How far would you travel for a hug?

I interrupt this regularly scheduled Indian food post to bring you my thoughts on the perfect hug.

Here I am in Kovalam, India waiting for the taxi to take me to the airport. I’ve been meaning to write this post for about 2 weeks, and I finally have the mental space, here in the wee hours of the morning. Though it feels a little, hmmm, vulnerable, to put it all the way out there on the internet.

It is 8,586 miles from Kovalam Beach to New York City. About 3 weeks ago, I got in a cab to a plane to another plane to a cab to the beach here. A week after that a few of us heard that Amma would be hugging at her own Ashram, about a 3 hour drive away. So we got in another car and drove. Several hours after arriving at the ashram, I found myself kneeling in front of Amma, otherwise known as the kneeling saint, getting pressed into her crazy soft/strong embrace.

Was there magic there? Yes, certainly. It is so amazing to see someone who embraces all humanity equally. She really does! With joy and love for them all. No matter what. It’s amazing to witness. And, as she whispered sweet nothings in my ear, looked me in he eye, pressed my face back into her chest,I felt….I don’t know how to finish that sentence. I felt something.  Something I didn’t necessarily expect to feel. There was definitely a little magic there.

But was that the hug to end all hugs? Maybe not.

As I drove home that day I thought of three people whose hugs are perfect. My husband, my dad and my brother. These three people give very different hugs. My dad seems to use only one shoulder. My brother does a little pat on the back thing sometimes. The husband gets me in his iron-clad grip with both arms, often lifting me off the ground. And these three hugs are all transformative. These guys have seen me in all my glory and all my messiness both. Many times. They are not anonymous hugs, they are hugs meant for me and my specific, quirky, flawed Laura-ness.. They offer love for not all humanity, but for me specifically. And my hugs are the same for them. What a gift.

In an hour I get in a car to get on a plane to fly 8,568 miles back to New York where I’ll take a taxi back to Brooklyn.  There I will immediately hug the husband, better known as the BHH. I will then, maybe a week or two later, get into another car to go either 150 or 250 miles to wherever I can hug my Dad.  The following month we may all get in a car to a plane to a taxi to go hug my brother.

That’s a lot of travel for a hug. And totally worth it. Thanks Amma for reminding me of the perfection that’s already there.