It’s nighttime at a music festival, the dark beats fill the air as lasers flash through the black sky beneath the stars. I run up to a group of young party-goers shouting, “FREE HUGS!!!” — the same message shouted from my light up t-shirt. A young startled man looks at me, looks down at the shirt blazing into to his eyes and the message finally reaches his ecstasy filled brain. Free hugs! His face bursts into a smile and his arm fly open as I embrace him in a wonderful hug. My girl wearing the same light up shirt runs into the arms of a cutie wearing tiny jean shorts and a crop top and spins her in an enormous hug. Then we work our way through the group till everyone has gotten their hug.
A few weeks prior, I designed a tshirt to glow with LEDs my message of love, hugs and a delightful image of Winnie the Pooh hugging Christopher Robin. It was a bit expensive to blaze this image in a full tshirt front but as this evening would prove, it was totally worth it. I felt like me and my girl made a valuable contribution to the entire festival atmosphere.
It was a totally wonderful night and we must have given out over 1000 hugs throughout the night. In the process, I experienced an extraordinary variety of hugs from a wide spectrum of individuals. And I learned more about the human condition and human contact.
There was one fellow, older, scruffy and definitely odder than most who was a misfit who clearly hadn’t had a lot of human contact lately. Hugging him was like similar to hugging a homeless man: he was desperate for human contact and the hug felt healing this poor, lost soul.
Another hug was a younger girl who seemed like she really wanted to hug but was so unsure of herself she didn’t know how to release herself into the moment.
I gave hugs to manly, jock-like dudes who were tall, lean and full of muscles and yet were obviously not so comfortable with the actual act of hugging another guy. Invariably there would be the 3 slaps on the back saying, ‘I’m not gay’ but they hardly knew that in holding themselves back by making it into a ‘non-sexual’ thing that they were missing a key part of the experience. Full disclosure, I was definitely not hugging these guys out of lust. I was hugging because they were human and they were there. (If there were dogs allowed at the festival, there is absolutely no way I would have denied my canine friends either!) Being more sensitive and focused on mediation and opening up my chakras, I was acutely aware that they were closing their hearts off to other males due to… a mix of homophobia and self-consciousness that did not want to appear in any way effeminate in front of their peers.
To contrast this immediately afterwards, a very manly man who was built like a body-builder but confident in who he was gave a startlingly good hug. He hugged fully, with his body and his heart and it was wonderful. He nailed it! And he clearly didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought (he could probably crush most people like a pop can so his physical worries were less than most.) It was great to hug someone like a boss and have him own it without a care about what anyone else thinks.
Similarly to the jocks, were the ‘pretty girls’ who had their phones out taking selfies. One girl wore the tiniest of outfits, revealing 2 hand spans worth of sculpted stomach, amble cleavage, shoulders, arms, and shorts that left most of her long thin legs exposed. I hugged her and she most reluctantly hugged me back, as if she was doing me a favor. Her hot friend gave a half-assed hug as if I was trying to ‘get’ something off of her. It was totally weird, to be honest. These poor young girls seemed to have no idea how to hug properly or how to be in the moment and just hug someone. I actually felt a bit sad after some of these hugs because these girls seemed so –lost. They had this outward beauty but I could sense that their inner life was tearing them apart and they gave the worst hugs of the entire evening. But I was not there to judge.
I looked over at my girl who had also had the same experience with these same girls and she just beamed a smile at me that said, ‘meh, let’s go find someone that can hug better than that!”
We hugged a guy who was high as a kite wearing a technicolor raincoat of wonderful furry goodness – and damn did that guy hug! My girl ran into us and joined in, making it an even more delightful threeway hug! Afterwards he smiled at both of us and said, “I soooo needed that!”
I ran into a group of heavier set girls dancing off to the side – they had an aura of “We’re being ignored :’( “ and felt needy of male attention. That’s fine… I was a supernova of hugs and gave them full on, long melting hugs and told each they were beautiful – and meant it. I felt their energy with the hug and these bigger girls hugged with pure hearts.
I moved close to the stage by the DJ (no doubt some well known and ‘famous DJ’ whom I had zero clue about) and a super hot and fit girl, 20ish, was dancing there wearing only a red bra and red shorts that could only be pulled off by the vibrantly youthful. She saw me and her beautiful face just lit up as we made eye contact. She smiled and read my tshirt, shouting enthusiastically, “FREE HUGS” and jumping into my arms. I hugged her full on, holding her close and feeling the energy of her open heart. She was giving what would be one of the best hugs of the evening.
I made sure my girl hugged her too as she should share in the joy.
Which brings me to my babygirl, Pumpkin. She made me so deliciously happy to be in her presence this evening. Pumpkin was this beautiful, radiant light at this festival. She had bright beams coming out of her entire face as she shared her joy and her heart with the world. Pumpkin was extraordinarily outgoing this entire evening – freely sharing her hugs with everyone. She enthusiastically ran up to person after person with her blatant ‘free hugs’ agenda and was able to convert most people into free huggers. It was truly a joy to experience and share the evening with her – I was honored. Also, as a result of me rolling with her and her being so extroverted, I ended up having far far more hugs this evening because of her. And some of the best hugs I had this evening were from her. Just hugging her and letting my heart melt into hers as we shared life together made the entire trip worthwhile.
Actually physically interacting with so many people in something so intimate as a hug opened me more to more experiences like this. I will definitely do this again.
Overall, there was a feeling of those needing and wanting hugs, human touch, affection of any kind in this crowd of thousands. It was odd, to run into so many people wanting human touch while literally surrounded by thousands of people…and it made me realize how far we have to go as a species. Society is made of individuals who feel separated from each other – needing contact and real affection. Beautiful people feel like you are trying to molest or take advantage of them. And through it all, pure hearts shine through and open themselves wonderfully to the experience, leaving me with a profound sense of hope of what we can become together.