Since moving to Ottawa 10 years ago, the number of people on the streets with signs asking for something or the other have grown tremendously. “Help me get home” “Coffee please” “I am looking for a home” “Need change for travelling”. Sometimes I walk past, other times I give a donation. There are times I feel quite conflicted between wanting to help and thinking that they need to get a life and get off the streets.
Yesterday morning, I saw a different sign “Free Hugs”. It was a young man maybe in his mid-twenties. A woman ahead of me had just given him a hug. Being a huger myself, I opened my arms and gave him a hug.
“Why are you giving free hugs this morning?” I asked.
“Oh…I got up this morning and was not feeling good. I feel I need hugs and I am here asking for them. Hugs will make me feel better.” He replied with a bit of stammering.
“So have you been getting lots of hugs today?” I asked.
“Yes” He replied. “I met a woman this morning who hugged me and cried because her husband had just left her and she does not know what to do. She needed a hug too.”
We chatted for a while and he told me a bit more about his life. He gave me permission to publish our photo.
My kids think I am crazy talking to people that they call “strange” people. However, I am constantly humbled by other people’s life experiences and how unfortunate circumstances can make a person go from “having it all” to “having nothing”. A few years ago, at the end of a workshop a woman from the class fell into my arms and started sobbing. I remember holding her for several minutes quite confused about what had brought on this strong emotion. At the end, she said something to this effect: “I am so lonely here. I have been here for so many years and have no close contact with anyone. I needed to be held.” The sense of touch and connection is so important in our lives… it is hard to imagine a life without close physical contact with others.
My main reflection after speaking with this man, was that he had the courage to ASK for what he wanted or needed. How many of us can get up on a morning and ASK for what we need? Watching my own little mind whirl around with its thousand thoughts, I realize that I don’t ask for what I need… I just go around in circles, sometimes not feeling worthy to ASK. Kudos to this young man who needed to be hugged and asked for hugs!
TuneIn to what you need in your life. StepUp and have the courage to ASK. The universe is there to provide all things to us. We need to do our part. ASK!!!