulling back as far as possible without being [completely] rude. That resulted in the leaning hug—you know, keeping as much of your body away from the point of the hug as possible—and it also meant that my internal wall went up. My message: “OK, you can take my body, but you can’t get to me in here.” Once I had a glass of wine in my hand, and some in my bloodstream, I was again, on more solid footing. I had let go a bit, and, besides, the majority of the greetings had already taken place… I was in my meet-n-greet groove.

At times, it was a bit surreal; the group shared some mysterious tight bond, and talked in code. I was an outsider. The word “cult” did certainly cross my mind. Yet some of the people were definitely interesting.

Fast-forward to today: I long for hugs and give them readily. I am honored to have a couple people from that evening in my life; I value them greatly. I have stepped into myself.

The hug has become my pick-me-up, my energy boost, my connection to others and myself. It is a moment to plug in and feel peace. Through this journey and my evolving, the hug has become my symbol for connection, for embracing myself and who I am. I welcome and embrace the hug. Actively connecting to others and myself, seeking more. Embracing. Being open. Learning. Accepting. Growing.


Some learning from this week:

Using the memory of being supported and safe, floating in the ocean’s embrace, I am learning to embrace the ease of the flow in my life and my deserving nature. The ocean teaches me to relax and surrender into it; struggle and resistance will cause me to sink. One cannot grab onto a handful of water. However, a calm, strong stroke with an open hand gives buoyancy and propels. Yes, the waves can be powerful, but I can learn to react appropriately. The wave taken head-on will most likely win—or, at least, cost me a lot of energy; I can either relax and ride it, or dive down and let it pass overhead.

Learn. Accept. Grow. Repeat.


Since moving to Florida, I have been on a whirlwind ride of discovery and growth. Mostly it feels as if I have just shed old, worn out skin, or thrown off a layer of armor that is no longer needed. I’m still peeling off layers. Some of the shiny new, fresh skin is peeking through, glowing bright. That’s me, stretching toward the light, reaching out to give you a hug.


Embrace the Now.
Embrace the Feminine.
Embrace the Flail.
Embrace the Passion.
Embrace the Power.
Embrace the Lesson.
Embrace the Love.
Embrace Life.