My body said “Hug a tree”

What do I need in this moment? Let me ask you, my body, what do you need in this moment? As I relaxed into a meditative state…

The first thing that became clear was that I needed to take care of some errands related to my finances. I could really feel that the fact that I have been postponing them has been causing lots of stress in my body. Just like a lot of things in our lives that become the “blind spots”.

After promising to get to them as soon as possible, I asked again, “What else do you need?” Because I was hundred percent sure there was more. And how could I know that? Because I wasn’t hundred percent relaxed.

Then the body said something that most people would dismiss as trivial.

“I need to hug somebody.”

The moment I heard that I began to really feel the tension stored in my body. I missed getting a hug, I missed giving a hug, like deserts miss the rain.

This is something no blood test will show you. This is something no doctor will tell you- other than the doctor called “your body”.

There is no such thing as Vitamin Hug according to medicine. Yet there is, according to your body.

As I started to visualize hugging people, I felt the deprivation even more strongly. Because it felt so good, it felt so damn needed. It felt so necessary. My Vitamin Hug stores were empty.

Hugs were a MUST-HAVE. Like a wi-fi connection.

The curious thing was, I wasn’t aware of my strong need to connect with humans on a physical and emotional level like I am always aware of my need to get the wi-fi password at the cafes I hang out. Why is that? The moment I sit in a cafe, oh wait, before I even sit on the chair in a cafe, as I walk towards the table I have picked, I ask for the wi-fi password. The sooner I connect to the world wide web, the better for me.

As always though, there are always signs or people that try to bring your blind spots into your attention.

When I had read the following words by Shaman Durek on his Instagram page a little while ago, I had almost belittled the idea by thinking, “Come on, it can’t be that necessary, I can’t hug people for 8 seconds.”

“We have become a society of people afraid of touch. We substitute affection for infection. How difficult is it to give someone a hug that last more than 8 sec. Yet we touch each others hands that carry millions of germs potentially dangerous germs that can wreak havoc in our physical bodies. Connection is the lost code in our global community. We see, we hear we don’t touch. It’s one of our most highly attuned senses. If we don’t embrace the sacred connection that we have all been born with, we run the risk of lossing the gift of giving and receiving energy to our sisters and brothers.

I have obviously not been embracing the sacred connection. This deep need that seems to have turned into a yearning. And it didnt take me long to also realize that I was not only in deep need of giving and receiving a hug, but also I was embarrassed by the fact that I needed to hug my fellow humans. I didnt have a boyfriend, I didnt want to hug anyone else for 8 seconds or more.

Science has proven that hugs are healing. They heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger by increasing oxytocin levels. They can make you feel happier because of lifted seratonin levels. The gentle pressure on the sternum when you hug someone stimulate the thymus gland which boosts the immune system. By increasing blood flow to soft tissues hugs can soothe your pain. The list goes on.

But none of us needs all this scientific evidence to know that hugs heal, do we?

The problem isn’t that we wouldn’t be able to list the benefits of hugging if we were asked. The problem is that we feel embarrassed of needing them. The even bigger problem is the fact we are not even aware that we need them. Now that I had found out that I needed them, I decided to tackle the first problem: I didn’t want to hug a human.

So I asked my body this,

“Can I hug a tree?”

I thought my body was going to say something like,

“No, you absolutely cant. It will not be enough. You have to hug a friend or a family member. Humans need humans.”

But no, my body didnt give me the “logical” answer I was dreadfully expecting to hear.

Instead she said,

“Yes! For us trees are persons, too.”

What a relief.

Oh wait, now I have to deal with the embarrassment of hugging a tree in public. I should set the alarm to 5 am or something, and go to the nearest park when everyone is asleep. After all, this is the country of self-concious people. This is the country of people who care too much about what others are doing. This isn’t United States where you can get away with walking around in an Elvis Presley costume. Even there I’m sure I would feel self-concious, or there would be people laughing at me.

This reminds me of why I love animals so much, and why I believe, Danielle Mc Kinnon, a well-known American animal communicator says that animals are here to teach us unconditional love. None of the animals in that park, none of them will give a damn about why the heck I might be hugging a tree instead of doing something that “makes sense”. I’m positive I won’t get a “She’s such a weirdo” look. I won’t feel as if my job in society is to make sure I don’t surprise or shock anyone by doing “weird” things.

Don’t you want to run into the wild when you think about the daily fascism in our societies?

Without the pressure of human eyes, wouldn’t you feel unbelievably liberated?

I’m sure this is how Jane Goodhall, the world famous primatologist, felt when she ventured into Africa at the age of 26 to study chimpanzees. Her goal wasn’t to be able to hug trees without getting judged, but I’m sure if she tried, no chimpanzee judged her. Chimpanzees seem to know the value of touch, the meaning of physical connection, and hugs…

Have you watched the video titled “Jane Goodall Is Hugged By Rescued Chimp.Touching!”. Before getting released back into the wild, the chimpanzee gives Jane Goodhall a hug, and it lasts 20 seconds. Yes, I counted it. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Would I be able to hug someone that long?”

Would you?

I realized I had already answered that question. That’s why I just set my alarm to 5 am in the morning. To an hour where the nature is waking up but the human eyes are still closed.

And yes, as always, the scientifically curious part of me wants to sit down and learn everything about every single research that has been done on whether tree hugging is truly therapeutic.

But I won’t. Not yet. I will trust my body that she knows what she’s talking about. And let’s not forget about the potential “placebo effect”, too. If I know too much about how trees benefit us when we hug them, I might end up feeling better because I was conditioned to feel better. There is no need for hours of research- I will run my own experiment.

So, at this moment, my question is not whether hugging a tree will be healing for me.

My only question is: Will the tree hug me back?

Safari in South Africa 1: The Message of the Giraffes

1985 yılında Türkiye’de doğdu. İlk yazı deneyimleri ilkokulda yazdığı şiirlerle ve yine ilkokulda kendi elleriyle yazarak çıkardığı bir dergi ile başladı. NatureLife, Yeşil Öfke, Boardrider Magazine, Yeşil Gazete gibi yayınlarda yazıları yayınlandı. Sörfçü olma ve gezegenin doğasını koruma hayalleri onu Türkiye’den Hawaii adalarına attı, ve University of Hawaii’den Çevre Bilimleri diploması alarak döndü. Hayvancılık sektöründeki gerçekleri öğrenmesiyle beraber, bu hayallerine hayvanlar için özgür bir dünya yaratma hedefi de eklendi. Çaresiz ve öfkeli hisseden kitlelere umut ve ilham vermek adına, dünyada ekoloji, ve hayvan ve insan özgürlüğü adına yaşanan güzel gelişmeleri paylaşmak için Facebook’ta Oyunu Doğaya Verenler sayfasını kurdu. Hedefi dünyayı gezerek bu güzel hikayeleri anlatmak.