Yesterday, I was visiting one of my dearest friends. She was in need of some nurturing so I asked her if she wanted me to hold her. She curled her petite body up on my lap, laid her head on my breasts and cried. And cried. I kissed her head and held her as I would one of my children. Tears streamed down my own cheeks at the intimacy and the release of love and pain.
Last night at a parent meeting, the woman next to me bravely stood up and reminded the parents that we need to approach a critical issue with compassion for our children rather than getting tied up in the logistics. When she sat down, I reached my hand out to her and rubbed her back in support. She began to cry and I had another opportunity to hold a sister while her tears flowed.
A single friend of mine related how fleeting touch is in his life and how a single, heartfelt hug had a huge impact on him. I wish I saw him more often so I could just hold him and show him how much he’s loved. We all need this kind of connection.
At an Original Play workshop I attended, O. Fred Donaldson spoke of our basic need for touch. He related that he coaches people in corporations to remember to touch. Just a hand on the shoulder, a shake of the hand, finding a way for fingers to touch when handing someone a pen can help us remember our connection with one another and help ease the tension of modern life.
It’s easy for touch to get tied up with sex. It’s easy for heart-felt loving connection to be confused with romance. I am learning the value of being present as a sister rather than a lover to the world. It feels good right now to explore touch in new ways. Sometimes, I want to find a comfortable chair, put it on a street corner and just open my arms for the people on the street who need a lap to sit on and who just need to be held for awhile. One thing I’m learning as I begin to love my lush, strong, warm body a bit more is that it was a body made to love people. I’m learning how to extend this love beyond my children or my lovers.
We are all sisters and brothers. We’re cut from the same cloth and have the same basic needs. I am beginning to see that loving touch can extend beyond sexuality, beyond family bonds, beyond social boundaries. We can hold each other, hug each other and honor the tears that will inevitably flow when we feel the love we have for one another.