Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Human Touch, Part 2

Yesterday's blog post (Human Touch, Part 1...it's a quick read) was initially written to be a stand alone piece.  A thought which grew out of an acknowledgement that I was in need, and want, of human touch.  Being single, and childless, means that at times I go for long stretches without human contact.  That is...unless I ask for it.

Yesterday I happened on this article.  It is from a website I really like - The Good Men Project.  Please ignore the title of the article, which I assume was meant to grab attention, and read it now!!!  (click here...it's a longer read, but well worth it).  Plus, the rest of this won't make any sense if you don't.

Holy crap!  I sit hear thinking I have it rough, but it really never sank in before...the untenable position in which men find themselves in our society.  At a young age many boys are told to be tough, that cuddling with mom makes them "soft", that hugging their friends implies they might be homosexual (as if that were a bad thing), that expressing care for others could only imply a sexual advance or harassment.  This is so frightening to me.  Because those messages basically eliminate all human contact other than sex.



Think about it.  I, as a woman, can ask a friend (male or female) for a hug anytime I want.  True it might be difficult for me to be vulnerable in that way, but it is within the realm of "acceptable".  I can cry on a friend's shoulder, or cuddle with my nephews, or walk down the street arm in arm with my sister.  I have access to human contact and I am not ridiculed or mocked or questioned about my ulterior motives.

But how many of you would welcome that same request from a male friend without thinking twice?  I know I have been guilty of keeping space between me and a male friend for fear of sending the wrong message.  But shit, how about keeping it simple...just that we are all human and in need of care and connection?  I think it is imperative that we examine the message we send to young boys about human touch and connection.  Men deserve it as much as women do.  And we all need it.  The isolation the alternative creates makes me really sad.

I am optimistic, however, that there is a growing awareness that is creating a slow, but conscious shift.  And for the record, any friend of mine that wants a hug need only ask :-)


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Human Touch, Part 1

In my field of massage therapy we often talk about the importance of human touch.  There are lots of benefits to massage...pain relief, stress reduction, improved movement, and much, much more.  For certain populations, we highlight the benefit of the touch itself.  For senior citizens, many of whom are widowed, the touch they receieve in a massage session is the only time they are touched and we all know how beneficial it is to a person's well-being.  There has been research which proves premature babies develop healthier and more quickly if they are held each day, as opposed to being left alone in the incubator.

But what about the other, less obvious, populations who are also in need of touch?  Single people?  People, like me, who are "in between" relationships and don't have children.  I touch people all day, but sometimes I go days without human touch, except for that which I give to others in my work as a massage therapist.  What about those in relationships, who are going though a difficult time with their spouse and haven't had a hug in days or weeks or months?



I think we often underestimate the power of touch and sometimes the smallest gesture can make a world of difference to another person.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fabric

I have had a good week.  Nothing monumental...I didn't win the lottery or anything.  Although the Mets are winning!!!! so actually pretty monumental :-)

Mostly it has been personal revelations, heart (re)opening (which I know sounds hokey, but if you had been doing as much blind dating as I did this summer, you would totally be nodding), inspiration to tackle a big life question, professional milestones and some pure fun (see Mets reference above).

For me (and I assume for most) none of this happens in a vacuum.  I wouldn't be where I am, or be enjoying (mostly) the journey nearly as much without the people with whom I intersect.

So to all of you...those who pass through and leave, those who stop just long enough to poke or challenge me, those who pop in and out, those that come to stay for a while and those who have been journeying with me for as long as I can remember...

Thank you for helping to make the fabric which is my life strong, warm, resilient and colorful.  I love you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

#endpianoviolence

My friend, Meredith Koch, is the embodiment of bravery and perseverance.  Back in May, there was a freak accident and a piano fell on her, breaking her back. You heard me. A paraplegic. Since then she has been beating all the odds, and shocking her doctors and PTs. 

At 14 weeks post injury she arrived at my sports conditioning class and kicked ass!! She did every exercise (with a few modifications) and even balanced for a few seconds on her own 2 feet to give me a thumbs up!  

But what about the days when the progress seems slower than usual?  Or she feels scared that she won't fully recover and be able to do all the things she dreams of doing in life?  

Meredith reaches out to me and others when she is having those days and I think it is so impressive that she is strong enough to fight and also is authentic enough to admit when she is down, and ask for help and support.   One of the true signs of strength in my book (there is that book again).  

You impress and inspire me every day, Mere. You are such a model of positivity and inspiration.  You are fighting the good fight and we are all here for you, as you face your challenges and inspire others to do the same.  

You go girl!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Never Say Never

This is the next tattoo.  In years past I was a big fan of the word "never".  It was a control thing.  And a false sense that I knew who I was and how my life would unfold.

I will never be divorced.

I will never jump out of plane.

I will never travel on my own.

I will never do that, say that, be that, want that.

HA!



But the funny thing is that now I love that I don't want to use said word anymore.  It opens a world of possibilities...some that I invite, some that I don't.  But all are part of what makes my journey interesting, and meaningful.

I have no idea what the world will bring...and sometimes that is scary, but mostly it is exciting to know that life will unfold...if I allow it to happen.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Facebook

I go through waves of posting on facebook.  I struggle with wanting to share thoughts and happenings with people I care about and not wanting to yell into a megaphone at a bunch of people, some of whom are friends, some of whom are more or less strangers.

So why do we do it?  I started thinking about this after I put up a post Wed night and then promptly took it down.  This was the post...

Me:  "I love you, Mom"
Mom (who has been losing her battle with Alzheimer's for more than 12 years): "I think I do too"

For me that was a profoundly sad interaction which definitely caught me off guard. Even though I could have, I didn't want to call and bother friends who were probably the midst of dinner or whatever, but I clearly wanted to share the experience, so I posted.  Then I realized it was also quite personal and not something to announce over a microphone.

So why this indecision for me?  Why do we all we share, and post, and like.  I think some do it for publicity/marketing for their business and their brand.  The more your clients/customers know you and trust you, the more likely they are to come to you when they need your service.  Others are just completely comfortable with the world at large knowing every last detail about them.

But I think there is a deeper possibility which I have been contemplating since I posted/deleted the other night. I wonder to what extent we, as humans, have a need to have others bear witness...to our joys, our successes, our struggles, our losses.  Does this somehow makes those events more meaningful, or less painful?  Does it change the event, or how we process it?  Is it comfort?  validation?  What do you think?

I want to go ask a psychologist about this notion of bearing witness.  Fascinating to me.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Community

Eric Nelson inspired me to write again after a bit of a summer hiatus.  So in honor of that inspiration, I decided to write about a community of which he is a part, a leader in.  NKT (NeuroKinetic Therapy)

I have worked for myself, and mostly by myself, for the last 15 years.  I love the autonomy.  And the fact that I am not required to make small talk around a water cooler, or pretend to like toxic people simply because we work at the same company.  My work is fulfilling...who gets to say that their clients are always happy to see them and leave feeling better than when they arrived?  It is also relatively low stress, except that owning a business is never really low stress in my mind.  But that is another topic.  

However much I value my work and am grateful for all my wonderful, loyal clients, I find it lonely at times.  If I had it to do over, I would have a business partner.  Someone to share the ideas, the excitement, the stress and the burden, not to mention the back office workload.  

In the last couple of years as I am striving to grow my knowledge and take my education and practice to the next level, I was lucky to find a modality I love.  I was unaware that in studying NKT, I would also be introduced to a community of professionals who, for the most part, are genuinely supportive of each other, willing to share time, knowledge and ideas with each other, and help their fellow practitioner with learning a new technique, assisting with a tough client case, or collaborating on business ideas and strategies.  This is a unique group and one that I have found to be most valuable, both personally and professionally.  

Community used to be something we all found in our neighborhoods.  During an era when we walked places and played out on the street with the other kids on the block, this was easy to cultivate.  I feel like that has changed so much.  Our lives are too busy.  Most of us get from here to there in our cars.  Hell, I don't even know most of the people who live in my building!  Community is so important and yet it is so much harder to find.   So, to my crew in Chicago, and to the others I have met in NY and along the way...thank you for rekindling my love for my work and for being there to support me.