Appreciation Through Touch: A Practice
This summer seems so… unreal. There has been beauty and silence, movement and rest, unexpected adventures and reflection, meaningful and touching conversations for sure. But it has been hard, too. And tragically real.
With so many people in so much pain and suffering in the world right now, it’s hard not to feel the sadness, uselessness, maybe anger and distress. It affects us on a physical, mental and energetic level, taking up space in our minds and bodies.
So, how can we stay grounded and resourced in order to continue to show up with focus and presence?
In my last blog, I shared one simple tool on how vision can change our perspective when feeling anxiety or overwhelm. Here it is, in case you missed it.
“To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings.” – David Whyte
A beautiful reminder from David Whyte. With this in mind, I’d like to share a resource to help shake off any loneliness, disconnect or languishing you may be feeling.
When I begin a yoga class, I offer people space to slow down – to pause from their day so they can begin to connect and experience themselves in a different way. One way I help them to access this and settle into the body is to ask them to feel the support of the ground beneath them and to tune into their senses, noticing what they see, touch, smell, taste and hear.
We’re used to taking our five human senses for granted but touch has certainly been the sense we’ve been forced to abandon and avoid in many ways due to Covid. Remember how awkward it felt to greet and connect with others without touch 18+ months ago? And now there’s a similar, awkward hesitation as we reconnect in person once again.
Yet we have touch at our fingertips and can mindfully use it in many other ways. It’s a wonderfully simple resource to find moments of appreciation, comfort and stability.
Practice: Appreciation Through Touch
Look around your space, let your eyes rest on an object that you’re fond of. Choose objects that you appreciate because of their beauty or practicality, or the feeling, memory, image they evoke.
Hold the piece in your hands, take in its size, nuanced colour, texture, the way the light and shade plays, feel the weight of it in your palms.
Savour and appreciate the moment through touch. Notice how this simple act can be soothing and grounding, subtly shifting the way you feel and helping to foster hope and wholeness again.
Here are some other touch suggestions:
- Allow your hands to touch areas that feel familiar, stable and secure: walls, doors, floor. Spread your fingers and touch the window pane as you look outside.
- Let your hands feel the warmth or coolness of water as it runs through your fingertips when you’re rinsing fruit, vegetables or preparing a bath.
- Place both hands on your heart centre and breathe into this space. Notice what your heart feels grateful for in this moment. Allow yourself to also feel the tenderness of pain, confusion or the unknown.
- Hug your left hand on the side of your right ribs. Place your right hand on your left shoulder. Close your eyes, relax into the shape and take a few slow breaths.
- Walk barefoot in a stream, river or the ocean, stroll barefoot through grass, over small pebbles, wood or sand. Notice the texture and temperature beneath your feet.
- Rest your hands on big rocks, boulders and trees, appreciate the stability they offer.
- Massage coconut, warm sesame or a body treatment oil into your feet. Then glide the back of a large stainless steel spoon over the soles of your feet in a figure of eight movement to help ground you.
- Cuddle your children, loved ones and pets. Feel the bond, connection and your appreciation for all that they are. Lean in and fully receive their response.
The key is to be mindful. Take time to touch and hold something meaningful every day this week, particularly in moments when you feel as if sand is slipping through your fingers.
Allow the intimacy of your surroundings to support you. Moments of deep connection and joy are still here within our reach.
Let me know which touch practice you’re enjoying most? And why. What are you appreciating?
May we all feel safe and protected again.