Edie’s “Hug Mob­sters” spread love and heal­ing ev­ery­where they go

Edie Moser started a mis­sion to spread love through hugs and put to­gether a flash mob of­fer­ing free hugs to any­one who needed one. And af­ter she had a heart at­tack, she was sur­prised to see that her mis­sion could also help hun­dreds—in­clud­ing her­self!—heal

Woman's World - - Contents -

Edie Moser stood in­side 30th Street Sta­tion in Philadelph­ia, smil­ing as she raised her sign above the teem­ing crowd.

Hug Mob­sters: Armed with Love, it an­nounced to passersby. Catch­ing one man’s eye, Edie called out, “Would you like a hug?” Her heart swelled as he made his way to her.

For the then 55-year-old, wrap­ping her arms around this stranger was just the mis­sion she and a dozen friends had set out to ac­com­plish. Af­ter read­ing about the free hug “flash mobs” pop­ping up across the world, Edie was so in­spired by the idea that she de­cided to form one of her own. And as the so­cial worker looked around, she was over­joyed to see hun­dreds stop­ping to par­tic­i­pate.

“I’m an Iraq war vet­eran,” the man she’d just hugged con­fided, tears welling in his eyes. “I was the only sur­vivor of my pla­toon and have strug­gled with sur­vivor guilt…un­til I met you folks. Can I join you?”

Arm­ing him with one of the group’s signs, Edie watched as their new re­cruit dashed around the sta­tion, dol­ing out hugs with a grin. And, at the end of the hour, as she col­lected her sign and said good­bye—with an­other hug—to the stranger, Edie beamed at how much lighter he seemed.

Sud­denly, goose bumps prick­led her skin. “We’ve got some­thing here,” she said to her friends. And in her heart, Edie knew she couldn’t stop.

A heart-heal­ing act

Over the next four months, Edie put to­gether sev­eral more free hug flash mobs, bring­ing comfort and joy to hun­dreds of folks in her area.

But one day, her new pas­sion hit a wall when Edie had a ter­ri­fy­ing heart at­tack. Af­ter re­cov­er­ing, doc­tors sug­gested a daily walk as part of her car­diac ther­apy. So Edie read­ily walked around the cen­ter of her small town of Doylestown, Penn­syl­va­nia.

“It’s def­i­nitely help­ing,” she as­sured her con­cerned friends and fam­ily. But one day, while walk­ing down the sun­lit side­walk, it struck her that she al­ready had the best ther­apy tool in her arse­nal: the power of a hug.

“Ex­cuse me!” she called out to a woman walk­ing past with a friendly smile. “Would you like a hug?”

The stranger hap­pily agreed, and Edie opened her arms and folded her into a warm em­brace. Clos­ing her eyes, Edie let her anx­i­eties and con­cerns fall away for a full 20 sec­onds, fully en­joy­ing the heart-to-heart con­tact. When they fi­nally broke the hug, Edie saw in the stranger’s eyes that the hug had brought her joy, and they parted with a thank-you.

But as Edie made her way down the street, she re­al­ized some­thing in­side her had changed as well. The hug had forced her to slow down, breathe deep and be mind­ful of the mo­ment— all es­sen­tial tools for heal­ing. But it had also flooded her heart

with joy, peace and some­thing she knew she and many oth­ers could ben­e­fit from: the abil­ity to qui­etly show some­one love, and most im­por­tant, to feel loved in re­turn.

A rip­ple ef­fect of joy and love

Com­bin­ing her walk­ing ther­apy with “hug­ging ther­apy,” Edie made her way around town and into lo­cal busi­nesses, of­fer­ing hugs to any­one and ev­ery­one who wanted one and be­came a lo­cal celebrity in the process.

And the hug­ging did not stop there. Edie be­gan con­nect­ing with other hug­gers through a Face­book group she created, called Hug Mob­sters Armed with Love and be­gan hug­ging her way through street fes­ti­vals, art shows and pa­rades across the state of Penn­syl­va­nia. She even­tu­ally de­cided to ex­tend her hug­ging prow­ess to Ore­gon; Washington, D.C.; New York City; and dur­ing a trip on her 60th birth­day, to the streets of Ire­land! In each place, par­tic­i­pants smile, laugh and even cry, when they ac­cept a hug from Edie. “There’s a lot of love trans­mit­ted in that ges­ture!” one hug re­cip­i­ent said. “Even if they don’t re­al­ize they do, ev­ery­one needs a hug!” said an­other re­cip­i­ent. For Edie, who also of­fers life coach­ing at Opti-mys­ti­cal.com, fill­ing that need is her pas­sion. “We are all con­nected and we all need love,” she smiles. “In a so­ci­ety di­vided by so many things, hugs have the abil­ity to bring us to­gether. I want peo­ple to know that we all have the ca­pac­ity to love and be loved. Whomever I get to hug, I want them to know they are loved—and in re­turn, I have helped my own heart heal, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively!” —Alexan­dra Pol­lock

“Who­ever I get to hug, I want them to know that they are loved!” says Edie

Edie ( in gray), shown here in Nashville, Ten­nessee, formed a hug flash mob called Hug Mob­sters, to spread love to strangers world­wide Af­ter hav­ing a heart at­tack, Edie’s hug mis­sion grew to not only help oth­ers, but to heal too

With a 20sec­ond hug, Edie gives passersby a rea­son to smile

Edie doles out hugs to ev­ery will­ing stranger, hu­man and an­i­mal alike

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