Heart-to-Heart with a Hug

Ever since I read this piece last week about hugging meditation – http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/05/04/thich-nhat-hanh-hugging-meditation/
I have been practicing the mindful hug with my kids, especially with my oldest who has a hard time releasing/expressing her feelings and dealing with upset. Her instinct is to shut-down and withdraw. Words do not work with her once she’s emotionally stressed – even empathetic, loving words.

When she struggles like this, I often feel inadequate in my ability to help her. The mindful hug has helped me to “be there” for her, while also making me feel like I’m fulfilling my job as the parent to intervene in some meaningful way. I think it’s helping her to regulate her emotions a bit better too. We’ve experienced a lovely feed-back loop where she’s showing more affection toward me, initiating more hugs and kisses. This is something that she’s never been very big on, but is so special to me.

As a parent coach, I’m trained to look for the small shifts, for the signs of new growth that are emerging just beyond my comprehension. I sense that I am experiencing such a time with my daughter right now; one where we are about to grow into a deeper understanding of each other and strengthen our bond. Maybe we just have to keep hugging like we mean it….

“According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness. “Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.” If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of your care and appreciation will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower.”