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Musings for Healing

Panjoyah's Sharings
Love, Family, & Other Things
The Art Of Loving Touch

Every mammal needs loving touch or it cannot thrive. We watch cats, dogs and horses nuzzling and licking each other, curling up together, and we feel warm'n'fuzzy. How about two humans lovingly nuzzling each other... in plain view... in a non-sexual friendship? Well! Witnessing that, sometimes we feel a bit queasy and uneasy.

Notice the strictures around human beings touching each other, and it's no wonder so many of us are touch-starved... even in committed relationships. It's not "okay" for non-mated friends to walk arm in arm down the street in western hemisphere towns and cities (even some islands!), especially same-sex friends. It's not acceptable to stroke a friend lovingly, even in private (unless the friends are in sexual relationship). A cross-gendered pair of friends are not encouraged to touch each other without a sexual agenda; moreover, we tend to presume such an agenda. These possibilities of loving human interaction are not taught in school, seen on TV or appropriately modelled by many parents or adults.

Societal morality has steered us away from healthy, loving, needful touch.War is in part caused by people who did not get touched enough as babies and children, who grow up to be adults continuing to receive little or no loving touch, and who act out that denial of touch by hitting, striking, shooting or bombing "the enemy". Ever notice how much easier it is to fight with a loved one when you are standing at a distance? If we are touching, attack comes much less easily.

The idea of separation is encoded into our very DNA. Many of us seek to restore a sense of oneness with all people, but the road towards seeing everyone else as "like me" rather than "different than me" is long, because we are dealing with genetic imprinting, which is reversible only after significant healing and dealing. Loving touch (even from oneself) that doesn't include intent to sexually arouse "feeds" body a crucial nutrient, and helps adults heal from the wounds of separation and attack, including sexual violation.

If you don't have friends with whom you can share appropriate loving touch, you can give yourself healing touch in the bath, upon awakening, or before sleep. Lightly stroke and/or gently squeeze feet, legs, pelvis, arms, torso, face and hair. Slow movement deepens the experience. Avoid deliberately attempting sexual arousal. Notice distracting thoughts that arise, without giving them too much attention, release any judgments you notice, and return your attention to the sensation and your breath. If any emotions swim up, feel and express them as fully as possible; these come with the territory. Most bodies have a lot of touch- starved years to recover from.

If you do have a friend, healing partner, lover or "touch group" to try this with, set a clear verbal intention in advance to revere and honour one another. This will help build trust and depth. With backs supported, sit facing each other on the floor, set a rough time limit, and take turns touching and stroking, moving slowly and respectfully down the body. Really breathe in the offering from your partner (most of us find receiving more challenging than giving). Avoid simply massaging, and see if you can take the risk of gentle, stroking touch. If you have children, especially newborns and toddlers under a year old, I highly recommend "contact parenting" for as many months into your child's life as possible. Jean Liedloff's "The Continuum Concept" and Ashley Montague's "Touching" are must-reads regarding the health and wellness benefits of high levels of loving touch for young children.

I am currently working on expanding these articles into a book, which I would prefer to self-publish for many reasons. If the material resonates for you and you would like to support its birthing process by making a donation to help cover publishing expenses, ask questions, make a comment or simply get on the mailing list, please contact me at Donations can be made to that address via StormPay, or to IntGold ID 12022. Thanks for reading!

Peter Cloud Panjoyah, British Columbia, May 2004

All material copyright 1997-2004 Panjoyah

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