Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Magic Touch

Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
— Annie Dillard

Have you noticed a continuing thread that runs through all of the exercises I’ve been suggesting since we got back from our reading deprivation week? Yes, they are sensory timeouts, intended to slow us down a little and keep us connected to some clear spaces that may have come to light while our inner voice quieted down.

But also, perhaps you might have noticed that all of them can be the basis of an Artist Date. A trip to a bakery, specifically to revel in the aromas; visiting an unexplored ethnic restaurant for the purpose of discovering strange, unknown flavors; an hour of playing a CD with your eyes closed and doing absolutely nothing else but deeply listening. The possibilities are infinite.

In the past, I have had trouble actually granting myself my Artist’s Dates, because they would seem to take so much time and planning. Yes, I admit that I should know better, but I am still prey to feeling uncomfortable, even guilty, if I’m spending time that looks wasteful or unproductive to the naked eye.

But I like these exercises because they are easy, fun, and take minimal travel time and money. And they are deliberately geared towards awakening your artist self in new ways, by cranking up the volume on your senses. To be a good creative, you have to be paying attention, with all your senses tingling alive and aware. Artist dates are where we invite our inner artist to play with us. Sense by sense, what could be more delightful?

So today, let’s focus on that huge, yummy all-over-our-body sense – our sense of touch. “Our skin is what stands between us and the world,” Diane Ackerman reminds us. “If you think about it, no other part of us makes contact with something not us but the skin. It imprisons us, but it also gives us individual shape, protects us from invaders, cools us down or heats us up as need be, produces vitamin D, holds in our body fluids. Most amazing, perhaps, is that it can mend itself when necessary and it is constantly renewing itself. Weighing from six to ten pounds, it’s the largest organ of the body and the key organ of sexual attraction…

“Although it may cascade or roam as we grow older, it lasts surprisingly well. For most cultures, it’s the ideal canvas to decorate with paints, tattoos and jewelry…But most of all, it harbors the sense of touch.”

We feel touch, not on the top layer of our skin, which is dead and is what flakes off and leaves bathtub rings, but in the second layer. The hairiest parts of our bodies are generally the most sensitive, because there are many sense receptors in the follicles of each hair.

Our sense of touch is complex and full of surprises. We may be ticklish in a certain spot one minute, only to be aroused there seconds later. And Diane points out, “It’s entirely possible to feel wet, even though we may not be wet (when washing dishes with plastic gloves on, say)…” Just think how very real it seems when you are sure there is an insect crawling on you (but then, there isn’t).

So our play date with our sense of touch consists of two exercises. The first is to close your eyes and have a friend hand you an object that you haven’t seen. Feel it carefully all over. Can you feel its color? Can you imagine subtleties and shadings based on any bumps, dents, graining or curves? Then have your friend take it away. Draw the object from the memory of its feel in your hand. The point is not to guess what it is, or even draw particularly well, but to draw it based on the memory of your touching it.

The second touch exercise is to get a massage. If you can get a full professional massage, say, over the weekend, that’s great. Many people have never enjoyed one from a professionally licensed massage therapist. If that might include you, I strongly urge you to give it a try.

If that’s not feasible for you right now, then can you find a good friend who will at least give you a nice neck and shoulder rub?

While you enjoy this sensual treat, notice what thoughts go through your mind. How does your body feel before, during and immediately afterwards? Did you feel happy, shy, relaxed, nervous, peaceful? Maybe all of the above? Massage therapists say that our body holds memories in a different, but just as valid manner as our brain memories. Sometimes massage can trigger emotions, ways we have held ourselves or hurts that we have long forgotten in our conscious minds. Has anything like that ever come up for you?

Next week, we’ll do some more exploring of our senses, and get started on Chapter Five: Recovering a Sense of Possibility.

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  • June 5, 2009, 11:56 am joanna brightbrook

    This is an exercise which combines smell and touch, and is also wonderfully relaxing, soothing, and good for your complexion.

    Go out to your garden or a friend's garden (or in a city like mine, any alleyway) and pick the petals from roses that are almost done blooming. Old fashioned ones with scent are best. Fill a deep basket with the petals.

    Then, sit in a quiet place and bury your face in the petals. Breathe deeply several times.

    mmmmm. So luxurious. There is nothing like the silky texture of roses.

  • June 5, 2009, 3:55 pm ARIE

    the body has a memory.
    for example if you touch someone's ankles with your eyes closed you will get pictures of this person's past at a very early age. If you touch the knees you will pictures of some years later.
    Touching the head may give you information on this person's thoughts.
    touching a scar may give you information on what happened.
    To do this, both partners need to be relaxed and calm. the person reading should do it with eyes closed. An image will come up after some minutes of touching.
    It will be easier for someone experienced in Reiki. But anyone can achieve this body listening.
    Arie

  • June 5, 2009, 7:01 pm Star

    This has been a sensual week for me. Yesterday, my friend and I went to the yoga class and mineral springs baths at Bedford Springs Resort and today we traded massages (we had this on our agenda even before Beth Owl's current post!). Tomorrow I leave to help my daughter through a tough decision time. It was lovely to have this respite with my good friend and enjoy some relaxation and sensory pleasures before engaging with painfully real life decisions and health issues.

    I may be unable to check email or the blog for a few days. Any prayers or healing energy sent our way in Blacksburg, VA is welcome.

    Star*