On Relationship, Creative Touch, and Overflow by Heidi Beierle
“I don’t need sex.”
Yeah, I tell myself that. What I’m most hungry for in physical interaction with people is creatively connecting through touch.
Touch is a necessary ingredient in radiant well-being. Most of us (unless you’re a body worker) know only one way to touch others intimately—through sex. If this is the case, then your touch meter probably registers a deficiency (not because the sex isn’t good but because that’s only one kind of touch, and we thrive with diversity). The kind of touch I’m talking about doesn’t assume or even imply “partnership” although these principles can be applied to partnership. We can’t and shouldn’t expect that all our needs will be met through relationship with one other person. When we release the One Person paradigm, our relationships improve (I’m not discounting monogamy here). Deepen your friendships, enhance your intimate interactions, learn how a touch relationship is something you can have with a number of people.
Personal space can prevent us from being open or receptive to physical contact with others. But, if we revise our attitude regarding unexpected physical connection, then we get some of that energy juice we crave (despite our awareness of this craving).
Plants show how we can tune in with ourselves, others, and our environment. Once we tune in, we can offer needed energy, and plants are great because they return energy with energy. These principles show how we can form intimate, physical, not-necessarily-sexual connections with people. All of the recommended touches can be performed fully clothed, shoes not recommended.
Now that we have a map, let’s go backwards. Do you remember the last time you left water running to fill a glass and forgot about it? When you finally remembered the running water, you likely observed “overflow.” There was more water than the container could hold, and it spilled beyond the container’s boundary. Imagine what it would be like if that overflowing water came from a spring in the desert. Now imagine that spring in the desert is you. When you overflow with energy because you feel good in your self, you make yourself attractive. People sense the good vibes, and they come to you because they’re thirsty, because they want to bathe in restorative energy.
When you feel good about yourself, you overflow, and you have something to offer others because you’re giving from abundance not deficit. Figure out what makes you overflow and maintain it. This is something you do for yourself; it’s not something other people give you. It’s easy to give from abundance, and generosity makes more. The trick with this energy is that you have to give it away to enjoy its benefits. If you hold onto abundance because it feels good, that is the surest way to strangle it. Give a hand out.
Give some of your energy buzz! Touch. Become a professional hugger. Cultivate your touch aesthetic. A lot of what makes a good quality touch, in addition to overflow, is an observant and tuned-in practitioner. Proximity works wonders for people who surround themselves with large personal space bubbles (they’re usually the ones most in need of quality touch). Be close; gradually, with trust, move inside the bubbles. For people who have smaller personal space bubbles, dive in.
Use your hand, that’s easy. Give a hug, that’s normal and allows for more body-to-body contact. Give a long hug, synch your breathing, squeeze hard, stroke the back, neck, or head. Get creative. Touch with other parts of your body. Use your head. Use your nose. Your nose will allow you to develop layers and layers of intimacy with someone since you’ll be engaging an oft under-utilized sense perception.
If the defensive barriers dissipate, usually through long knowing and creative exploration with another, but sometimes because you’re in a contact improvisational dance situation, you can really get creative. Use your feet. Use the back of your wrist. Use your ear. Use your lips. Use your hip. Touch the scalp, face, ears, length of the neck, trace the clavicle. With your breath, touch the crease of the elbow, back of the shoulder, narrowing of the waist, base of the skull, front of the ankle. Take weight, give weight. Lay on each other. Stretch over each other. Be alive in your body, together.
Research. Repeat. Refine.
Heidi Beierle lives in Eugene, Oregon. She specializes in writing, painting, human relating, non-verbal communication, body arts, performance, astrology, and constructed environments. This winter, she teaches “Intimacy and Ecology: Lessons in Primary Sensation,” a workshop that connects our creative natures to our social and physical milieux. Contact: [email protected].