I am a huge fan of the massage. A good massage can be a spiritual experience. A mediocre massage, well, in my mind it’s better than no massage. My husband has said that even if someone was poking me with a stick I’d enjoy it. Lucky me.
It occurred to me today, while on the table at Massage Place, that there are many ways in which massage is a metaphor for relationships. But the most obvious is in the richness of the touch. For example, in shiatsu style massage, the pressure is deep, but it is done over a sheet. There is no skin to skin contact.
Sometimes that approach fits my need. “Just get in there and defuse my tension, thank you.” Yet other days, like today, the healing lies in the warmth of the contact, not the pressure. The smoothness of the strokes. The silk of the oil. The friction of skin on skin creating heat. I can be fully present in the moment by moving my mind and my breath into the physical connection.
The power that lies in touch is tremendous. To be touched, correctly, is healing. It can be reparative. Touch is God in action.
To touch a person can be a shared blessing. To touch a person’s life, however, is our true purpose. It’s why we are stuck with each other. It is a responsibility that most of us breeze into and float out of without even noticing our impact. Sometimes this is just right. We smile at a person in line at the market and unbeknownst to us, it touches them. Hopefully, they pay it forward.
There are other life moments, defining moments, when we make a choice as to how we will touch someone’s life. They look to us for comfort, and we either reach out or we turn away. How we chose to touch other’s lives will be received as an embrace or it will be received as a slap.
Recently, I ran into a friend of a friend of mine. Someone I had known peripherally many years ago. She was thrilled to see me, which surprised me. She told me that one night, a long time ago, we had a conversation about her feeling stuck in her life. I had casually given her my view on the situation. It was that conversation, she says, that led her to change her life’s direction. I had no idea that I had touched her at all.
It is quite possible that we have impactful moments like this every day. And what I came to realize only after hearing her story, is that her choice to tell me about her experience all those years ago, has now graced my life with her touch.