January 28

Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs…

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“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” Leo Buscaglia

Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs...
Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs…

“I will not play tug o’ war.
I’d rather play hug o’ war.
Where everyone hugs instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins,
and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.” Shel Silverstein 

Hello there! My name is Hugo and I’m a hugaholic… I capture images of people and other life forms sharing a hug; in common and unusual settings. I travel around the world as a freelance photographer for a news outfit, and every chance I get, I encourage people; couples, kids, families, even strangers, to exchange a hug for my Hugging Hearts – Hug Another Soul Today photography project. How did this hugaholic hug fest start? First, a virtual hug to you {{{HUGS}}} Keep reading…

The first shot above, was taken in Portugal next to an Alexandre Farto, aka VHILS installation. The couple in the shot, Jorge and Carmelita, are good friends not lovers. We met in Lisbon on special assignment and they offered to show me around. I’ll come back to their story in a bit. We definitely bonded and they exemplified what Farto said in describing his silver funicular car that “Beyond nationality lies our most essential humanness.” That humanness also defines the universality and power of a hug…

“A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.” Bil Keane

Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs...
Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs…

There’s something in a simple hug
That always warms the heart,
It welcomes us back home
And makes it easier to part….
Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr., “A Simple Hug”

How did I get into the hugaholic photography business? I wasn’t born that way even though my mom told me I was the happiest and most huggable baby of all her five kids. My move from being a regular, self-conscious stiff Joe to Mr Hugaholic, began five years ago. I was a film major at HK University and took a course on creating documentaries. My professor advised us to find a subject of interest, interview them and document it.

I mentioned the project to my best friend Jenna and she suggested we go see the beloved hugging saint, Amma, who was in NY for a few days. I was curious and agreed to go. “Should I bring my camera equipment? Ask for an interview?” I asked Jenna. “No,” she said, “Just bring yourself and be present with an open heart.” I had reservations but went as planned. It changed my life. We arrived at the Center mid afternoon and watched as thousands of people gathered and stood in line to meet Amma; each got a hug.

We waited patiently for our turn and when it came, I knew something in me had shifted. I was swept away by the most tender, loving hug that enveloped me, lifting away my worries and fears. I felt cocooned by a deep love as the sweet smell of jasmine filled the air and Amma whispered blessings in my ears.  She soon released me, smiled at me with compassionate eyes, handed me an apple, a chocolate kiss, and sent me on my way.  I floated away feeling peaceful and quiet inside in ways I had never felt before.  Suddenly, a voice rose inside me, “Go share your hug a 1000 times over, and then share it 1000 times more.”  it said.  And I did. More below!

“A hug is worth a thousand words.” Author Unknown

Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs...
Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs…

Hold a friend’s hand through times of trial,
let her find love through a hug and a smile;
but also know when it is time to let go –
for every one of us must learn to grow. Author Unknown

The next day, Jenna joined me on the streets as I stopped and asked people if they’d been hugged and if they’d share a hug and a story. I captured it on camera and shared the results with my professor. I got an A but kept going. Each hug I got filled me with happiness, love and peace; always reminding me that hugs cut across all boundaries and make our humanity shine. I joined the Free Hugs Campaign, enjoyed offerings on HugsUnlimited and built my portfolio.

I’ve accumulated hundreds of photos, plus Jorge and Carmelita are my 999th and 1000th hug. When we first met, two years ago, they were volunteers in an Orphanage and suggested I create books and support orphaned babies. I agreed I would when I reached my 1000th hug. They helped make it happen and I’m grateful for that.  I also thank Amma for her special hug that inspired me. If I meet you on a street somewhere, be sure to ask me for a hug. Here’s another one for you {{{HUGS}}}

Soon, I will create my books and start the next set of 1000 hugaholic shots. I’ll share any proceeds I make from my hug photos and coffee table books with an Orphanage (all kids there get regular hugs) in another part of the world. Stay Inspired. Have a blessed day and thank you for stopping by! 🙂
*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs. Thank you all for your patience! 🙂

Happy 2013! This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words, Take Two.  Your challenge this week is to write a post based on this picture: Who are these people? What’s their relationship? Could you use a hug? Why?

Positive Motivation Tip: A hug and humor can save the day… Give someone a hug today! 🙂

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Jorge & Carmelita via WP Daily Post,   Amma, Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrunia, via Wikipedia,

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


amma, creative writing, Details, DPchallenge, Happiness, Hug, Humor, inspiration, life, Musings, nature, Observation, postaday, reflections, Small Stones

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    • TY Madhu! It was a lot of fun to write and I was nicely surprised with how it unfolded and the responses… appreciated. {{{HUGS}}} 😉

  • Lovely and inspiring story. I’ve seen another Blog where they have accepted this challenge, and its amazing to see how such different stories can be inspired by the same photograph

  • This is a great post for the challenge. I was going to enter, but got caught up doing other things. I’m so glad you did, because now I can celebrate vicariously through you! I love this and big *hugs* to you 😀

  • Reblogged this on More Like A Child and commented:
    This would be perfect for my Good News Mondays, but I felt it was so special that it couldn’t wait for next week. I love Amma & I loved this blog post. Thanks so much, Mirth and Motivation for sharing.

  • Amma, Leo Buscaglia, Shel Silverstein, Free Hugs campaign and {{{Hugs}}}. This post combines some of my favorite things in life. Thank you, Eliz, for this hug-fest.

  • Great post. I was lucky enough to receive a hug from Amma and while it didn’t change my life it made me focus on what was most important to me at the time which was a great gift.

  • When words are no longer enough or no words would come out, a hug is all that’s needed. It conveys the intentions of the heart. Inspiring my friend and yes, it felt like 1,000 hugs, even more.

  • […]   Why Does Life Matter? It matters because we come into this world to serve an important role in the lives of those who cross our path. Every life is a valuable one and until we begin to appreciate the relationships, interactions and opportunities we get to express ourselves and to serve each other, we are wasting our lives. Some folks think that life is all roses for some and nails for others but, the truth is that everyone faces some sort of challenge. Even if the grass looks greener in our neighbor’s yard, our neighbor has his/her own struggles and challenges that we are not aware of. So instead of spending time bemoaning what we don’t have, we will be better served to show gratitude for what is and then work at improving our lot. There is no success without some effort and since our lifespans are finite, we might as well put all our energy into making the best of it so our eulogy won’t be filled with regret. We can improve our lives by helping others and making changes that help us become better. We can also make a choice to see the good in each day while working to overcome the not so good. All of life is about effort, service and love and without moving our feet, not much can be accomplished. Start living your life today.   READ: Writing Challenge: Gift Of 1000 Hugs… […]

  • Hugs are so powerful. There are all kinds of words in the human language to help lift someone up or share in someone’s joy, but a hug always does it better.

  • With this covid thing we are moving away when one of the things I’ve always loved are free hughs, it gives me happiness also and above all to receive them from strangers.

  • Hugs are critical to human living. Our current world of social distancing is outright harmful to our humanity and emotional well being. But unfortunately, so is catching Covid. We are in such a tough spot.

  • I loved reading through your article today! Also, the portrait you shared above, by Vigée-Lebrun, is one of my favourite paintings of all time. 🙂

  • Aww this kind of post just makes you feel good reading it! I loved hearing your story as well. Thank you for sharing!

  • So awesome!! I love hugs. I know some people aren’t into them, but I am a big hugger. With Covid, I have been missing my hugs!

  • another terrific post. i LOVE the first quote you shared. saving that in my quote book.

  • Hugs truly generate great energy. They’re very therapeutic and aids our emotional and mental health. Thank you for such a great read!

  • I do really love hugs and I love the quote about them being like boomerangs!

  • Giving a hug helps us comfort those who are sad and lonely. They need it. It’s a sign of moral support and encouragement.

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