A loser

fisherman-twilight-72What is a real loser?

You may have heard the expression, “Sometimes when you win, you lose.” There is the flip side, too. “Sometimes when you lose, you win.”

Considering all the times that the 45th President of the United States has called people losers, I’ve been wondering if being called that is such a bad thing.

What if being a loser is learning a cosmic lesson?

Without insulting or degrading myself, I would have to step up to the plate and claim to be a loser.

I lost at love. People I have loved, sometimes passionately and deeply, left for greener pastures. They decided that we were done or that logistical obstacles were too great for us to join hands. Once that decision is made, it seems futile to me to fight it. Some married others. Some seemed to fall off the planet, never to be heard from (by me) again.

I lost at career. I never had what I would consider a dream job. I had some fun gigs as a freelance writer, which included experiences I still treasure, but I never made it into the center stage of a job that filled me with passion and zeal. Despite being a published author, I did not feel exceptionally successful. The what do you do question fills me with angst because I don’t have much to talk about at cocktail parties, which is probably one reason why I am so introverted—and I don’t like cocktail parties anyway.

I lost at things that I wanted very much in life. Bad eyesight ended my baseball career (yeah, so I was still in Little League, but I had to give up the dream.) Being born cross-eyed didn’t help matters with self-esteem. When I became an intimacy junkie in my thirties, I cringed at the phrase “eyes are the window to the soul” because my eyes weren’t the right stuff. It’s only gotten worse with aging.

I am a loser at being able to perceive spirits (no clairvoyance, no clairaudience, no clairsentience, no NDE or OBE.) Despite being intuitive and creative, I feel as if I lost out on the ability to have tangible proof of life in other dimensions than this physical one. When people talk about their astral projection trips or hearing from their deceased loved ones in a variety of intriguing ways, I feel as if I am a loser.

There’s more but you get the idea.


Coping with loss has been a big part of my life. Despair has sucked up a lot of energy. But it has also led to much spiritual growth, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

One of the first things that coping with loss entails is achieving consciousness on more important levels of being human. Society often peddles us a black-and-white, win-or-lose mentality about nearly everything. Win is good and lose is bad. But only when you deal with your own losses do you learn that loss arguably teaches more than winning. And winning often follows the lessons learned from having lost a bunch.

Getting everything you want might feel good in the moment of victory, but in the big picture that may span multiple lifetimes, is winning without losing worthwhile? It is often said in afterlife research circles that we come here to Earth School to learn about love. Part of that is to intimately know separation (i.e., losing.) Losing helps us better appreciate winning—or any of the experiences we succeed at having.


Losing is often a change agent. It forces us to veer off our habitual thinking and doing. As we look for answers or solutions, we have the opportunity to grow and change. It is not always obvious, but we often end up in better situations from our loss recovery. Stories abound about people who lose one job or relationship or living situation only to find a better one, often through circumstances revealed only after the loss.

Going through loss is often not fun, and it doesn’t help when some New Ager does what I just did: you’ll do better, just wait and see. But the more I’ve aged, the more the principle has proven truthful. What I like to do is feel the loss and absorb the pain—not deny the ouches—then look for the gifts or opportunities. I ask myself if I designed that loss for some reason, what is that reason?

Fiction authors put their characters into harm’s way all the time, often as a way to lead their characters to the prize. In so many stories, part of the creative formula is that your characters must struggle and suffer before they triumph.


The concept of losing often supposes that we are living just one life in one environment. We get what we were born with in terms of our genetics and faulty status. The assumption is that if we don’t accomplish what we hoped for ourselves, we’re losers and failures.

Normally people do not account for the possibility that our higher self built our loss into our lives by design. Many of us do not believe in multiple lifetimes or a higher self, so obviously these possibilities are not part of the thought process. Nevertheless, more evidence is coming out that suggests that our lives have certain scripted events that happen to help us learn important lessons.

For one, there are past life readings or hypnosis regressions. These often suggest that someone came into this life to experience certain things, and many times, those things involved loss. In my recent book reading, a suggestion was made that many soldiers were incarnated to experience 1) their own death, 2) the death of a close friend, 3) the death of a son or daughter. All of these would normally be considered losses.

However, in a bigger picture, those losses were simultaneously successes for the soul. They were wins!


You don’t necessarily have to go woo-woo to appreciate how losses can be victories. In one period in my life, and I know this is shared by millions, I found myself hard-up for work. I was single and just had to take care of myself, yet on the other hand, going it alone can also be very scary. Just about all my meager income went to pay my mortgage. One winter I went without heat except for three extremely cold days.

I understand that I was still in the lap of luxury considering how many people are forced to live in dire poverty. It was tough for me, though, and I found myself doing without plenty of pleasures and some of what others would call necessities. Yet as humiliating as it was, it was also a time of great creativity.

The biggest gift was that I found out how much I appreciated what I did have. I was not collecting new stuff; I was enjoying what I already had. I also enjoyed receiving the generosity of a few kind souls who befriended me, showed me love, and made my life happier.


We are taught as kids to fear losing. Parents, teachers, coaches, bullies, siblings, and others learn the art of casting the rhetorical voo-doo spell of insults by invoking the loser concept. Due to all this social conditioning, when someone loses big, he or she is often scarred for life. It’s like a big pile-on. Not only is there the content of the actual loss, but there’s all the mental rubbish that goes with it.

It pays to have a healthy philosophy about losing to help weather the storms of any form of defeat. It’s a bit like the famous story of the salesman who convinced himself to love hearing no because he knew it meant he was that much closer to hearing the next yes.





Hugging stations


By now just about everybody who watches videos online has seen at least one “free hugs” video. This is where someone stands in a crowd with a “free hugs” sign and we the viewers watch as strangers approach.

It’s sometimes pretty emotional. I sometimes feel a lump form in my throat as I watch. I have a weakness for anything that shows people dropping out of the rigid rules of dispassionate, indifferent behavior toward each other to let some love shine, even in this baby step way.

If you really haven’t see one, let’s take care of that right now.

Here. And here.

One of my lingering, persistent fantasies over the years has been the establishment of hugging stations. This carries the free hugs idea to another level.

For my own creative enjoyment, I once invented a fictional character who would travel around the country for the purpose of hugging people. She did it as a way to re-create one of her near-death experience highlights. During her NDE, she was levitated around a circle of light beings, each one zapping her with love energy as she floated by. For her, the feelings were so intense, so amazing, that once she returned to physical life, she was inspired to give some of that feeling to people on earth.

As she went around hugging strangers, she discovered that each encounter built her energy a little more. She became like an energy collector, a human battery. Not only did she get energy from all that hugging, but each person she hugged received the benefit of all the love energy she had stored inside herself.

This is something like the hugging guru, Amma. It’s said that she has hugged over an estimated 36 million people in her life! Amma is so famous that people travel from around the globe to stand in line for hours and make the connection with her, the actual time of a hug being from ten or thirty seconds.


There have been times in my life when I have felt great affection and community. There have been other times in my life when I have felt intense loneliness and isolation. The difference is profound when I feel loved and connected. I am much more creative and outgoing. In isolation, I am more withdrawn, sometimes depressed.

More and more, I believe that others share a similar response. Feeling loved and connected gives us strength and self-confidence. Feeling deprived, we retreat.

From my afterlife research, I frequently encounter suggestions from the spirit dimensions that love flows much more easily there. Whereas people on earth are often conditioned to fear intimacy, to block themselves off from showing and expressing love, the other planes are like hug fiestas. There isn’t much focus on whatever bodies they have; it’s much more of a spiritual bonding experience.

I often wonder how certain things said to happen in spirit would play on physical earth. Would we, could we, create ways and means for increasing human connection in a positive, loving manner?


Temporarily setting aside those pesky issues of logistics, social acceptance, government interference, sexual exploitation, potential for ridicule, and all the rest, what would a hugging station be like? For a moment let’s just assume good intentions for all concerned.

First I envision attractive drop-in boutique centers, not pretentious but comfortable and with a pleasing ambiance. It would be a pleasure to hang out there for a little while. This could entail waiting for a turn, something which could be taken into account in the design of the center. Perhaps it could be adjoining a coffee bar or something similar.

I envision hugging specialists who may be something along the lines of qualified massage therapists or energy workers. In other words, trained. They would be heart-centered individuals who cared about people’s well-being. When hugging someone, they would intuitively send universal love energy.

Hugging is both a sensual and spiritual experience. It possesses feel-good comfort but delivers feel-good emotional satisfaction, too. I can easily remember times when I was feeling funky, nervous, or frustrated, and a long, nurturing embrace brought me out of it.  In some cases I could feel the energy streaming through me, lifting the gloom I had been in.

Someone who approaches this as an erotic diversion or romantic opportunity would send out an entirely different energy. This is also not a venue reserved for youth, beauty, wealth, or perfect health. It’s for everyone, recognizing that we are all spirits temporarily encased in flesh bodies, all equal despite cultural programming.

Qualified hugging specialists would know this and be able to respond to it. It would also be an opportunity to offer and to receive some compassionate communication. Often in our fast-paced world, having someone actually hear us, care about us, and be present with us is a rare treat. This is not intended as therapy, but a quick pick-me-up is welcome.

Meanwhile, not all embraces would be under the auspices of helping someone who’s having a tough day. It could just as easily be a celebration of being alive, a ritual of sharing joy with another human being who could be a complete stranger. Someone having a great day might like to boost that energy even higher with some hugging.


I’ve noticed something in just about every free hugging video I’ve seen. Many of the hugs are touch-and-go speedy. They’re often one-armed hugs, just about anything that avoids intimacy yet still counts (barely) as playing the game. I recognize that this is probably more than enough intimacy for the average person, but for me it feels like cheating, like being given half a potato chip with no access to others.

Hugging for me is both a sensual and a spiritual experience. I do feel it in my body, and it feels good. But my consciousness is often focused on being in a present, healing, and universally loving space. When I hold someone, I often think of our relationship to each other. We could be longtime friends or we could be virtual strangers such as at a workshop, church, or social gathering.

One term I like is the namaste hug. The holy part of me honors the holy part of you. It’s lovely to feel the comfort of someone’s body against mine when my mind is in the namaste space, feeling gratitude for the moment of inclusion. I also like the term soul embraces because it describes that consciousness is the essence of the hugging ritual.

So in my fantasies of hugging stations, I think more of connections that put life on pause for a little while. In my ideal world a soul embrace would be like mutual meditation, a five-minute (give or take) break to share some no-strings intimacy just because … because we are human, we need connection, we need more of a human family feeling, and speaking of feeling, it simply feels good.