Free Hugs

So in San Miguel de Allende, where I live, there’s a beautiful church that stands erect facing the main square. It’s absolutely stunning and everyone that comes here at some point gets a picture of it. It’s our very own Eiffel Tower, if you will.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was inspired by a YouTube video going around that featured a blindfolded man hugging strangers. I thought to myself, “For February, I’m doing that.” I don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I thought for sure it was a great idea.

The whole concept between “Free Hugs” has always been a great one, but I felt it was too intimidating for some people, and the role that it would put  me in was too intimidating for me.

I liked the element that this particular man had added to it, by blindfolding himself and making it about trust. It was like an extra added challenge, or a more attractive intention for me.

My intention would be to vulnerably, and blindly, give love to the world. Without actually expecting anything in return, but still inviting people to trust me or love me back, which in itself was probably the initial challenge.

I went with my best friend here in San Miguel, Natasha, who took pictures and documented some of the hugs. The plan was this, I would stand in front of the Parroquia, with a bilingual sign around my neck (given the bilingual culture of our town) telling people “Let me trust you. Abrazame” (“hug me”) blindfolded, and arms stretched out. 20150213_124336_20150214091949442

Right before I went ahead and did it, I stood with Natasha and proceeded to freak out for about 10 minutes. “What if no one hugs me?” I thought.

“What if no one does?” the voice in my head asked back. I decided that I wasn’t actually doing this to get hugs, I was doing this because I wanted to give. I wanted to challenge myself in how I gave, in how I showed my love and affection. I wanted to be loud and intentional with my love giving. So I put on my blindfold and said, “let’s do this”. She led me to the spot we had previously decided on and then she sat somewhere where she could watch the oncoming love.

I outstretched my arms, and tried to smile. I set out the intention of simply loving. I stood there, and loved, no matter who or what was going on in front of me. I didn’t care if people did or didn’t hug me, I didn’t care what they thought. I considered myself an art installation.

However not even 5 minutes went by, and my first hugger came forward. I hadn’t really thought about what to say or do so I said “have a nice day” and stuttered and stammered a bit trying to figure out what else to say. By the time she pulled away however and had walked away, I felt free. It was a great high. I had had one hugger, that’s all I needed.

So I stood there beaming in love…and then, soon…

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I must have hugged about twenty people. By the time the 30 minutes were up, I had a mental collection of people’s reactions. I was already going through the mental album I had made of the different approaches people had taken to hugging me and being around. Some had made jokes (some to my expense) others had dared each other, others had hugged me in more a “receiving” fashion while others hugged me in more of a “giving” fashion. It was all ages and genders, most people gave full body hugs though some people did do side hug or pelvis out hug.

20150213_124437I delighted myself in going through the memories I had just collected and took a breath in. The town looked different, colors were brighter, people se20150213_124521_20150214093951545emed smilier. I felt high, on cloud 9, completely in love with love, with people, with life.

I took the feeling with me for the rest of the day, and night. I had a fantastic day and night, and had so much love that I wanted to give everyone else. And sure enough, I see people respond to it. People talked to me more excitedly, smiled more, were more interested in me, and in telling me about themselves.

It was an experiment in loving and love and being loving. It was an experiment because I didn’t want to think about Valentine’s Month as some capitalist month where single people should be depressed and cursing love. Instead, I wanted to bring back February as a20150213_124346 month of Love with a capital L, to give love and be love, to give goodness and share friendship. How people respond so well to it, how it’s hard for someone to turn you down when you meet them with love.

So today, I urge you, if you are bitter or sad about the fact that you aren’t receiving love, remember that it doesn’t mean you can’t in fact give it, and that giving love usually results in receiving it. Sharing love means being love, means linking with your truest most authentic self. Pushing it away will ever only result in pain.

 

So enjoy today, enjoy yourself, be love, do love. All is well.

All my love,

Maelle

 

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Pulling threads

macy chadwick
Macy Chadwick

 

I have been in a little bit of shock in the past few weeks.

There have been so many things that have happened…like always, I suppose. Life is always happening, even when we don’t want it to.

I saw someone unravel in such a clear way…it was like fabric that was being unthreaded and then re-threaded and made into new and different patterns. Through conversations and music and songs and problems and issues and issue-resolving I have seem not just one someone, but a few someones. Like dissecting the inside of their soul through their eyes and words.

The human personality…is so fascinating. And when and how we choose to expose our vulnerability, is so telling. It’s where true communication happens, I feel.

I had moments where I allowed myself to unravel in front of other people and I see them sometimes recoil.

“This is too much”. I feel it.

I establish our closeness based on the boundaries that are mutually set, and there’s a wall that sometimes people put up that I choose to respect.

My mindset is a bit intense, a bit prodding, my way of befriending people a bit pulling, because I need to communicate and experience people like the human body needs food and water.

I’ve discovered this about myself in opening up to others and seeing their response. Communicating truthfully, from the heart, the only real thing that cannot be trusted, to prepare us for a world where everything is deceit.

Then lately, I have been witnessing people in such a different light. Such a splendor. Unravel in ways in which normally in the past I would’ve closed of, no longer trusted. Instead, learning to communicate with different aspects of people, and therefore myself. Allowing people to be a little crazy since I myself am a little crazy. Understanding that sometimes people lie. Understanding that sometimes people need to hide. Protect themselves. It’s all OK, it’s all beautiful.

I’ve been giving into my crazy ideas lately. In the post about faith and trust, that was just a tiny introduction to the chapters in my head that conclude that I can and will live my life the way that makes sense and that I can be happy doing it, no matter how strange. Freeing!!! FREEING!

But the people that I’ve been speaking to lately, and the mindsets that I’ve allowed myself are leading up to conclusions that are blowing my own mind open. I’ve been coming to this point in my life where I am allowing myself to be who I want to be because I can finally trust that this is a good thing. I was so intense about questioning everything all the time that I questioned myself as well.

And then I realized that it doesn’t matter, ultimately, what you believe in. You’re either right or wrong but you’re going to meet the same end. So what really matters is what you do with this life, how you treat people here, how you live, how you made people around you feel.

Have you ever thought about that? How you make people feel? That’s what the world is composed of, is us and the people around us.

So I think that leading a life of making sure we are happy, and are leading the life we think is the best one to be leading given our situation, and we try to make things good for others as well…It doesn’t matter. Once you die, the afterlife is a whole other ballgame. No matter what you believe in you’re either right or you’re wrong but there’s no better way to lead up to that than just doing what you think is right.

Or at least, that’s just me.

And so I’ve been allowing people near me the benefit of unfolding the way I want them to allow me to do for them. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt in everything, challenging myself, learning lessons with them…and I gotta tell you it’s been fascinating.

People are…so unbelievable. We all are. And the world is full of unbelievable people waiting to be friends.

And I get it now, that not everyone wants to Love the way that I want to, and can, and am learning to.

So it’s not all about loving everyone else, but it’s definitely about loving yourself. And that’s a good start because right then, it’s the best kind of love. And then everything else gets a little easier. Just a little. Because life happens, and things get dark, the cycle continues and bad things happen. But if there’s that feeling of wonder and self-love? We’ll be excited for when things start to come around again.

And so it’s been like supernovas and explosions and magic and adventures and escapades with these amazing people showing me different sides of them. My friends…and sometimes perfect strangers. I’ve just been in shock.

And in

so

much

gratitude.

That I get to experience these people…they have chosen me as their friend…You are the prism to my eye…lighting up my life in small multi-colored bursts of light and love.

Thank you.

Totally head over heels in love with you,

Maelle

Choosing Ooey-Gooey Love

It was probably Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoons were my favorite. It meant the hardest part of the school weekend was over, and I could enjoy the rest of the afternoon knowing I would soon be out, and I would have a month to “recover”. (Of course, the school weekend always felt like I was recovering from “the real world”).

I was relaxed, ready to take the last dive into pushing my boundaries and blurring comfort levels as I took a swim through my subconscious heart.

Choose love” I was telling myself. I could hear the urgency in my voice. “This is it, Maëlle,this is when you choose love.”

Like it wasn’t obvious. Like it wasn’t hard. But it is, sometimes

Or at least, it appears to be.  Which –in a world ruled by perception– is all that matters.

Sometimes forgiving, letting go, and being grateful comes out like a punch knocking your teeth from the inside out.

Sometimes letting go means trusting again, which means putting down our barriers, which can be terrifying. Terrifying. So why choose love? Why choose forgiveness? Why choose letting go?

That’s exactly what I asked myself, as I clenched the side of the chair, trying to do the work, trying to hold myself accountable. There’s an inner conversation that happens that sometimes happens in a milisecond, other times it takes years. This time, it was one of those milisecond exchanges that felt like a struggle where both sides were fighting for the same thing. It went something like this:

“Are you doing everything you can to be happy?”
“yes.”
“Are you doing everything you can to be happy?”
“No”
“What changed between the first time I asked you and the second time I asked you?”
“I had new information.”
“Which is what?”
“That I’m not doing everything I can to be happy.”
“What else could you be doing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then how do you know you’re not doing everything?”
“Because if I were, I’d be happy.”

As I came to that realization, I remembered. I remembered I had been happy for months and months at a time. I remembered I had been happy for years and years and years. I remembered that compared to how long I had been happy, my unhappiness had been very temporary. That while it had felt out of my control many times, it had been in my control many more times, and I had been happy.

“What happens when it’s not in your control?”
“I keep trying, until it is.”
“And what does that mean right now?”
“That means choose love.”
“So choose love.”

So choose love. What did that even mean? Choose love.

For me it meant forgiving myself. It meant to stop identifying myself by yesterday’s story, to trust that tomorrow’s story would take care of itself. To choose my story for today. It meant knowing that I had gotten myself through it all. It meant I had asked for help, and known how to take it, but that I had also beaten my demons on my own. It meant acknowledging that, knowing that. It meant choosing what felt good. Not easy, Good. Easy can feel good, but nothing feels quite as good as when you’re just going for good. Being comfortable will never feel as good as being free.

But this didn’t feel good. It felt scary. It felt like a lie. Like it was unstable.

“Look again”
And so I did. The moments that had gone by on that weekend, or the week before, when I hadn’t chosen love. What it would have looked like, if I had forgiven, if I hadn’t been scared. It would have been real moments. It would have been me. Because I was love. Choosing love meant choosing myself. And if that hurt, it was definitely much less intense, and much more worth it, to hurt for a moment and become closer to who I was, than hurt for the rest of my life, trying to protect myself from the inevitable pain of a life of not choosing love. I realized how often I had lied to myself, because I had gotten hurt, and I had retracted, and how painful it felt to not live like myself. To not believe in myself. To not know the truth. Had it not been obvious this entire time? “You’re not good enough” made me feel like shit. How could I think that a stability of that would feel better than learning how to be in Love all the time? How could I, the queen of transformation, be afraid to loosen my clutches around the comfort of self-loathing and instead surrender to warmth of love, just because it meant an alteration to how I thought? 

What did choosing love mean at that moment? It meant believing that today I can make different choices. It meant choosing happy songs, and downsizing on people that made me feel upset. It meant saying more of what I felt, but keeping more secrets to myself. It meant depending on myself more, but letting people in more.
It was an amazing Sunday, as all Sundays always were on a school weekend, and I chose love. And I’ve been choosing love ever since. i chose love

That doesn’t mean a lot of anything to a lot of people, so this is what it should mean to you: stay in the now. Let’s try every day, to just feel free. Go for quiet peace, if exuberant joy seems like poppycock to you. Go for warm acceptance of self, if self-love seems flakey or arrogant. If empathy gives you hives, try humility.

At the least, a spoonful of gratitude keeps the ego at bay.

And if you think that all of this sounds like a big ball of mush, you should know that it’s exactly what you’re made of, because you’re nothing but a big marhsmallowy ball of super amazing, undeniably adorable, magically wonderful, ooey-gooey love, whether you like it or not and want to be a big cynical baby about it.

Don’t worry though. I’m choosing love for you too.