Founder – Chief Change Optimist – Author – Host – Speaker – TV/Radio Personality – Mentor
Ariane de Bonvoisin - Founder and Chief Change Optimist

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Saving the World, One Hug at a Time

Can you imagine hugging 100 people in a row? How about 20,000? Amma, known as the “hugging saint,” has done just that—over and over again. She is this tiny little woman from India, who has hugged everyone from United Nations’ ambassadors, Bill Clinton and the Pope to the worlds poorest, and a few thousand stressed out New Yorkers!

She comes to New York at least once a year. When I first saw her about four years ago, there were probably a few hundred of us. Last year there were probably 10,000. She starts off with a meditation, singing and then a discourse about how she sees the world healing. It can take up to 10 hours to receive one of her famous hugs!

After receiving one of Amma’s unique embraces, many people either start crying as the force of her love penetrates their heart that has been closed and guarded for so long. For others, they burst into laughter as joy is what was missing in their lives. Personally, I experienced both. I noticed that the affect of being wrapped in unconditional loving arms was truly long lasting, so much so that it reminded me of the power we each have to make someone else feel adored and appreciated.

And who was the last person you hugged? Really hugged?

For more about Amma, check out Or watch “Darshan: The Embrace,” a movie that captures Amma in action.


It must be wonderful to get one of her hugs. I hope I'm able to see her the next time she graces us with her presence.

I know we all have personal spaces needs, but there's nothing like a good, long, well intentioned hug for lifting your spirits.