Touch

I am writing this late on a Sunday evening.

Can’t sleep, mind racing, stomach roiling from an eaten too late burrito.

The burrito was eaten too late because I waited until after my “hot” yoga class.

I love this class. The teacher is amazing and, while all yoga is a spiritual practice of  a sort, this yoga is meant to be a specific practice, an 11th step practice. I have a problem with the 11th step; I do not have a god that I have a conscious contact with, nor, frankly, do I want one. I plain do not believe in that type of god, in any type of god. But I do believe that we all, at the core, are spiritual beings.  In this class I feel closer to that part of myself, that SELF. I feel like the words she speaks as we practice fuel my body which in turn fuels my spirit….it’s hard to put into words because I do not have the words for that spirit side of me. I don’t understand or expect to understand it, so naming it is impossible. But I feel, I feel in that class.

(I am interjecting here that I went to post this and, except for as much as is here, the post went missing. I am sad because I like what I wrote. I can’t re-create it, so I soldier on. It is now the next day)

Last night in class Abby touched the small of my back, urging me to go deeper into a pose; helping me to align my body in a better way. It was jarring, on several levels. Abby is not a particularly touchy teacher, she tends to point out the people in class who are doing well with a pose and we look and correct based off of that. I am never someone who is doing the pose in an exemplary way. I’m kind of a hot mess in there, even though I fancy myself, have a picture of myself, in these poses and the fact that she doesn’t call me out on them I use as fodder for the fact that I am so brilliantly doing them that she doesn’t want to upset the rest of the class. Hah…a complete and utter fallacy and fantasy. Bt it works for me. It keeps me there, sweating and posing and sweating and moving and sweating and getting in touch with that me that I have lost and sweating (did I mention sweating?) and being in the room. So when she touched me and urged me into a deeper pose, there was the pose and there was the touch and there was the intersection between the touch and what the deeper pose did for me. And when she touched me and moved me, I cried.

I have been thinking a lot about touch lately. In particular the lack of touch in my life.

As I write this I am writing about being touched last night and I am thinking about the fact that I will not finish this until later because I am getting a massage today. I have a gift certificate that I have had since Christmas of 2010. My friend is going for a massage and she asked me and I have the gift certificate and so I said yes.

Touch. Every time I get a massage I cry.

I have been thinking a lot about touch lately. In particular the lack of touch in my life.

I pay for yoga. I pay for a massage.

I have been thinking a lot about touch lately. In particular the fact that I have to pay to be touched.

I used to love massages. I would happily have one every chance I got because they made me feel so good, so like I did something extra-special for myself. Now they just make me cry.

I used to have someone who would make me feel good with a massage. I used to have someone who would gently touch me and re-align me if I was going off course physically. I used to have someone who would touch me with love . I used to be touched during sex and feel something so deep, another part of myself.

I pay for yoga. I pay for massage. I don’t pay for sex.

I have been thinking a lot about touch lately. Particularly about whether or not I will ever be touched with love again. Whether I will ever have sex again. whether my relationship with touch has changed drastically and forever. Whether life is worth living without touch.

(And now I am back home, after the massage. This is a weird 3 part post).

I did cry.

It felt wonderful, the masseuse was very talented and gentle and when she hit a spot that needed attention, she gave it. I concentrated on the therapeutic aspects of the massage. I knew my back hurt but not exactly where. I knew my feet feel numb, but didn’t realize my calfs do too. I pretended I was in a doctor’s office; I concentrated on my breath; I tried to figure out why my nose got so stuffed up.

I tried not to think about when I’d be touched again.

I enjoyed the hot sauna, and the jacuzzi an the cool cucumber water and the banana and the time with my dear friend.

I thought about being touched and had the thought that there are many different kinds of “being touched”. The obvious physical type and the emotional one. Today I was “touched”  several times in an emotional way. By the women in my supervision for Our House who offer their support and hope as volunteers for people encountering grief. By the fact that Jane decided to be a healing person and so trained in massage and I was able to benefit from that today. I am touched by my friend Molly’s love and fear for her husband and his health, and by countless friends and acquaintances who are contributing to a fund to help him get the health care he needs. I teared up at the sight of an older couple sharing a ice cream this afternoon . I am touched by the fact that my son gave me this spa gift certificate that I was finally able to use today. I was touched when, as we left, Nora handed me a new gift certificate to use at another time…a lovely and powerful birthday gift.

There are all kinds of touch. I miss physical touch and I long for it. But I am touched so often emotionally, and, if given the choice, I could forego the former for the latter, because that means there is real connection, real thought, real feeling and real love in my life. Every day. Every single day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately…..

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2 Comments

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  1. I cry when I’m massaged too. You’re right on when you say that there are all kinds of touch. I cried during a teeth cleaning once because I was so grateful that someone would dedicate their career to something like cleaning teeth. Touch can reach us unexpectedly and even awkwardly. Women, especially, have a way of being able to convey emotion with a simple touch.

  2. I really liked this. Really. I can relate.

    It makes me think about the study with the baby monkeys that would cling to a mommy monkey MADE FROM WIRE because they so craved the closeness of touch. Physical touch can calm and heal. I remember being surprised to see a movie with Clare Danes (“Temple Grandon” I think?) where she plays an autistic Cowgirl who develops the Squeeze Shoot / “squeezebox” invention for cattle. The small confines with the sides pressing down on you, like the comfort of a hug, has quite a calming influence. (I think she made it for herself actually, because she was uncomfortable with human touch, but still wanted the “sensation” of being touched.)

    And being touched emotionally in a positive way? Moves me to tears every time. *hugs*

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