Little Body Book
Now, when distancing is mandated, it seems an appropriate time to post the essay and experience of Touch and Feel from my Little Body Book. The book is testimony to 30 + years. as a body therapist studying anatomy/physiology and its similarity and difference in human form. Safe, compassionate touch is essential to the security and confidence of children. Learning the language of one’s own body is essential to recognize and realize therapeutic Self healing.
Touch & Feel
Dictionaries use the words touch and feel to define each other.
Touch…to put the hand, finger, or some other part of the body on, so as to feel.
Feel…to touch or handle, in order to become aware of.
Touch is a gift, an art arising from the desire for connection. The quality of touch determines the quality of connection and influences the quality of our relationships, health, environment and life.
Feeling is the language of the body. The touch and feel of a hot stove is instant. However, when we touch something in order to feel it, presence of mind is essential, presence of body, mind and spirit is grace-filled–both take silence and time to collect.
Focusing the mind on how touch feels can either enhance or disrupt the experience. When the experience of touch has been respectful and healthy, the touch of another person is welcomed and appreciated. Have you ever noticed how a gentle, or firm, touch on your arm, back or shoulders can evoke a grateful yum. Some touch is not safe and can be painful or frightening causing recoil which is likely to be a reminder of a traumatic touch experience.
I have a memory of ugly touch that I don’t like to think or talk about but it is relevant. Many years ago, when I was an uninformed 11 year old child, an ophthalmologist put my chubby body against the wall to use his Ophthalmoscope (the little white light), leaning against me heavily and breathing hard for what seemed like an eternity. I felt discomfort, confusion and fear, knowing something was wrong but was silenced by ignorance and the secrets surrounding social and sexual behavior of the times. Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel, was part of my childhood experience. Unlocking secrets is a vital source of healing information.
Feeling touch requires mental focus. As a body therapist, tracing muscle stress patterns requires my full concentration. Invariably, unrelated thoughts or conversation disconnects touching from feeling. Successful healing and balance is consistently effective when the body, mind and spirit become equal partners in the process.
In order to learn how to touch another with grace,
it helps to learn to touch one’s Self with curiosity,
kindness and compassion.
Read each suggestion, then give yourself quiet time to respond– to touch, to feel and then to identify the feeling. At the end take time to record it in some way for your Self.
Sitting in a relaxed place and position, inhaling/exhaling,
I relax my shoulders downward.
Resting my hands–heels, palms and fingers, on my thighs.
I take a moment to notice the temperature and weight of each hand on each thigh.
Feel the temperature and weight of each hand and thigh?
Is there a difference?
Moving my hands over my thighs, slowly, a few inches forward and back.
Feeling the texture of my clothes and the sensation of the movement.
Do I feel my touch?
Lifting my hands off my thighs; I put them together–fingers to fingers, palm to palm.
Feeling the temperature and pressure of my hands together.
Sliding them up, down, I feel the shapes, contours of each hand.
Now, I hold my hands–hand in hand, feeling them touch each other.
What parts of my hands touch?
Are they touching lightly or firmly?
Do they feel each other?
Are they supporting each other?
I squeeze them noticing how it feels.
Do I feel my touch?
I explore my face and head with my hands and fingers, noticing contours, temperature, texture, touching my mouth, nose, eyes and eyebrows, ears, hair scalp, the shape of my head.
I feel my touch.
If I were to choose to play music now, what would it be? If I were to write a poem about this touch experience, what would I say?
If I were to draw a picture of touch what colors, shapes, lines, spaces would I use?
Do I have permission to consciously touch and feel my Self often?
Norma Edythe Heyser revised from 2008