I asked my good friend, Paola, to share her insightful story. Her insight into how we can best support each other during times of intense stress and emotion is so well described. We will often discuss the importance of touch with each other and how it can be in many forms.
Here's the wisdom Paola shares about touch and her discovery:
I know that touch is vital to our wellbeing. Plenty has been written about it and clinical research has proven its benefits. I consider myself fortunate that I grew up in a country (Italy) where touch was the norm and an acceptable way of communicating. A hug, a kiss to greet one another, a pat on the back, holding hands or just simply close bodily contact were all welcomed and part of the everyday way of living among all ages and sexes.
Since childhood I have lived in different countries and realized that this amount of touch is not everywhere. I remember finding it harder to connect with people and also feeling physically unwell after a while. In more recent years, I have delved even deeper into the world of touch through the study of Craniosacral Therapy. CST validated my belief that touch was an almighty tool and something that can be in everyone's tool box.
A few weeks ago I had an interesting experience that uncovered a different way of "touching" somebody. It was a way unfamiliar to me, yet as I now realize, it was very powerful. In some cases, it was more beneficial than the physical act of touching.
I was going through a highly emotional time in my life as a dear friend was about to pass into the spirit world. I drove down the beautiful Big Sur coast to attend a class at Esalen. On the way, I visited my friend, which deeply felt like it would be the last time I would see her.
The class, Skills to Energize Your Life, couldn't have been more appropriate for what I was going through, and I am thankful to the Universe for that. The class was taught by Suzanne Scurlock Durana with my friend, Kate, assisting.
I was having a really hard time steadying myself. Constantly overcome by emotions, I was unable to think clearly, and unable to connect and hear the voice of my inner wisdom. On my way to lunch, I was looking at beautiful scenery but somehow could not rejoice and appreciate that beauty. My heart was devastated. Suzanne and Kate approached me, and walked by my side like two angels.
I felt the tug of my heart with an inclination to let my emotions explode in all their intensity. At that moment Suzanne, with a very matter of fact and yet considerate voice, asked about my situation and what I felt the outcome of my friend would be.
There were no hugs, no concerned looks, and no sympathy tones. She offered a very strong, centered and non-judgemental presence. Suddenly the difference between sympathy and empathy became crystal clear. As we walked on, I could feel both Suzanne and Kate's deeply grounded steps. With that awareness and with each of my steps after, I felt the ground again under my own feet. With even more steps, I felt I was going deeper and deeper into the earth. The answer came to me, with sadness, but not despair. I realized that I was finding it hard to accept that she was going to pass. I wanted to hold onto some hope, some miracle.
We continued walking. By the time we got to the lunch room, I was back in my body. I realized how if I had been physically touched in that previous moment, even just by a hand on the shoulder or a hug, I would have collapsed into emotion. The fact that I wasn't physically touched allowed me to shift outside of Suzanne and Kate. With this discovery came clarity, faith, intuition and even joy for the process. It's how I found my steadiness and discovered a touch which envelopes without physical touching. It was a touch which created a safe space and allowed me to become my true self which ultimately was the touch of my full body presence.
By Paola, Skills to Energize Your Life Class Participant
I hope that you enjoyed Paola's story, and gets you thinking more deeply about touch. Suzanne has developed a full curriculum to study this skill of grounded presence.
Do you have any stories of being "touched" in a supportive way yet there was no physical touch? Contact me here. I'd love to hear your story.
From My Hands and Heart, Kate xx