An Epic Cuddle Party Experience – Edie Weinstein

By Edie Weinstein, Certified Cuddle Party Facilitator #27

A Cuddle Party is safe space designed for connection through cuddling and physical touch.

Put on your jammies, sweats, or yoga clothes; the more colorful the better. Gather on the blankets spread across the ballroom floor with others who are eager to embark on an adventure in affection, friendship, communication, boundary setting, and safe, nurturing, non-sexual touch by consent. Give yourself the ultimate gift of saying a full out yes to what you want and an absolute no to what you don’t want, guided by people who are specially trained to co-create magic and wonder. Between them, Monique Darling, Peter Petersen and Edie Weinstein have decades of experience facilitating thousands of workshops and cuddling countless people.

Cuddle Party Back Story

Here is the once-upon-a-time back story to this world wide phenom. In 2004, relationship coach/massage therapist Reid Mihalko invited a bunch of friends to a party in which other massage professionals could experience the pampering they gave others, since those who do this work often don’t have the opportunity to receive. He also invited friends who were not in the field who questioned how they could possibly be adept at massaging professionals. In his typical improv Reid way, he suggested a change of plans that included pjs, blankets, pillows and teddy bears, calling it a cuddle party. He created a series of rules to make the event a safe place for strangers to become ‘family of choice’ who could establish trust in regard to touch.

By the second go-around, his friend Marcia Baczynski showed up and collaborated with him to expand it to a 3 ½ hour workshop that included icebreaker exercises, a Welcome Circle that created the container and opportunity for participants to cuddle, snuggle, massage, hug, and dance with full verbal permission of anyone with whom they chose to engage. By the third Cuddle Party TM the media showed up and the rest is history. Since then over 170 people world-wide have taken the training to become Certified Cuddle Party facilitators.

Cuddle Party Rules

  1. Pajamas stay on the whole time.
  2. You don’t have to cuddle anyone at a Cuddle Party, ever.
  3. You must ask permission and receive a verbal YES before you touch anyone. (Be as specific in your request as you can.)
  4. If you’re a yes, say YES. If you’re a no, say NO.
  5. If you’re a maybe, say NO.
  6. You are encouraged to change your mind.
  7. Respect your relationship agreements and communicate with your partner.
  8. Get your Cuddle Party Facilitator or the Cuddle Assistant if you have a question or concern or need assistance with anything during the Cuddle Party.
  9. Tears and laughter are both welcome.
  10. Respect people’s privacy when sharing about Cuddle Parties.
  11. Keep the Cuddle space tidy.

The success of the workshop is based in part on meeting the human need of skin hunger. The words of family therapist Virginia Satir could just as easily be written on a prescription pad: “We need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth.”  Hugs and cuddling meet skin hunger needs, which are just as vital for wellbeing as food hunger. Without nurturing, non-sexual touch, by consent, we fail to thrive. Touch need not be shared only or primarily between sexually intimate partners. It is not only possible but indeed, enjoyable to cuddle/hug with platonic friends.

Those who attend come from all walks of life, all ages (18+), professions, relationship status, gender presentations, sexual preferences, body types, and abilities. I like to say that those you meet at a Cuddle Party could just as easily be met in a supermarket check- out line. Cuddle Party helps to ease social anxiety, encourages building community, is a lab setting to practice what you want to create in your daily life.

This Cuddle Party at Interfusion will be held on Sunday night January 20th at 7:45pm.  In 2016, we estimate that there were over 400 cozy cuddlers in attendance. This year we are aiming for over 500. Will you be among us?

Your Cuddle Party facilitators are:

Monique Darling, Author of ‘Beyond Cuddle Party’ workshop facilitator extraordinaire has led over 1,000 workshops in the past 5 years. She is the founder of Juicy Enlightenment an organization dedicated to empowering people who are questioning the assumptions of how their life should be and to offering tools for self- expression that create trust, inner knowing and wisdom to enjoy the life they have. Monique has been featured on TLC and The Dr’s as well as various radio shows, podcasts and magazines across the USA. She specializes in helping others reclaim their power and natural sensuality by transmuting fear and repression into courage, self-love and freedom. Monique’s primary purpose is helping folks bring out their vulnerability, energetic embodiment and fearless relating. She guides from a place of understanding and her natural exuberance is infectious! She is available for private sessions, experiential workshops and Cuddle Parties. Learn more about Monique by going to juicyenlightenment.com or track her whereabouts at whereintheworldismoniquedarling.com

Peter Petersen has been teaching qigong for 15 years and has been a certified Sheng Zhen Qigong teacher for the last 13 years, where he has been teaching in health clubs, hospitals, retirement villas, and several different wellness/spa resorts in Mexico and the United States, such as Rancho La Puerta, Mayacamas Ranch, and Present Moment Retreat. Peter is also a personal wellness coach. This qigong practice helps people ground themselves into their “now” to increase their present moment awareness of their behaviors and find solutions to their problematic habits such as: eating, moving, negative thinking, and sleeping. The result of this tool box of healthy information is that clients become their own health advocate and regain a sense of stability, peace, and well-being into their everyday lives.

Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a colorfully creative journalist, inspiring transformational speaker, licensed social worker, interfaith minister, editor, radio host, BLISS coach, event producer, certified Cuddle Party facilitator, certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Cosmic Concierge, the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary and co-author of Embraced By the Divine: The Emerging Woman’s Gateway to Power, Passion and Purpose. She has also contributed to several anthologies and personal growth book, including Taming the Anger Dragon: From Pissed Off to Peaceful. Edie has interviewed such notables as Ram Dass, Wayne Dyer, Debbie Ford, don Miguel Ruiz, don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., Joan Borysenko, Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, Grover Washington, Jr. Noah Levine, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Weaver, Ben and Jerry and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She calls herself an Opti-mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility. Edie writes for The Huffington Post, Psych Central, Beliefnet, Elephant Journal, The Good Men Project, Expanded Family, Happenings Media, as well as a growing number of other venues. Edie is the founder of Hug Mobsters Armed with Love, which offers FREE HUGS events on a planned and spontaneous basis. www.opti-mystical.com

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