Touch; I am learning to be receptive to human contact

photo by Nataki Bhatti

I love this image!  The gesture.  Her head was resting on his shoulder, but I couldn’t capture it. I was at a convention and appreciated, among thousands of people, how couples shared their space.  I love how body language speaks of the relationship we have with ourselves and others. Can you imagine there are people existing that may never be touched by anyone?!!! 

I always ask my daughter to touch me. “Can you put your healing hands on my back?”  Brings back memories of my mother asking me to rub her back.  I begrudgingly would, and so does my daughter. Today, I understand.  My daughter’s hands are healing for me.  With first contact the soft pressure of her hands, feels like I am lifted.  I can’t really describe the sensation, except, my spirit responds with such acknowledgement and gratitude.  I can only close my eyes and give thanks that my daughter loves me, and I feel her love in her hands.

“Recovery becomes a contact process; we lose the fear of touching and of being touched. We learn that a simple, loving hug can make all the difference in the world when we feel alone. We experience real love and real friendship.” (We Do Recover)

Recovery, change, is a wonderful journey.  I learned along the way that I feared touch.  “Don’t let people touch you” was imprinted in me.  Or touch was punitive.  As a girl, I know there were embraces but they felt awkward to me.  And much of my trauma involves my personal space and body being violated.  I couldn’t separate good touch from bad touch.

I admire people, especially of the same gender, who can nonsexually, openly and freely touch each other. I had a friend who was a cuddler.  And once she said she wanted to cuddle with me.  I just didn’t know what to do with that!  Didn’t happen, but the intent remained a question.  

I feel like I embrace many, I can give hugs easily as that is a cultural standard.  I share with an open heart, emotional sincerity.  Lately though, I long for that human contact.  Why can’t friends walk down the street holding hands?  When I was in South Africa, men would dance together holding hands, that blew my mind. Touch is a human need.  I lament that so much of it is sexualized. 

As usual, it starts with me.  As a mother, I make a conscious effort to embrace my children.  But in public, I am very rigid about my space, people know not to touch me.  I have to nurture a sense of safety and trust enough to open myself to touch.  There is so much love exchanged through touch.  

I’m about to google hug shops and touch therapy to see what I come up with.  

2 thoughts on “Touch; I am learning to be receptive to human contact

  1. Beautifully expressed. Did your google search come up with anything interesting? I thought of cuddle parties. It was the longing to touch in a deeply present and unconditional way that took me into doing tantra massage though obviously that includes sexual it is also a different touch experience to partner sexual touch.

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    1. I’m actually very interested in tantra, and learning about its properties. I did find a site http://www.cuddleparty.com/! They do exactly what you describe with trained facilitators. As a conceptual artist, I may challenge myself to explore touch, touch exchanges, touching without touching. Thank you for your comments!

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