Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Power of Touch...

I had a meltdown at work yesterday. It had been building for days. I had hoped to make it through the shift to my day off today, but life doesn't always go according to plan. A combination of factors over the past week, over the past three years, over the past lifetime, culminated in my retreat to the ladies' washroom where I sat and cried for awhile. One of my managers, bless his big ole heart, came and found me. We had a chat, he gave me a hug and I cried some more. He's been there with me through all of the mess of life over the past couple of years. He was quick to remind me how far I've come, how well I'm doing and that this junk will always be with me in some form or another and that it's okay. It's all okay.

It's amazing to me the power of a hug. I could've stayed in his arms for a long time just crying it all out. I think that's the safety we all long for in this life, that safe space where someone lets you into their heart and just allows you to be who you are, where you are.

This past Spring my back went out. One of my friends came over to care for me. I remember lying on the couch, feeling this wave of pain streak through my body, both physically and emotionally. I started crying from a very deep place in my soul. It was a grief that didn't even have words. She came over, stroked the hair off my face and said, "It's okay, take as long as you need. I'm here." And she just let me cry it out. And I did. And within days, I was back on my feet again.

I have met many people of late, men in particular, who only associate touch with a sexual context. They don't have a file for what soothing, unconditional touch without sexual expectation is like. This is sad to me. We are sensory beings. Our skin is our largest sensory organ. Without touch, we can even die (think of the orphans in Romania). I've blogged before about how I have sought out sex when really I just crave touch, intimacy, connection. I think this is a common mistake, mixing up one need for another.

Remember Juan Mann and the Free Hugs Campaign? Let's hug much. And hug often.

tall penguin

9 comments:

CyberLizard said...

Where I work, there are rules about men going in the women's restroom ;-)

Sorry, I don't mean to be flippant. My first reaction when confronted with emotion is to make a joke.

I am aware of the power of hugs on an intellectual level, but hugs with people other than my immediate family still creep me out. Maybe it's my borderline Asperger's. I never can figure out if I should give someone a hug and I always feel awkward when getting one.

I LOVE getting hugs from my kids. One of the best things about coming home from work is the kids running up to you to get a hug. But I still feel weird hugging my own dad. It's sad.

One of my favorite things as a kid was to climb into bed on Saturday mornings with my dad and snuggle up for a nap. Now it feels strange to just put my arms around him.

Anyway, I don't know what it is about you that seems to draw out all this deep stuff that I wouldn't ordinarily talk about in public. I would never put this stuff up on my own blog. Too much paranoia about people who it's about reading it, I guess.

tall penguin said...

"Where I work, there are rules about men going in the women's restroom ;-)"

If it makes you feel better, he put up a "Closed for Cleaning" sign first. :)

"Maybe it's my borderline Asperger's. I never can figure out if I should give someone a hug and I always feel awkward when getting one."

I know a bit about Asperger's. Yes, it makes sharing hugs a challenge for some. Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure there are others who can relate.

"One of my favorite things as a kid was to climb into bed on Saturday mornings with my dad and snuggle up for a nap."

I feel this joy.

"Now it feels strange to just put my arms around him."

I feel this grief.

"Anyway, I don't know what it is about you that seems to draw out all this deep stuff that I wouldn't ordinarily talk about in public."

I'm so happy for your comments here cyber. I reach out into the ether and hug you. Namaste fellow traveler. Thank you for being you.

jdbartlett said...

*hugs*

Alice said...

*hugs to you*

I used to call my episodes the Deep Blue Funk. Hugs always helped. You need to hook yourself up with a hug partner! ; )

Jo said...

I could defintely use more hugs in my life.

vanessa said...

Kids and hugs. My story.

I think Oliver's 5th word was hug. When he hugs he puts his arms around your neck and squeezes you tight. There is something amazingly pure in children's hugs. I feel like their heart is opening and pouring love into yours.

Theo and I were cuddling in the morning last week. He's getting older so many of our hugs are in bed now (sniff). It's the best part of my day. We were tangled together and he said "We're all noodled up." Brought tears to my eyes. Still does.

Hugs from all of us.

tall penguin said...

I feel like I'm in the Romper Room, looking through the magic mirror...

I see cyberlizard and jdbartlett and alice and jo and vanessa. :)

HUGS FOR ALL!!! Love you all so much. Thank you for sharing this space with me.

Elessa said...

i definitely know what you mean about aching for a hug. i am single and that is the thing i miss most from when i was married. someone to reach out to for a hug when things were not going well. or, someone to hug when there is a moment of joy to pass on the feeling of love for them being there sharing with me.

having the comfort of someone's arms around me just holding me is something i crave.

here is to more hugs in this world!

matt said...

That video is so pleasantly wonderfully beautiful... I want free hugs :(

Free hugs for everyone today!! (((everyone))) :)