Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Comforts of Self-Hugging

Whether a solo traveler or a traveler with partner -- given the Pandemic guidelines of physical distancing -- connection has been impacted.  While those with a partner may be getting their quota of daily hugs; those of us who are solo travelers may be experiencing a scarcity of warm touch from others.

Enter self-hugging – WOW!   I now give myself a bear hug over every pleasant experience, chore well done or just for no reason at all.  The hugs are accompanied with loving, supportive words:  "Great job today!"  "You drank your 64 ounces of water—Great!"  "I love you."  “I’m sorry you’re feeling sad.  I love you and I am here for you, always have been.”  As my hand lovingly rubs my upper arms, I voice to myself what I would love to hear from that one special person. 

So like many of us do these days with a new idea, question or even meeting a new person of interest -- I googled ‘self-hugging'.  Lo and behold these directions a guideline.

Self-hugging 101

*Fold your arms around your body, positioning them in a way that feels natural and comfortable... 
*Rest your hands on your shoulders or upper arm (just above your biceps). ...
*Imagine the type of hug you want. ...
*Squeeze yourself with just enough pressure to create the sensation you're looking for…

When you’re feeing that Pandemic burnout, feeling disconnected, isolated, or even just plain good – give self-hugging a try.  What have you got to lose?

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

21st Century Untouchable Lepers

 Nothing is so healing as the human touch. 

                                        Bobby Fischer*  


As we enter the eighth month of the 'New Now,' did any of us ever imagine that masks would become the new fashion statement?   Who ever dreamed that shaking hands, a gentle hug, a loving touch, a kiss on the cheek, could possibly be a life threatening occasion?

At the farmer's market last week, I ran into a friend.   As required, we were both masked.  As I approached my friend, with my unseen smile under the mask, to say "hello" -- rather than the normal hug we usually exchange -- she took 2-3 steps away from me.   I immediately felt like a 21st Century Untouchable Leper.  

Thank goodness for Zoom and other virtual sites that allow us to virtually hang out with friends.   I attended my first Zoom birthday party last weekend and it was grand fun and lifted my spirits.  Virtual hugs, while nice, are not the same as arms embracing one another.  I now not only give myself good-morning and good-night hugs;  I hug myself after I practice my piano,  write a blog and anything I do that I'm proud to have done.  But none of that captures the gentle, loving, soft touch from another.

The isolation and touch deprivation have led to moments of irritableness, despair and depression.   I recognize for myself that perhaps the virus is not the worst thing -- isolation and disconnect are pretty bad, too.  Massage, with masks, is now available and I'm in.   Only now, rather than every other week -- it will be a weekly occurrence.  


Bobby Fischer, Chess Grandmaster

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Adapt to Survive & Thrive

The most important factor in survival
is neither intelligence nor strength
but adaptability.
                                                                                  Charles Darwin

I’m in awe as I witness each country’s efforts to adapt to the challenges the Pandemic has brought.  In our own country, witnessing governors as they adapt and implement tough regulations to keep us safe.   How essential businesses, i.e., grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, adapt to continue to provide the necessities of daily living.

I express gratitude to the sanitation workers who continue to pick up our trash, the truckers who continue to transport goods, U.S. Post Office, UPS, FedEx, the online businesses that continue to provide us with our needs and wants.

The losses we are sharing with all of humanity are something none of us have ever witnessed before.  For many the loss of health, the death of loved ones, jobs that put one on the frontlines, loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of housing – all devastating. 

For others, such as myself, the loss of multiple things that bring us pleasure. Most significant for me, the loss of my morning swim – a ritual for 45+ years. The mile swim is now a two-hour morning walk and an hour evening walk.  Walks where I continue to discover new beauty right in my own backyard where I’ve lived for 23 years.

What loss/losses are you grieving and how are you adapting?   I encourage you to look in the mirror, speak them out loud while you applaud and celebrate your own adaptability.   

I end with these wise words: “May the new normal teach us to be grateful for the things the old normal taught us to take for granted.” **


**Mark Shubert, Mission Viejo Naadadores  swim team coach 
Quote appeared in 5/8/20 New York Times
Sports Friday Section page B9

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