Yeah, but why? Discovering the importance of touch

Day 7 took me to new ground when I decided to perform my daily practice whilst at work. I ran 2 workshops with teenagers and in the first I offered my daily practice as my news for 2012. They asked questions but were fairly accepting of the challenge so much so that 2 of the boys decided to hold each others hand for 30 minutes. My 2nd workshop participants were more questioning. I had asked my colleague to hold my hand for 30 mins of the 3 hour class. I of course offered context to my students as to what we were doing. They responded with some amount of disbelief and of course asked ‘Yeah, but why? Why holding hands?’ I told them much of what I have written on this blog and that seemed to satisfy them.

The brief discussion led to one of my favourite questions and realisations so far. I was asked – ‘How many hours will you spend holding hands with people this year?’ I hadn’t even considered quantifying the time. A quick sum lets you know that it will be 183 hours. It was really exciting and quite amusing to have to justify myself to my teenage students their level of enquiry has a rather abrupt quality but allowed me a moment to own the action.

Holding hands at work

Day 8 by contrast was back to a more private shared moment with a friend who asked me to go otter spotting with her in a walk along the White Cart River in Pollok park.

Otter Watch
The walk begins

It was a great start to my Sunday. I was a little worse for wear having partaken in a little too much gin the night before, however the walk offered much needed fresh air and the chance to catch up and talk about touch and the need for it. My friend happens to be studying a movement course that looks particularly at the well being of the body. This raised a lot of questions about the importance of touch and the quality of touch you receive. As I’ve said before holding hands is often though of as a romantic action and rightly so but I suppose it leads me to question what you do when you are perhaps looking for a comforting touch and for whatever reason it’s not readily available to you. Touch has become sexualised in our culture and I feel that for many we have lost sight of the importance of being tactile with each other as part of our well being. It made me a little sad to think that such scrutiny has meant that we can be constantly judged on how we are tactile with each other and that it can be made to feel unwelcome or wrong in some way.

I’ve definitely started to grow a little in confidence with my daily practice. I’m looking forward to the week ahead and the time with my fellow hand holders.

Day 8

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