“The passion of touch warms the heart.”
My yoga teacher said that last night in class and it stuck with me. It made me think about how we, as humans, need to be touched. It isn’t learned. It is instinctual. And it isn’t a sexual thing. Sometimes we just need to be hugged, rubbed, or caressed. Simple as that.
I see it with my little O. He can be playing, happy as a clam, and he will walk over to me, come in for a hug and then go about his business. It’s like a vitamin for him. I believe that I can’t hug and kiss him enough. Especially at this age, when he still wants me to. He needs it. It’s clear. It makes him happy and secure.
I don’t know if that need evaporates when we get older, but the context of touch certainly changes. It becomes something we are super aware of. If we mistakenly touch a stranger, we are embarrassed and apologetic. We are taught that touch is something we only do with people we are close to…and then it changes to something romantic and becomes gender related. Women can hug other women, or a man. Men generally only hug women they are romantic with (or related to) and tend to shake the hand of another male. Shaking the hand of someone, while technically touching, doesn’t quite have the warming effect a hug provides. Do men really need less “contact” or is that just what society tells them? Whatever the case is, physical contact, human to human is pretty limited these days. It’s strange and sad, really.
When was the last time you hugged someone? I mean really hugged? Not a polite hug. That, to me, is a glorified handshake. It’s like the “air kiss.” Pointless. Well, not pointless, but you know what I mean. I’m talking about a true full body, 4-8 second hug? My Aunt Ellie always gave me great hugs. She would say, “touching hearts” while we were in a full embrace. She’s been gone almost five years now and I can still feel the warmth of her touch. Granted, we were very close. But I would venture to say she made many other people feel just as special as she always made me feel. I’d like to be more like my Aunt Ellie.
I’d like to teach our little O the value of the human touch. I want him to know the power of a hug and the profound meaning a simple hand on one’s shoulder can have when someone needs support. I’d like him to seek contact with people, rather than communicate via virtual means. And yet again, the only thing I can do is be an example. He will choose his own way doing what he is comfortable with. I guess, as parents, our job is show him the possibilities. Our house is a home of affection. We not only shower O with hugs and kisses, but we are always showing each other affection. Touch is good. Touch is important. It lets us know we are loved and alive. That our life matters to someone else. It makes us feel safe and secure. What was that Diana Ross song? “Reach out and touch….somebody’s hand…make this world a better place…if you can.” Totally throwback time and totally corny…but so true! In yoga class it was more hip…..but the sentiment remains.
So until next time, go on a mission to touch someone (and yourself, if the spirit moves you but THAT’S a whole other post) and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Namaste! Xo