[Brought to us by Steve Pocock]
Dear hugglies and cuddlies,
I thought it was about time I repeated my lessons - for those of you who have only recently joined us here in Alt.Cuddleland. Apologies to oldbies who are already taken the course and have their certificates up on their castle walls --- but we don't want to leave Newbies out do we...._you_ were once a Newbie remember!
First we have a look at what qualifications you need to become a hugger and /or huggee. And then, for all of those already fed up with the theory and keen to get onto the practical, some instruction into how to go about the Bear Hug.
Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Be quiet at the back there!
The qualifications for being a Hug Therapist and being a client are the same: just being.
Therapeutic hugging is a mutually healing process. In fact, hugger and hugged play interchangeable roles. As a Hug Therapist, you are open to the child within you who needs love, safety, support, caring and play, and you are reaching out to the same needs in the other.
A Hug Therapist does not blame or judge. But he or she does recognize that many of us, in our standoffish society, have not learned to ask for the the emotional support we need. I love or support - or play - has been skimpy since childhood, we may feel wounded. If the twistings of growing up have left us with low self-esteem, we may feel unlovable - unhuggable.
Hug Therapists can't solve all these problems, but they can respect the struggles and offer understanding, laughter, gentle words, and an abundance of hugs.
Hug Therapy is not just for the lonely or hurting ones. Hug Therapy can make the healthy healthier, the happy happier, and the most secure among us feel even more so.
Hugging is for everybody.
Anyone can be a Hug Therapist. But if you master the Types of Hugs and the Advanced Techniques presented here, you will develop further skills and confidence in your natural ability to share wonderful hugs.
In the traditional bear hug (named for the members of the family Urisdae, who do it best), one hugger usually is taller and broader than the other, but this is not necessary to maintain the emotional quality of bear-hugging. The taller hugger may stand straight or slightly curved over the shorter one, arms wrapped firmly around the other's shoulders. The shorter of the pair stands straight with head against the taller hugger's shoulder or chest, arms wrapped - also firmly! - around whatever area between waist and chest that they will reach. Bodies are touching in a powerful, strong squeeze that can last five to ten seconds or more.
We suggest you use skill and forebearance in making the hug firm rather than breathless. Always be considerate of your partner, no matter what style of hug you are sharing.
The feeling during a bear hug is warm, supportive and secure.
Bear hugs are for:
What can a bear hug say for you? (Perhaps some people round here need to take note of the 'make the hug firm rather than breathless' recommendation. Some of the hugs I've seen here could have knocked the stuffing out of a Blue Whale, let alone a poor defenceless newbie).
The grabber-squeezer hug holds the record for brevity. One hugger runs up to and throws arms about another, gives a fast squeeze before letting go, then dashes off. The one so hugged must be alert in giving a squeeze in return, in order to receive maximum benefit from this hug.
In a variation of the grabber-squeezer, choreographically more difficult, both run toward each other and give a quick, simultaneous squeeze. Safety note: Avoid a collision course. The full-force crash of two bodies who have hurtled together or the knocking of two heads may negate some of the good feelings!
Feelings vary with the situation, but often the grabber-squeezer is accompanied by a sense of affectionate distraction because one or both of the huggers are rushed. If the huggee is not expecting it, there may also be a feeling of surprise.
Grab-and-squeeze hugging is a practical way to work in a lot of fast hugging when you're on a tight schedule. For more effective stress management, also include a liberal sprinkling of hugs that are gentler and last longer.
Use the grabber-squeezer:
Many consider the heart-centred hug to be the highest form of hugging, and official Hug Therapists feel, too, that it is indeed very powerful.
The heart-centred hug begins with direct eye-contact as the two huggers stand facing each other. Then the arms are wrapped around shoulders or back. Heads are together, and there is full body contact. The hug is firm, yet gentle. As the two breathe slowly and easily together, they focus on the compassion that is flowing from one heart into the other.
There is no time limit on this hug; it may last several moments, shutting out all nearby distractions. The heart-centred hug is full and lingering, caring and tender, open and genuine, supportive and strong.
The heart-centred hug acknowledges that place at the center of each of us where - if we're open to it - pure, unconditional love may be found.
The heart-centred hug feels right:
When might you share a heart-centred hug?
Some are morning, up-and-at-'em huggers. Some are evening, thank-heaven-the-day-is-over huggers. Some like to hug at high noon on lunch hours or at teatime. Although routine hugs are fine, sometimes the most appreciated hugs happen spontaneously at unexpected moments.
The feelings that bring on a hug - affection, sympathy, caring, just plain joy - can happen at any time of day. So can hug situations, like bumping into an old school friend at an airport. True Hug Therapists will entertain the idea of a hug at any time. And hugs scattered through the day will help maintain a sense of well-being, belonging and self-esteem.
A hug may be accompanied by a moment of stillness. Or it may include expressions of pleasure, like these:
The sandwich hug is a lesser known variety, but once you experience its warmth and security, you'll want to share this one often.
This is a hug for three. Two face each other with the third in the middle facing either of the others. Each of the two on the outside reaches towards the waist area of the other and hugs. The one in the center wraps arms around the waist of the facing hugger. As an option, the outside pair may hug around the shoulders and all three snuggle heads together. The bodies are touching cozily.
The sandwich hug gives the one in the middle an especially secure feeling, which is helpful if he or she is going through a difficult time and needs extra support.
The sandwich hug is handy for:
Make your own sandwich.
A place of beauty enhances the experience of hugging. Whatever setting you consider beautiful - a peaceful country path on a warm, clear day or a scrap of green park that opens a city to the sky - can make the hug you share with a friend even more special.
However, if the setting seems shabby or bleak, it can be totally transformed just because you are sharing a hug.
Anyplace is the right place for hugging when the heart is open.
Visualization is a powerful technique for learning and change. One way we learn is through repeated imprinting on our minds - not only of what we actually view in the world around us, but also of pictures we see in our imaginations. Imagined pictures, which can affect us as strongly as reality, sometimes even set off physical responses.
Think about slicing a juicy lemon and squeezing the tart juice into your mouth. Your mouth waters at the very thought. You may detect a sour taste, too. You have the sensation of sucking a lemon even there's no real lemon anywhere in sight.
Now try visualizing yourself hugging somebody. Let this imagined hug register in your mind as a nourishing experience. A mind picture like this can teach you to see yourself as someone who is at ease giving and getting warm, caring hugs.
In guided imagery, you plan or guide the direction you'd like your imagination to take. So let's say you would like to be comfortable greeting a friend with a heart-centred hug. Sit in a comfortable, quiet place and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply four or five times and let your body relax totally. Imagine yourself walking along and meeting a good friend. Picture the two of you saying hello by putting your arms around each other and sharing a heart-centred hug.
Keep the picture in your mind as you sense good feelings of affection and warmth. It is important to put the imagined picture and the feelings together.
Or use guided imagery when you are feeling the need for support after a stressful day. Visualize a favourite friend who is also a good hugger giving you a very fond and supportive hug. Imagine that friend holding you and offering reassurance and love. Keep the picture and the feelings in your mind for as long as you need comfort.
You can use any type of hug for Zen hugging. Our favourites are the cheek-to-cheek hug or the heart-centred hug. A very connected touch - a feet-to-feet and hands-to-hands touch,for instance - will do fine, too.
Your eyes may be open or closed. Focus on your breathing, and allow it to become even and deep. You will begin to feel yourself relaxing. You are centred in the present moment. Let go of all thinking. All that is present is the experience of your senses.
You are aware of the warmth you are sharing, of your breathing in and out, of the touch of the other person, of the air on your skin.
Be suspended in time.
The longer you are able to relax in the present moment, the deeper will be your experience of the hug or the touching.
Hugging is just one kind of therapeutic touching. There are others, too as touch research has confirmed.
You may want to combine hugging with another nourishing kind of platonic touching, such as gentle stroking or patting.
We believe more must be done to break down the cultural and emotional barriers that prevent us from experiencing the healty nourishment of touching and hugging. The establishment of the Insititute of Hug Therapy is our whimsical, but earnest, contribution to that effort.
Becoming a member of the Institute of Hug Therapy is easy. Just believe in the power of hugging! Wear the title of Hug Therapist proudly. Tell others about hugging for health. Spread the pro-hug philosophy wherever you go.
Hugging should not be something you do once in a while, at family reunions or birthdays or when one of your teammates makes a goal. Our hope is that hugging will become commonplace, without detracting from the specialness of each separate hug.
Hug often. Hug well.
Here is the next lesson. We're onto the really advanced hug topics now so you really need to concentrate and study hard. No shirking. Your efforts now will pay off a hundred-fold in the long run.
As your hugging vocabulary grows, you will find that the wonderful language of hugs is perfectly adapted to conveying everyday messages, especially in the areas of communication which follow.
Regardless of your age or status in life, we all need to feel safe. When we do not feel safe, our actions may become inefficient, our interactions with others may lose their pleasure.
A hug creates a warm circle of support so that we can return to our tasks with a renewed sense of safety.
A hug says, 'In my arms is a place where you can feel safe.'
A hug-for-safety statement is needed:
When stepping up to a podium to give a talk a hug says, 'No need for accordion knees - just imagine everyone in the audience giving you a safe hug.'
When graduating - from anywhere a hug says, 'You will find safe places in your new life too.'
When the night is full of shifting shadows a hug says, 'Daylight will show you that shadows are really the safe shapes of ordinary things.'
Try a heart-centered hug to shut out fears and pass along a message of safeness.
Firm encirclement of another's ankle, usually by a hugger of small stature. Requires an immediate response, such as being picked up and given a bear hug. Differs from an ordinary tackle because of the hugger's feelings of love and need - and the huggee's feeling of warmth at being needed.
The ankle hug invariably says:
Everyone needs to feel secure, but especially those on both ends of the age spectrum who depend on the love and good will of those who care for them.
A hug-for-security statement is needed:
By the very youngest trying out steps for the first time a hug says, 'When the world you set out to explore seems frightening and complex, you can return any time to the security of my arms until you are ready to go out again and discover more.'
By the oldest trying out steps for the first time after recovering from a fall a hug says, 'I will not allow you to become your infirmity or lose your specialness or dignity or your importance to me.'
Try a side-to-side hug or cheek hug to say security.
Our strength becomes a powerful healing force when given through physical contact. We have heard many-times-told stories of healing through touch. Now scientific research continues to confirm that touching and holding impart a life energy that heals - as well as supports and comforts - those suffering from illness or disease. New studies show that, to be fully therapeutic, touching must be coupled with an intent to help and to heal. Casual, offhand touching is less effective.
The vitality we receive from a therapeutic embrace contains the healing message: 'I am alive and whole and am coming home to myself.'
Give a healing hug to:
Anyone who is trying to shake off an illness or infection or a bout with the blues, or whose broken body or spirit is mending a hug says, 'I will hold you so that you can draw strength from my support while you heal.'
A hug says, 'My strength combined with yours is more than the sum of both our strengths. Feel that remarkable energy flowing into making you whole again!
A top-of-the-head hug speaks respectively about healing.
Appreciation for others and gratitude for the abundance and variety of life - these are flavours of happiness we communicate in an embrace.
When we are filled with thankfulness and appreciation, our hugs proclaim, 'I'm grateful today for the deliciousness of life. Let's be sure to take the time to taste the richness of each moment.'
Let a hug voice your appreciation for:
a hug says, 'Thankyou for making learning a never-ending adventure for me.'
a hug says, 'I am grateful for the miracles you help bring into my life.'
a hug says, 'Thanks for the fresh challenge - and for your faith in me.'
a hug says, 'What a great experience to know you now as an adult friend!'
a hug says, 'Your messages have brought me serenity and helped me grow spiritually.'
a hug says, 'Thanks for your cleverness and creative clowning. You make us whole as you make us laugh.'
An appreciative hug can be any kind - from a side-to-side to a waist-grabber - depending on the degree of closeness you feel toward the huggee.
Wonder, excitement, humour, contentment, and serenity are some of the shades of happiness that colour our lives. When we live under a rainbow of these good feelings, our hearts overflow with an abundance of joy - so much joy that we have trouble NOT sharing it!
It's a delight to communicate our pleasure with a hug that says, 'What a great day! I'm feeling so alive and wonderful! I'm overjoyed to share the excitement of this moment with you!
Pass on the exhilarating lyrics of a happiness hug to:
a hug says, 'What's more exciting than exchanging thoughts and finding an entirely new concept that makes life's pieces fit together!'
a hug says, 'It's really a kicj - just to be here with you, moving freely and laughing over the crazy things that happen in a game.'
A quick back-to-front hug or grabber-squeezer hug heralds your happiness.
Celebration often means joining with others to share in the delight of a memorable event. We applaud and sing and feast and dance and laugh and cry at rituals that give meaning to our lives.
On these occasions we really need the language of hugs. A warm embrace is the happiest reward for a special moment, and says, 'I am honored to be with you and to take part in these festivities.'
A back-to-front hug or bear hug, sandwich or group hug, custom-tailored or side-to-side hug - in fact any kind of hug at all - sings out, LET'S CELEBRATE!
But we don't have to wait for a special occasion to celebrate. We can celebrate who we are any time - here, now, sharing this world of marvels and miracles with those we care about.
We celebrate, too, our wonderful ability to communicate with hugs.
The language of hugs helps us speak from our hearts.
The language of hugs helps us see our true selves.
All of us need not only hugs, but other kinds of respectful touching as well. For some, hugging may even be uncomfortable. It may cause feelings of distress or fear because of cultural conditioning, physical trauma, or emotional deprivation. Sometimes, just gently holding a hand, or giving a validating pat on the back, a playful head rub, a relaxing neck massage, or a kind touch on the arm may be more sensitive way to communicate support.
Remember, although touching and hugging are of extraordinary value, the most cherished gift we can give is our acceptance of others' unique feelings and needs. This means that our decision to communicate through hugs or touch must always be based on respect for what is comfortable for that person.
Say it with hugs to emphasize the message...
We may say aloud, "Let me know if there's any way I can help."
A hug adds, I REALLY MEAN THAT!
We may say aloud, "I like you."
A hug adds, I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT YOU. IN FACT, I LOVE YOU A LOT!
Punctuate with a hug!
Say it with hugs when words are awkward or hard to say...
We may know the appropriate words but find them really difficult to say out loud, especially if we're shy or overwhelmed by feelings. At such times we count on the language of hugs.
A hug can say things like:
Even ordinary words like hello and goodbye are sometimes very hard to say.
Say it with hugs when words can't express it...
Although we may speak from our most authentic selves as we reach into our deepest feelings, talk can only go so far. An embrace from the heart often cannot be translated into words.
When we allow ourselves to be in a still place of inner awareness, the message of vitality, spirit and love that we all carry within us is often felt, given, and received in a place beyond language. To reduce this experience to words, either inwardly or out loud, may diminish a very profound message.
Besides using the magnificent gift of language, we must also respect intuitive, wordless wisdom and listen with our hearts. This is how we hear the greater meaning of the mystery we have named love.
Karen Keating is a mental health counsellor and consultant in private practice [...]
The theme of her life is, she says, 'to feel, know, and teach the many dimensions of love: courage to struggle; vulnerability to give and to receive; sensitivity to compassion and the power of anger; openness to the delight of play and the deep, deep pleasure of a warm embrace'.
[taken from The Second Little Book of Hugs by Kathleen Keating]
"But," I hear some of you cry, "I am not the hugging type. I cannot get close enough to people. They'll think I'm silly. Soppy. And who would want to hug me ... or be hugged by me? Sighhhhh....."
Do not fear! Anyone ANYTIME A N Y W H E R E can become the hugging type! Remember, you do not have to hug everyone you meet in the street. Just those people for which it feels right to you. I'm sure you can think of someone you know ... just one person ... who you want to hug. Yes? Of course can!
Now here is a lesson especially for you. Follow me to the sun dappled glade by the Snugglepond, friends...
A few minutes pass by as we enjoy the winding path through the alt.cuddle.land woods to the Snugglepond.
"...Right. Here we are. Why don't you relax. Lie down on the soft green grass. Fold your arms behind your head and watch the clouds floating by ... relax ... quietly now."
Steve reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small yellow fluffy duck by the beak. He plonks the small yellow fluffy duck on the grass. He reaches into his pocket again and pulls out a shimmering skyblue rod which BHH had so generously presented to him on her return from her wanderings beyond alt.cuddle.land. The sky writer!
The Learning to *HUG* visual aid!
Steve refills his sky blue sky writer by dipping it in the glimmering rainbow which arches across the sky of alt.cuddle.land. Ripples chase each other back and forth along the length of the rainbow.
Steve reaches up and pulls the sky writer across the sky. Using quick strokes and slow sweeping curves in the sky. Pulling and shaping the small white fluffy clouds. Sparkles erupt from the end of the sky writer as it leaves a trail of rainbow colours across the sky. An image slowly begins to form.
Small blobs of shimmering rainbow colours drrrrrip down amongst the alt.cuddle.students lying in the grass. The blobs fizz and quietly evaporate away leaving behind a faint coloured mist. Gradually the mist flows over the meadow forming a shallow kaleidoscopic cloud of colour which drifts around the students lying on the grass. It flows out across the pond and down into the burrows where 20000 tickle bunny ears twitch, silently listening to the lesson.
Steve finishes his sketches in the sky and turns to his students.
"Now. Either close your eyes or just look up at the sky."
As the students stare up at the sky the image of two people hugging gradually becomes apparent amongst the whispy clouds and streaks of rainbow colour. The image is angled so that they are peering over the shoulder of the person being hugged.
"Picture yourself being gently hugged....... Doesn't it feel wonderful? Doesn't it feel warm? Someone is offering you ... I mean, YOU of all people! ... their support, their comfort. They are demonstrating their caring, their feeling. Wouldn't it be great to know that someone cared that way about _you_ ... and to have it demonstrated like that. Whow!"
"Now. Spin around the scene. Take a look at the hug from the opposite point of view ... through the eyes of the hugger ..."
Reaching up Steve waves the sky writer at the sketch in the sky. With a rush of air the picture spins around leaving small cloud trails across the sky. It drifts to a halt so that everyone is now looking over the shoulder of the person doing the hugging.
"... Melt yourself into them. Flow your arms along their arms and around the other person. Meld your body into their's until you become that hugger. Giving that hug."
"Take a pause for breath. Listen to your feelings. Doesn't it feel wonderful? Doesn't it feel warm? You are offering someone your support, your comfort. You are demonstrating your caring, your feeling. Wouldn't it be great to show someone that you cared about them ... and to demonstrate like that. Whow!"
"Have you noticed? Have you noticed the symmetry? Both the giver and receiver, the hugger and the huggee, are enjoying the same wonderful, warm, glow-inside feelings. Perhaps for different reasons, but the feelings are completely mutual."
"Now. Enjoy the hug ... from both perspectives ... for a little while longer and then read on."
The students gradually open their eyes and sit up. Once everyone is back 'with it' Steve continues,
"So, now you have experienced the hug from both sides. And have experienced the same wonderful feelings on both sides. Hopefully you can now see that there's nothing to be afraid of in hugging someone...
They'll enjoy it.
You'll enjoy it.
They'll enjoy you.
You'll enjoy them."
"Start gradually and you'll soon grow to love hugging and being hugged. Soon you'll be hugging everyone who is special to you, and perhaps even some of those who aren't so close. Demonstrating your feelings. And what's more. You'll be having a GREAT TIME!"
"And if that isn't enough to be going on with, you'll get closer to those people you are hugging. A few of your outer layers will gradually be peeled off revealing more of you underneath. More of the REAL YOU. And once the real you starts showing through you won't look back."
A small black fluffy cloud, looking surprisingly like a small yellow fluffy duck which has been dipped in a large sack of soot, moves across the Sun, plunging everyone into shadow. It starts to rain, but being an alt.cuddle.land raincloud it is not raindrops which tumble down from this raincloud. Instead, the sky is filled with gumdrops, lemondrops, fizzlyswizzlytickleyourtongue drops, pinkdrops, green drops, stripeyfruitytangy drops.
Steve's sketch is gradually rinsed from the sky.
Soon the small black fluffy cloud moves on its way. A job well done.
The sky and the land is sparkling once more. Off the small black fluffy cloud floats. Off to tidy up another messy corner of alt.cuddle.land.
As the cuddle students drift away they are each handed a leaflet. It reads...
o---------------------------------------------------------------o | Remember this... | | The tendency is always that people grow to like being hugged | | and to depend on them rather than the reverse. You don't meet | | too many people who say "I used to hug a lot and I hated it. | | I gave it up. I'm glad no-one hugs me anymore." | | So go out there and try hugging. YOU'LL ENJOY IT! | o---------------------------------------------------------------o
[Taken from ... wasn't taken from anywhere this time. Just from inside Steve head.]
I have recently become concerned about the standard of some of the bouncing and flouncing that has been going on... I am not sure if some of the perpertrators are fully aware of the possible consequences of their actions. Many seem unaware of the hazards of bouncing.
There's also been some lack of style.
To remedy this situation I have dug around on my bookshelf in my rude hut in the woods and found the following piece which I think will fit quite well into my Learning to *HUGUGHUGH* series.
Please gather around - I have laid out a few logs in my garden for you all to sit on and cleared a space well away from the duck pond for you to practise your newly acquired skills. Please still remember to take care though ...
"Tigger," I began, when we were all assembled at our meeting place near the Six Pine Trees, "as you are the Forest's most constant athlete, why don't you lead off the session?"
"I've explained that individual exercise works best when it's geared to the individual - to his Shape and personal taste. Now, Tigger, you have a distinctive and very individual exercise. It's simple, good for just about any part of the body, requires no props, and can be done anywhere. Why don't you tell us about it?"
We all looked at Tigger expectantly.
Tigger smiled nervously.
We all looked a little more expectantly.
Tigger grinned nervously.
So we all looked at Tigger with Extreme Expectation (and a little impatience), and he backed away a bit and said, "Tell you about what?"
"You know ... that famous ... oh, you know, that jitter with a sort of dashing push in it and a touch of crash. _You_ know."
"He means Tigger's _bouncing_," said Piglet, getting behind Pooh.
"Shh," Tigger told me. "Don't let the others hear."
"It's a little late to keep it a secret. Besides, BOUNCING, is a fine exercise, and a very Friendly one."
"That," said Piglet, "depends on who is doing the bouncing."
Strangely, there are very little data on this celebrated exercise. No manual you might consult shows anything in the way of procedural exposition or diagram. In fact, the manuals scarcely mention bouncing at all.
How does one bounce then? How _exactly_? This is like asking, How does water get wet? You don't ask, you just bounce. And _how_ you bounce is ... well, as Tigger explained it, "I just see someone I know, and that makes me feel Friendly, so I sort of patter up near him to say something or so."
"He comes up _behind_," said Piglet. "And fast!"
"No I don't. I come up near his back for a Friendly Surprise. And then I sort of ... I ..."
"Bungle all over him," Piglet filled in. "Why don't you ask Tigger to tell about the Hazards of Bouncing?"
Well, there are hazards in any sport, and I must admit that boucing is somewhat controversial, though nowhere near as much so nowadays as it was when Tigger first arrived in the Forest with his habit of Bouncing by Friendly Surprise.
"How did you fall in, Eeyore?" asked Rabbit.
"I didn't," said Eeyore.
"But how - "
"I was BOUNCED," said Eeyore.
"Oo," said Roo excitedly, "did someone push you?"
"Somebody BOUNCED me. I was just thinking by the side of the river - thinking, if any of you know what that means - when I received a loud BOUNCE."
"Oh, Eeyore!" said everybody.
"Are you sure you didn't slip?" asked Rabbit wisely.
"Of course I slipped. If you're standing on the slippery bank of a river, and somebody BOUNCES you loudly from behind, you slip. What did you think I did?"
"But who did it?"
Eeyore didn't answer.
"I expect it was Tigger," said Piglet nervously.
"You bounced me," said Eeyore to Tigger gruffly.
"I didn't really. I had a cough, and I happened to be behind Eeyore, and I said 'Grrr-oppp-ptschschschz.'"
This last remark is a fair if somewhat sketchy description of how bouncing is performed, hazardous though it be.
Experts have not been able to agree on whether it is more beneficial to give a bounce than to receive it, but the Forest has agreed that Tigger has best concentrate on bouncing only at those who like getting bounced, such as Tigger's shadow, which puts up with it, and Roo, who entirely enjoys it. Beginners who wish to attempt it might want to get into open country first, so as now to risk any Bouncing Hazards.
"I don't think I'd be very good at bouncing," said Pooh. "Even after all the time I've spent around Tigger, I still don't understand what bouncing is for."
"I don't like bouncing very much at all," said Piglet.
"Tigger didn't reply to this in so many words, but he muttered "Grrr-oppp-ptschschschz" and stalked off.
[Taken from Pooh's Workout Book by Ethan Mordden]
I've something slightly different for you this time -- just to keep you on your toes. This lesson will teach you, by example, how to spend those moments when you are _not_ charging around cuddling and snuggling and pouncing and flouncing. Those moments when you want to be quiet and sit still for a moment and there is no one within an arm's length to grab hold of and cuddle quietly and gently. In such moments you should just sit and listen to the sky. Exercise your imagination instead of your legs and hugging arms.
So here goes. Pooh Bear and the gang will now demonstrate the technique.
Take note of the final paragraph -- I think ... I hope ... it applies equally well to Alt.Cuddleland ... Yes?
"What I would like," said Christopher Robin, "is one for Pooh, Piglet and me."
"An exercise of course! But a very quiet one. Something without balloons and pots and things. Something for when we're having our picnics at the top of the Forest. A quiet, sharing sort of exercise."
"A tidy one," said Piglet. "Something smallish that doesn't bump about quite so much as the others do. But then," he added sadly, "I don't imagine it would be an exercise any more."
"You mean," I said, "something for when you've eaten and everyone is sitting back or lying down, talking about when you last saw theKing of Belgium?"
"Yes," said Christopher Robin. "When no one knows where you are except the grass and the trees, and they won't tell."
"Yes," said Pooh. "That time."
"Just that time," said Piglet.
"There's a special exercise that you could do then that no one else in the Forest can: Listening to the Sky."
"Why can't others do that?" asked Pooh.
"Because this exercise calls for sensitivity, for taking in what goes on around you. It's almost as if you were watching the world do _its_ exercises, and that takes a certain sense of the world that the others don't have. Rabbit is too busy and Tigger too bouncy. Kanga always has her eye on Roo. Owl doesn't listen and Eeyore only hears thunderclouds."
"Is that what it is?" Piglet asked. "Listening to the sky?"
"Sensitivity can take that form."
"And _we_ can do that?" said Pooh. "By ourselves, quietly together?"
"We just lie there and listen?" Piglet asked. "We don't move at all?"
He seemed doubtful. "This is the first time I've ever heard of a lazy exercise. What part of the body is it good for?"
"The soul. Your imagination needs a little workout every now and then too, you know."
"I like it," said Christopher Robin. "But what are we supposed to hear the sky say?"
"I can't tell you that. It's different each time and for each person. Everyone hears something else."
They thought this over for a bit. Then Christopher Robin said, "Let's go a picnic, and try out our new exercise."
"It isn't new," I told him. "You've been doing it all your life. You just didn't have a name for it."
"It sounds like doing Nothing," said Christopher Robin.
"That's just what it is."
"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
"This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing now."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh again.
"It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh.
They walked on, thinking of This and That, and by-and-by they came to an enchanted place on the very top of the forest called Galleons Lap, which is sixty-something trees in a circle. Being enchanted its floor was not like the floor of the Forest, gorse and bracken and heather, but close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green.
It was the only place in the Forest where you could sit down carelessly, without getting up again almost at once and looking for somewhere else.
Sitting there they could see the whole world spread out until it reached the sky, and whatever there was all the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.
"Why is it that you are recommending an exercise like this?" asked Piglet. "I thought you only liked bouncy ones."
"I guess I'm finally trying to see things your way, Piglet."
"Come on, Bear," said Christopher Robin.
"The best thing about it," said Pooh, "is that instead of having to go home after the party with all the fun suddenly over, _we_ get to start another party. I like that."
"Coming?" Christopher Robin asked me.
"Not this time."
As they headed off to Galleons Lap, I stood very still where I was, and I, too, listened: to the whispers and song of an Enchanted Place, one that will stay Enchanted, I had come to realize, no matter what wind blows in from other, less enchanted places.
[Taken from Pooh's Workout Book by Ethan Mordden]
It is better to have hugged and been hugged back than to keep your arms closed and be thought a fool!
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Last modified: November 05, 1998 by Locksley