Somebody's hand, make this world a better place if you can." Diana Ross
Corny introduction. I know and...
I live in an intentional community. I know all my neighbors by name. We have fun working, conversing, eating and exploring together. We have a big garden. I really appreciate all those fresh veggies! We struggle with conflict, we learn and we grow.
Recently we did a group read of the book Tribe by Sebastian Junger. I loved it.
I highlighted many paragraphs and sentences that inspired me.
And the statement that continues to ring in my ears. "We are primates and we are wired for touch."
I sometimes wonder if the violence in our culture is related to not enough touch?
When my kids were still at home I was filled to capacity with touch, and I was pretty darn happy. Hugs, hand-holding, and snuggling all release a hormone called oxytocin that de-stresses the body and strengthens the immune system!
I have this other touch memory. Years ago when we were on an extended family raft trip. My nephew (who had lost his mom at age three) was having some behavior problems, he wasn’t easy for his Dad. There was a moment when I had an opportunity to touch him, a casual maternal moment. I could literally feel a change in him. His body relaxed a notch.
Over the week I would find opportunities to touch his shoulder, his arm, his knee. A friend of mine did too and the change in that child, at that time was, well, it was something. I continue to be grateful for that simple lesson and that he and I connected for that brief time.
That experience has been etched into my psyche. I know it might not be true for everyone. And why not extend a gentle hand to someone?
I wonder how much happier many of us would be if non-sexual touch was so normal you’d see friends galore walking down the streets together arm and arm. Hey wait, that might be me (smile). My friend Sarah and I have started touching more. We’ll hold hands when we walk, we’ll sit on the couch with legs entwined. It might sound kinda crazy and maybe it is and all I can say is it sure feels good!
Give it a try. Even if it's awkward or uncomfortable. Break the taboo. Think with your heart on this one.
It may be just what is needed.