Touch me more.
That’s what my body told me.
It might sound like I’m about to write an erotic novel. Rest assured, I’m not.
Yesterday I came back from a women’s retreat and one of the takeaways I had was about the soothing power of touch.
Touch from others and from ourselves.
And how necessary touch is for our wellbeing.
I think we all instinctively know this, but like with many essentials they seem to get lost in modern living and adult life.
When looking at babies and children they need touch to feel loved, to relax, to be soothed. Parents give touch freely and children receive it naturally.
In my own experience of growing up as a girl, there was a lot of touch between friends – we shared hugs, fixed each other’s hair, swapped massages and held hands.
Then a shift happened once we ventured into adulthood and sexuality became a central and active part of our lives. It was as if touch became intertwined with sex and the needs were bundled together. The result being that we put all the emphasis on having our needs for touch met through sex and romantic relationships. (For obvious reasons, I can’t talk about the male experience with touch. If you feel like sharing something that I’m not aware of, I’d love to hear about your experience.)
I believe we need to separate sex and touch. This is not to say that touch isn’t part of sex, not at all. However, it’s more to say that we need touch, which is not about sex. And this is something we can cultivate outside of our romantic relationships. Not just if and when we’re single.
Going back to the retreat experience I had; we did a bunch of different exercises where we held and supported each other with conscious touch.
Especially the following exercise stood out to me.
One woman was asked to lie down and two others sat on each side of her. The one lying down had closed eyes and could relax completely, while the two others would gently cover her body with touch, stroking all parts (except genitals and breasts) while whispering, “It’s ok to let go”. It was such a relaxing, delicious and soothing sensation to be touched in this way. A highly effective way to let go of stress, tension, and to feel soothed.
We talked about how nourishing it was to receive touch with no agenda.
This is why getting massages is such a gift. Of course, I know it’s not always available to us for various reasons.
I invite you to give someone a long soft hug today, to stroke another's back, and if you don’t have anyone around where it would feel appropriate or comfortable, you can massage your own feet, rub your head, massage your ears, rub your belly.
As a part of the Qi Gong practice, I teach, we warm up by rubbing the entire body systematically. When doing this we connect to our own body, we become present, and we help the body relax and open up.
Even now when you’re sitting and reading this, you can pause for a moment, rub your hands together until they are warm and apply your hands on top of your eyes while breathing and gently rub your face. Notice how it feels.
How did that feel?
I’d love to know if you cultivate soothing touch in your own life? Or if this has inspired you to begin. Let me know in the comments below or send me a message.