Be the Cause

Free Hugs – Houston

I can’t help but notice the initial resistance many of us encounter in the course of our genuine pursuits, however big or small, to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. One can see this pattern repeating itself through out the history of mankind, and it’s frustrating. Just take the guy from the Free Hugs video for example. His genuine intention to reach out to someone and hug them met with so much resistance that the Free Hugs was banned at some point. However, inspired by his courage, conviction and the value of what he was doing, people signed the petition to lift the ban, and the Free Hugs are now taking place in many parts of the world.

This past Saturday, five of us (me, Ash, Naz, Lin and Jayselle) set out to experiment with Free Hugs ourselves here in Houston. We too faced a great deal of disapproval from many of our friends and family. As we walked the streets of Rice Village with signs in our hands that read Free Hugs, we got many “no thanks,” “that’s cute,” “what’s the catch?” among other similar reactions from the passer-byers whom we wanted to reach out to with open arms in the spirit of brightening their day. We even got some strange looks and comments because we were all females, but we figured our intention was pure and that’s all that really mattered.

Not only there was this external “resistance,” but we also had our internal conflict to work on. From the time when we were contemplating the idea of Free Hugs to the point when we actually met up with the signs in our hands, all of us experienced a certain degree of doubt, fear and nervousness. It was so easy to have been discouraged had we not each other. We also realized that once we over came this initial phase of difficulty, things were different. One of the first things I notices was that I was smiling from the core of my being. That courage and strength that initial led us to go out on the streets started to deepen and expand. It didn’t matter what anyone thought of us; hugging felt like just the right thing to do. It was so exhilarating to walk around hugging anyone who accepted our hugs that we have decided to do it again. This time it’ll be in the heart of Texas Medical Center where many people from around the world come for treatment. Who knows, a hug might be one the most beneficial treatments they may receive.

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  • Sukh

    What a great write-up! I feel as if I was part of the entire process. A friend of mine, who started the “Power of Love” Foundation said to me about his fear before starting the Foundation: There is fear before you leap, once you leap all the fear is gone.

  • “HUGS” what an awesome gift to share with the world, but for some reason I am directed at the ones a little harder to get to “The Elderly”………

    See Me

    What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
    Are you thinking, when you look at me —
    A crabby old woman, not very wise,
    Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
    Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,
    When you say in a loud voice — “I do wish you’d try.”

    Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
    And forever is losing a stocking or shoe,
    Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,
    With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

    Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
    Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re looking at ME…
    I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still;
    As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

    I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
    Brothers and sisters, who love one another,
    A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet.
    Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;
    A bride soon at twenty — my heart gives a leap,
    Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;
    At twenty-five now I have young of my own,
    Who need me to build a secure, happy home;
    A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,
    Bound to each other with ties that should last;
    At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
    But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
    At fifty once more babies play ’round my knee,
    Again we know children, my loved one and me.

    Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
    I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
    For my young are all rearing young of their own,
    And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known;
    I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel —
    ‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

    The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
    There is now a stone where once I had a heart,
    But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
    And now and again my battered heart swells.

    I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
    And I’m loving and living life over again,
    I think of the years, all too few — gone too fast,
    And accept the stark fact that nothing can last —
    So I open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
    Not a crabby old woman, look closer, nurses — see ME!

    This poem was found among the possessions of an elderly lady who died in the geriatric ward of a hospital. No information is available concerning her — who she was or when she died. Reprinted from the “Assessment and Alternatives Help Guide” prepared by the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care.

    I send many hugs to the soul of his woman and many like her out in the world. With Love, Criselda

  • maushmi

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments and support. We really appreciate it. More comments below.

    Gianna: So proud of all of u! Looks like u all had fun and u made such a difference! I can feel in my heart..

    Love to you, Gianna :)

    Alfred: That’s awesome . . . really.

    Sunaina: Just adroble…You girls are sooo cute….
    Go, Maushmi.:)

    2trang: Thank you, Maushmi, for sharing this with us. You have been such a powerful organizing force in Houston. Keep up the great work, all of you!!!

    Jayselle: wow, you have GREAT control of the english language. i loved reading that!

    well, i was just wondering about the upcoming free hugs event. i looked on the website and saw that it was on january 27th, but it didnt say the exact time or place. is it going to be at the medical center like we talked about? i may be able to encourage some debakey kids to come out of their comfort zones and join us although…that’s a big maybe. lol.

    DP: I just got back from India and have such a smile
    reading this… wonderful writeup for a wonderful
    event. thanks for the vicarious pleasure :) I laughed
    out loud at the part abt the strange looks and
    comments because you were all gals… haha life is so
    absurd. Y’all rock for being so brave!! Talk with you

  • Vic

    Hey… I ran across this when I did a search about “free hugs.” I no longer live in Houston — I’m going to university in Denton now, where we have free hug mondays, and it’s pretty acceptable considering that it’s on a very large college campus. But I think it’s neat that you guys are doing this where I used to live — I was often in Rice Village or the medical center. Speaking of the medical center, maybe you guys should try it at Hermann park, or is that what you meant by the medical center?

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