Several years ago, I can’t even remember when or how, the idea of a Cuddle Party crossed my path. I read an article or watched a video or some such thing and felt… curious. And a little stirred up. I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was married and it didn’t seem like an appropriate thing to explore.
But the idea activated something in me. A longing. For connection.
Several months after emerging from a devastating separation followed by painful divorce from my husband, the cuddle idea resurfaced in my consciousness. Being “single” (oh, how I hate that word!) after almost 20 years and free to explore whatever I wanted as such, I logged onto Meetup.com and entered the search term “cuddle.” A few options came up. A couple of them being some sort of tantric what-not that didn’t really resonate with what I was looking for.
Then I clicked on Cuddle Sanctuary. What attracted me were the phrases “rated G experience” and “nonsexual touch.” Clear guidelines and boundaries. Totally voluntary. That I could handle. That felt safe. I watched all of Jean’s videos and got a really good vibe. So I decided to attend my very first cuddle event on Valentine’s Day (2015).
(I know, right!!!)
What I discovered was an amazing community of open-hearted people, with Jean as their intuitive guide. At my first cuddle event, I felt very reserved physically, but very open emotionally. Had some really great conversations and left feeling seen, heard, and cared for.
After that, I was ALL. IN.
Why did I keep going back to Cuddle Sanctuary?
Because it felt good.
Because it taught me something new every time I attended.
And, because I am who I am, I naturally wanted to do something creative with that learning. So I really couldn’t stop myself from making a zine for my cuddle peeps called INFINITELY EMBRACEABLE. Then I made a zine called EFFORTLESSLY DELIGHTFUL turning this cuddle zine thing into an official series which concluded with ETERNALLY LOVABLE.
I called this series Change Your Label because that’s what Cuddle Sanctuary helped me do. Release old labels that were critical and self-limiting and apply new labels that were compassionate and self-affirming. My experience at Cuddle Sanctuary helped me embrace myself. I got to practice celebrating who I am and generously offering my unique contribution to that connected community.
While I no longer attend the cuddle group, I’m so grateful for everything that I learned about myself and God in the process. Even with the painful pitfall that I stumbled into, it was a very profitable season in my life because it shined a light on areas that were in desperate need of healing. My experiences at Cuddle Sanctuary, the relationship that blossomed from it, and my ongoing recovery – it’s all part of my story now. But it’s not the last word.
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