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Don’t Hug a Tree—Hug Me! April 3, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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3314737024_4ea1f1671f_20100719093630_640_480Current wisdom is that hugging is a positive thing. Why? Because most all of us benefit from physical contact with another person. And I’ve always thought hugging is a great  thing. However, something happened this week that has me totally convinced that hugging someone can make a difference.

The theme was ‘connection’ at my Thursday night tango class. (Didn’t I write a post about that last week? Well yes, and here is the link in case you missed it: Are You Connected?) So how very serendipitous that the very same theme popped up at tango class. In tango there are a number of connections that are important: connection with the floor, connection with the music, connection with your partner. This week we were working on the skill of connecting with your partner.

Hugging in the round

Lori asked us to count off by 2’s. All the 1’s (that was me) formed a circle and closed their eyes. The 2’s were asked to stand in front of a 1. The instruction to the 2’s was to give the person in front of them a really good hug. (I rolled my eyes a little at this—that is if you can roll your eyes when they’re closed. Let’s just say I mentally said. “How hokey.”) Lori turned on some restful music and we began the ‘exercise’. The ‘hugger’ circle rotated partners while the ‘huggees’ stayed in place. The upshot was that each person received about 8 hugs. When we had completed our assigned task, the energy in the room had totally changed. Tango students can be pretty intense and serious but at this point every single face had a broad smile on it.  We did it again at the end of the class and changed roles from hugger to huggee  And when class ended we were flying.

Following class was a practica –the opportunity to practice for a few hours. And what a practice it was. The connections that were established by hugging made for great connections on the dance floor. It was a wonderful evening.

What’s the lesson?

So what’s the lesson? Go around hugging everyone all the time? Well, no. There are just some relationships that aren’t big enough or safe enough for that and some places where it would be odd to do that. Like waiting in line at the bank or meeting your child’s teacher for the first (or even second) time or at a job interview (now there’s an image). As I thought back to what made the magic occur at tango class, I came up with the assessment that it resulted from opening the heart.

Open your heart

Opening the heart or letting down your barriers encourages others to be able to do the same thing. I know when I find myself holding back, being remote, shy, or unapproachable (and yes, I am that way at times), my interactions with others are a lot less rewarding. If I wait until I trust another person completely to let down my guard, I may be losing out on a wonderful opportunity to deepen a relationship that will enrich my life.

Trust and positive feelings as a starting point

So what I have decided to do is to focus on having an open heart with others. To think about extroverting the good feelings about him or her that I often keep to myself. And if I don’t really like the person all that much, I ‘m going to focus on dropping my judgments. I’m going to start from a position of trust and see where that might lead me. No, I’m not going to hug everyone in sight but I am going to pretend that I could.

Want to try it? Well,then– GAME ON…

–Amara

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