Above: Lee at sea, too many tides ago, when his only sense of awareness was his brand new tattoo and… where is the next port?
This post is about very personal touching…and hugging life.
I’ve been on this sea of life long enough to have learned a few things, felt a few things, some I’d like to have experienced earlier. Let me tell you about them.
Some prisoners kept in isolation for long periods, caged in concrete and steel, will reach out to just touch the arms of a guard who delivers a meal through a slot…just for the human touch. Just to connect with another human form. Poignant. Evocative of the power of touch.
A bird held in your hands. You feel the warmth, the gentle yet powerful muscles, you feel the beat of its heart under your fingertips that are pressed to its down. You feel intense joy in the bird’s pulsing warmth but you need to let it go. And when you do it flies as quickly as its eager wings can beat the air. You feel a bit of sadness replaced with gladness in the joy of freeing, of not owning, of letting go, and thereby being enriched.
A baby girl’s fingers curled around your own. The touch is soft, with so much promise; but the tiny grasp is the whisper of the future when you know she will move on. The grasp of the fingers become way-too-soon a grasp on your arm as you walk her down the aisle. You’ll feel again the sadness replaced with gladness as she too flies off in a white flutter of lace and veil.
It’s about life connecting with life. Powerful. But the power is amplified by the very temporary nature of the moment. To realize that you only hold that moment now.
I’m sure you all know that saying something, anything, to anyone, you might have their attention, but touch their forearm when you do so and your words are given so much more power.
I’ve learned how my giving the sense of touch a much-increased awareness has made life more rewarding for me. You may have heard about the sixth sense, not the movie version, but the real one, the one that gets the least attention but is the most powerful.
It’s the ability we have to travel to any part of the body and look closely at it. Sit there now and look inside at your leg, your knee, your foot, your big toe on that foot, the underside of it specifically. See how that inner eye can focus? Is there pain there? No. All is well. The eye inside can traverse your whole interior and examine the state of things therein. When you are aware of this ability it can, at times, be a joy to “behold”. To me the awareness comes about with intentional focus, just as a camera focuses. And when I combine this focus with being touched, the affect can be extraordinary.
Let me tell you about some recent occurrences.
One night, during my regular two hour break from sleep, I reached over and touched Cheryl’s arm as she slept. I “looked” at the touch and I felt this surge of connectedness flow up my arm and into my heart. I paid inner attention to the touch and with that attention came this strong connection, a sense of lightness, even gladness. It’s the powerful tactile sense that is enhanced by the focus I gave it. Maybe it has something to do with Reiki or spiritual energy. Some believe that Reiki has power. If this is a form of Reiki then it appears it does have power.
Well, last night it happened again. Cheryl tossed and the back of her hand touched my lower back as her breathing revealed her deep sleep. I felt this wave run up my back into my chest, it was that same feeling of gladness. I looked closely inside, there was this distinct difference, an ease that was now there but wasn’t before the touch.
Maybe this is all acquired. Now, I admit it has been pointed out to me that I’m a sensitive human being. But never in the past has it been so apparent. Maybe it’s only more apparent now because I’m a relatively old Devil Dog on this sea of life. I realize now that my voyage’s home port is not as far off as it once was. So moments I experience now, which were routine in the past, become precious with my increasing awareness.
You might try it yourself; touch a loved one, a significant other, someone close to you. Pay keen attention when you do, be willing to be open to it. Know the dilation of the vessels to your heart that ease the flow of blood on its way. The blood is flowing with more than oxygen, you might notice it contains gladness too. Maybe you’ll note a sense of peace in your heart as well.
I think we all have this ability to look inside but many don’t give it the attention that can work so well for us. In the past I hadn’t given it much thought myself. It’s a fleeting experience, first very noticeable and pleasant, as I’ve described but then it ebbs. And so it must be; if it were constant we’d be overwhelmed. But it’s the fleeting of the gladness that is its power. It’s the knowledge or better, the wisdom, in knowing that you can’t own the gladness, or keep it forever. It’s very tenuous. And it seems to be a parallel to tenuous life itself.
Life, I feel so connected to it these recent years. And I’m writing this so that some of you may feel the same connection. Maybe many of you already feel what I’ve described. For those who have not may I suggest you allow yourself to focus on these moments, perhaps give them more power than they might otherwise have.
You might go down to the sea some fine day. Walk the shore, the boardwalk, but be open to it with new eyes. Keep in mind how temporary it all is. Be lost in the wonder.
Allow me to urge you on:
Life, to know its full presence is to hug it, to look at it differently, to be keenly aware, to feel it all, to borrow it for a brief time. To be open to the ecstasy of it, hear the poetry within. Feel the pain of it, the joy of it and the powerful tactile sense of it. Touch the moist dune fronds on a nearby beach, know its dew’s tentative presence in the dawn. Be raptured in the synesthesia of the senses; feel the color of the salt air in your nostrils, see the scent as the brine’s aroma touches the back of your eyes and infuses your brain with delight.
Meet other forms on this splendid sea, forms who share this borrowed life. Join with some. Join with one intimately. Feel the love, so light in its transience. So powerful in its impermanence. Not to own but to borrow, to hold, to feel, to notice, to share. Play in this sea of life. Ride the wave of presence, body surf, ride a boogie board, ride a surf board like a bucking seahorse in an ocean rodeo.
Then surrender to the rush of white water as it tumbles and tosses you. Float with it, feel the bubbles, taste the salt. Feel, on every limb the bubbling invigoration. But knowing the impermanence of the exhilaration is to know the invigoration most keenly. To realize it is all only borrowed is to give each rainbow bubble within its finest luster.
Then rise from the sea, let the waves slap you forward, onto the wet sand. Be home again, one again…with the surf and the sand and the sun.
When we touch
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