Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Touch. It Isn’t Just For Perverts Anymore

I’ve been listening to some wonderful tapes (yes, cassette tapes! I still have a player for them in my car too. Yay!) that belonged to the late father of a dear friend of mine. The series is called Magical Mind, Magical Body by Deepak Chopra, MD. Now I’ve heard of him in the past but besides seeing a quote here or there or a short article, I really couldn’t tell you much about him. But, I’ve been totally blown away by what I’ve been hearing and maybe I’ll write more blogs based on what he talks about, but today I want to talk about one of my favorite things that he was talking about. Touch. Not touch in any inappropriate sense (I just came up with the title as an eye-catcher), but caring, loving touch.

I don’t remember growing up in a very touchy, physical home. My memories of childhood were good, but I can’t say that I was hugged a lot. That kind of closeness didn’t start until my sister married into an Italian family. Gosh, everyone was all over everyone like it was so normal. I felt so at home. It freed a part of me. It seemed like it was all just very friendly and loving (there are skeletons in that closet where touch turned to abuse, but that’s for another story another day). Actually, based on what I just put in parathenses, why isn’t there a happy medium for touch? What would a happy medium be?

Lovers in Naples, Italy

Let me define touch. When I talk about it, I mean reaching out and putting a hand on someone’s arm or hand or shoulder or leg during conversation. I mean giving hugs. I mean wrapping an arm around someone when standing or walking with them…and pulling them in towards you during a happy or funny moment. I mean holding hands with my kids or with my Sweet-Smelling Girlfriend. Or, walking arm in arm with a good friend. If it’s a partner, touch is the gentle brushing up against one another during the day while doing even mundane things. It’s a reminder of the love you have for one another.

I have found that so many people are so sensitive to touch. Sensitive in that they don’t know what to do with it. Like it’s so foreign. New Englanders in particular seem to have a distance at which they are and aren’t comfortable with people. Put your arms at full length out to your sides and that’s their personal space. I’m kind of the person that ignores that invisible barrier. I’m not sure if I intentionally do it on a subconscious level or if it’s just me and my thinking that everyone will like it. Don’t forget, when you’re around me, you’ve entered into my fluffy bunnies and happy rainbow world. We touch in my world.

Drawing practice in a college art class.

Humans are sensitive to touch on a physiological level according to Deepak Chopra. Listen to these facts: Your skin is your largest organ. It weighs an average of six to ten pounds. Touch is ten times stronger when communicating than words alone. Premature babies have been found to benefit from touch. They grow and develop faster with it. People recovering from surgeries have been found to also recover faster with touch. If it’s such a powerful healing tool, why are so many people afraid of it?

Touch can bring to mind creepy pedophiles and inappropriate relatives or people from our childhoods that we have in our closets. Maybe if touch wasn’t so taboo, that it was just normal, maybe people wouldn’t have these weird sicknesses involved in needing it so badly and giving it a bad name?

I’m a touchy feely person. I admit it. I come out and tell most people that. That is if they haven’t figured it out in the first hour of knowing me. I’ve been told by many people that I’m too touchy. My Sweet-Smelling Girlfriend’s youngest son called me Touchy Wouchy (however you spell that…it just rhymes). I was once told I was almost creepy in my hugs (what’s a hug if you don’t put some feeling into it?). My ex told me that I’d be perfectly comfortable sitting on her lap with my hands in her pockets eating out of her cereal bowl. Yep. And the problem there is???

Deepak says touch can improve our buoyancy. I like that description in life. Who doesn’t want to be buoyant? I think that it is a way of connecting. Of showing how much I care. If you compare my touching with others’, I must obviously care a LOT. It’s just who I am. I don’t mean to smother those around me with touch. I don’t ever want to make it a bad thing. I guess I’m just hoping that people will see it as the wonderful thing that it is and that they’ll start touching more. I’m just spreading my love. One touch at a time.
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