I received an email from the head of a networking group. “It was great to see you at the event this week – do you want to join our organization for the year?”

I thought about what it’s really like for me to attend networking events. I register for them hoping that I’ll be willing to go when the evening arrives. When the day comes, I try to talk myself into it. I tell myself, “You’ll be home before you know it,” and “Once you get there, I’m sure you’ll warm up to it.” These aren’t the thoughts of someone excited about an event. They are the thoughts of someone doing something that they should.

“I should network,” I tell myself. “If I don’t and my business fails, it will be my fault.” This negative thinking is how I can get trapped into doing things I don’t really want to do. And so I took a risk. I emailed her back and said No Thanks.

Saying No was good for my creativity

A while later I had an idea that tickled me. What if I offered free hugs at the local farmer’s market. If someone asked why I was out there, I’d tell them about Cuddle Sanctuary. It would be a marketing activity that was fun. The concept felt whimsical. I scheduled it and invited others to join me.

New Year's Resolution

Kate and Natasha offer hugs.

After that first event, I remember feeling so infused with happiness that I had a hard time focusing on my work later in the afternoon.

New Year's Resolution

As the weeks passed, Fei joined me and sometimes came on her own. We spoke to lots of people about Cuddle Sanctuary and a few became clients. At one point, a Russian language media outlet asked to interview me and get footage giving free hugs. I enjoyed how random it was!

New Year's Resolution

More fun.

I have no way of measuring it, but do you think it’s possible that the activities I do with joy have better results than the ones I do out of duty?

In 2018, I want to be free.

What would it be like if delight were my true north? What magnificent things might happen in my personal life and for Cuddle Sanctuary in 2018 if I tried that? That’s what I’m aiming to find out.

Would you like to join me? If you’d like to, here are some ways to get started.

Practice delight with “low risk” decisions

As you make small choices in your life – such as what to wear for the day or what side dish to make with dinner – ask yourself, “Which option would delight me?” (Sometimes I wear a dress around the house rather than jeans – just because!)

Make a delightful list

Start a list of people, things and activities that delight you. See if you can make it to 100 items.

Here’s a sample.

  1. Mangoes and sticky rice
  2. Making my sister laugh
  3. Being cooked for
  4. My fleece blanket

This list will be handy for when you need a boost of delight.

Include delight in your experience of touch

When having a touch experience – with a friend, cuddle buddy or lover – ask yourself, “What would make this even yummier?”

“Can we hold hands a different way?”

“Would you hug me a little tighter?”

“May I caress your face, too?”

If you get a Yes, bask in the delight of the new sensation.

Enjoy the learning curve

So far I’ve learned that this delight thing takes some practice. Remember how much fun I had with free hugs? It was really fun at first. But then I made a rule for myself that it needed to happen every week. What started out as whimsical evolved into a should. Are you surprised that it became less delightful?

This means 2018 is about practicing delight, not perfecting it. I will be a learner. I will let delight be my teacher. And you can, too.

(Psst! Want to see the interview in Russian? Here it is.)



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