Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Touch and Presence


We communicate so much by how we touch. Touch is our main form of non-verbal communication. It isn't true to say that we don't use this medium of communication enough, however what is true is that we don't touch mindfully enough. Here's a real simple example - shaking hands with another - where are we in that moment? Very often we are in our heads, thinking perhaps of the next piece like what we might say after the introductions or how we might remember this persons name for the next time we meet....how would it be if we could be there, only there in the shaking of another's hand, absolutely nowhere else....being present to what that touch is communicating - nervousness, joy, shyness, fear, welcome, curiosity....

The thing is, we cannot know what we are communicating to another through our touch unless we are aware of how we are, nor can we know or be attentive to what another is communicating through her/his touch unless we are present in that moment.

Presence is a core element for touch to be sacred. The very first thing is to be here now, in one's body...This has to be the starting place from which to reach towards another .. Embodied, present and with an intention of care. From such a staring place, connecting with another through touch profoundly affects the heart of both individuals. Such touch emanates not from the hands but from the heart, mind, body and spirit of a person; it is an integrated response.

There is something sacred in the energy that is created, some wisdom accessed that is way more than something I can explain through intellect for this kind of wholesome touch "...has the power to connect two souls in a mutual recognition of their shared humanity" (Nelson)

Touch that communicates from the whole person to the whole person is deeply restorative. What I have learned through my years as a massage therapist is that touch may not change the reality of a persons situation, however what is restored in the experience of being touched is connection. Caring touch can lift a person from isolation or loneliness back to a place of connectedness.

The integrity of our touch comes from our heart. We touch others by the way we are with them. Careless touch comes from the hand that is not connected to the heart, where the heart is distracted temporarily or otherwise.

The integrity of our presence communicates.

When touch emerges from the depths of our integrity, it is a channel for tender compassionate care to be given and to be recieved.

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