I’ve adapted the title from The Hippopotamus Song by Flanders and Swan, a duo who used to produce quite humorous ditties which was quite surprising because, apart from their collaboration, they were reputed to hate each others guts.

So here’s my adaptation of the chorus:

Hugs, hugs, glorious hugs,

Nothing quite like it for heating the blood.

So follow me follow, down to the hollow,

And there let us wallow in glorious HUGS!

I was thinking about this subject recently because I come from a generation where you didn’t show a lot of emotion in public, the closest you came to greeting people you met outside the family was a handshake, and my father never, ever hugged me in his lifetime.

So when I went to meet the lady who became my Reiki Master and took me through Reiki 1 and 11, I was stunned when she hugged me – pretty much a perfect stranger – when I left.  But it opened the flood gates for me as I drove home and hugged myself with the image of being hugged.

More years down the track,  in October last year, I attended a reunion of friends from my university days.  We hadn’t seen each other for over 40 years, we all recognised each other, and we all HUGGED each other, which I thought was wonderful.  I don’t know whether any of us hugged each other when we were younger. 

We met at the Royal Festival Hall, on the banks of the Thames River in London. There’s a lovely cafe on one of the upper floors where you can natter, get coffee and food as you need, and no-one interrupts you. We decided to leave via  the bridge beside the cafe  to catch an Underground train from the Embankment Station back to Euston Square for our return trip to where we staying during our holiday in the UK.

As we walked out onto the bridge, a young man turned to me and asked if I would mind if he shook my hand. Bryan said he’d been shaking hands with friends and turned to me as I walked out. So I told him I had no objections at all but, instead of a handshake, on impulse I asked if I could I give him a hug.  He looked quite gobsmacked but nodded, so I gave him a huge hug and a peck on the cheek and wandered off.  I lookedA bee that's just been hugged!

A bee that’s just been hugged!

back and he looked quite stunned. BUT for me it was the most amazing feeling to open my heart to a complete stranger, to enfold him in a warm embrace, and feel such kindness and good feeling towards him.

I thought I’d mention this because we are so careful to keep our distance from strangers. We made our way back to Euston Square in the rush hour where people looked pale, frazzled, distant and unheeding or uncaring about any other people in their way.  What a way to lead your life!

Of course, I can say this with hindsight because I worked in London when I left university in 1970 and I was one of the herds of lemmings in each rush hour. But now I can look back and wonder at how we lead such stress-filled lives which leave us looking drained and soulless and dis-spirited. It may pay the bills but does this way of living pay our hearts and souls with the nourishment they need?

So I thought I’d suggest that you might give consideration to hugging a complete stranger in the not too distant future, perhaps someone who looks a bit down or miserable, or someone you’re simply drawn to. Obviously you need to ask their permission beforehand and preferably with a big smile not a scowl as if you’re about to mug them.  It will lighten not only someone’s life but also feed the fire of love that burns in everyone’s hearts. 

Have fun, have hugs!

PS – Here is the original verse from The Hippopotamus Song:

Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud



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