Loneliness, whether chronic or acute, can be wrapped up in the despair that leads to thoughts of suicide. Read this powerful post and keep your eyes and ears open for the tiny clues that might alert you to family or friends’s hidden feelings. If this is you… talk to someone, please. If you feel that no-one you know cares enough to listen, talk to someone whose job it is to listen. You won’t be a burden – exactly the opposite. They’ve trained for years to be able to help you and all of us who need help from time to time, so they are completely focused, ready and more than willing. Please… pick up the phone, send an email, or walk in. Don’t fester on your own. Another perspective really helps to pull you at least part of the way out of your rut. And when you get a better all-round view, you may start to see some solutions. There will be some, but you need to be in a position to spot them. You can’t see anything when you’re in the depths where it’s dark and cold. Let someone give you a hand to reach the light and the warmth…

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Confusion and conflict over non-sexual touch

The Daily Mail ran an article about a New York woman who offers a cuddle service to anyone, man or woman, who’s feeling touch-deprived. And she’s being branded as a prostitute by some who don’t understand the difference between touch and sex.

Read the article here.

Jackie Samuel, founder of The Snuggery, has a degree in Brain and Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester, and is doing a Masters degree in social work; she is very clear that her service has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with healing: “My philosophy embraces the idea that we are all aspects of the same self—to be a healer is to be healed. When we cultivate or nurture something outside ourselves, we’re nurturing what’s inside as well. Touch can breach the perceived separation and provide us with a healing connection.”

Two comments: the first is that it’s tragic that such a service should be needed, when kindly, simple touch should be part of everyday life; and that people’s values should be so distorted that they mistake compassionate touch for sex. She apparently has had plenty of mail from outraged citizens accusing her of prostitution and ‘selling love’. What nonsense. She doesn’t “love” her clients, except in the purely spiritual sense of general compassion. And it’s hardly an outrageous fee she charges: $50 for a session is a fraction of what you’d pay for PR advice, let alone dentistry or medicine. I’d guess that most New York therapists charge considerably more for considerably less benefit.

And she’s doing something about the drastic touch deficit we’re facing now, and which our children are facing in far worse proportions as the taboo on touch increases.

The first time I set foot in New York I’ll be booking a session and will report back to you. If any readers in and around Rochester NY fancy giving her cuddling service a try, please send me a report. I love the idea and wish her well.

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Intimacy – we all want it, but can you define it?

“Intimacy is the opposite of loneliness, I get that. But that takes me only halfway to enlightenment. The trouble is, I can’t put my finger on what intimacy is. It’s one of those words that I understand on a cellular level, but struggle to define.”

Close and loving, mother and son, intimate

Mother and child have the most intimate relationship of all – for the first nine months of life, at the least

Sophia Dembling writes in online mag Psych Central about intimacy, trying to find the intangible something in its definition.

Merriam-Webster online defines intimacy as the state of being intimate, and defines the intimate as:

1 a : intrinsic, essential

b : belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature

2 : marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity <intimate knowledge of the law>

3 a : marked by a warm friendship developing through long association <intimate friends>

b : suggesting informal warmth or privacy <intimate clubs>

4 : of a very personal or private nature <intimate secrets>

Sophia concludes with this paragraph:

“Intimacy requires more but I’m not sure what. I’m not even sure exactly what it is, except that I know it when I feel it.

Her feeling is spot on. She has touched on it several times in her article, which Merriam-Webster fails to do.

Go to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and you find the clue. Intimacy’s derivation is the latin phrase tunica intima, the under-tunic, the garment worn next to the skin. The OED goes on to define intimacy and intimate using words like deep, close, connection.

The intangible extra that you’re missing, Sophia, is actually the tangible element. Touch, contact, connection. If you only put your physical finger on it, you’ll have put your metaphorical finger on it.

The fundamental factor in intimacy is being next to the skin – inside the social barrier we all keep around us for all but our intimate friends and family.

Everyone needs their own space, and everyone unconsciously sets their own rules for distance. Think of meeting someone for the first time – you probably stand at handshaking distance. Once you know them better, begin to trust them, maybe find them attractive, you may be within arm’s length, but only when you really trust them, like them and are attracted to them (not just sexually), do you let them get close – perhaps within hugging distance. That’s intimacy.

Intimacy is feeling comfortable body-to-body, and even skin to skin. It’s not just a sexual thing. It’s a parent holding their baby in their arms; girlfriends sitting next to each other, touching at shoulder, hip and knee. It’s lovers, arms entwined and holding hands; it’s child cuddled by grandparent… It’s an unconscious state of trust and affection – you don’t think about it, you’re just there, in touch and connected.

So, Sophia, I hope this makes sense to you and fills the gap in your definition. Stay in touch.

 

Touched

Such a simple remedy for loneliness

Emma, young woman who trained in massage with me, went to an old people’s home to do some simple massage with the residents. She told us that she was massaging an elderly woman’s hands and suddenly the old lady’s eyes filled with tears. Emma asked her what was wrong, and the reply was: “This is the first time I’ve been touched since my husband died, 20 years ago.”

She discounted the touch of her professional carers because the touch was impersonal and a matter of logistics. Emma’s simple hand massage was intensely personal, with a focused, kind intention behind the touch. The old lady instinctively knew the difference even if she couldn’t explain it.

Two decades without simple, kindly touch. Think about it.

How easy to remedy.

A touching remedy for the lonely

It’s clear enough that the sense of touch is important for babies – lots of people learn baby massage, and the sling is back in fashion so that infants are carried next to their parent’s body rather than at arm’s length in a pushchair.

But don’t we grow out of the need for touch?

Well… have you?

Children get as much touch as they like from their pets

Kittens never reject affection and are perfect for touch-deprived humans

I haven’t. I learned as a small child not to expect touch, and then to do without it. I had pets instead – dogs and cats, who adored being stroked and patted and weren’t ashamed to ask for strokes. Am I alone in relying on pets for innocent physical affection? Did anyone else experience this? Is this why Anglo-Saxons love their pets so much?

[Oh.. I’ve just remembered that psychologists in the 1960s – Eric Berne and then Thomas Harris – used the word ‘stroke’ to mean the emotional equivalent of a physical stroke: a compliment, praise, an endorsement, an award. Something that makes you want to purr. A feel-good moment. Imagine a cat stretching and purring under a stroking human hand…]

Touch is the first sense to develop in the human foetus. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and develops from the same stem cells as the brain. Frequent pleasurable touch for infants results in positive change in brain tissue, while chronic touch deprivation or trauma results in measurable brain damage. Lots of scientific studies have shown the critical importance of good touch to the developing infant and the growing child. It remains vital – touch-deprived adults may turn to food, alcohol or drugs to make up for the lack of physical contact, or adopt behaviours from promiscuous sex to shop lifting.

Think about your skin. There’s a lot of it, and it’s far more than a barrier between you and the outside world. it’s in organ, like your heart or your lungs, and in it are thousands of nerve endings which pick up a mass of information that help us operate and survive, give us pain or pleasure, and a whole spectrum of subtle emotions and reactions that we don’t consciously notice.

Think of losing all that information because you don’t get touched. For the elderly, who are the focus of current campaigns, loneliness is often the result of losing a spouse, family moving away, friends becoming housebound or dying… that’s bad enough and can be devastating. But imagine how appalling it must be to live your whole life, from childhood onwards, feeling out of touch, not connected, lost and alienated in a crowded world, because you didn’t get the touch your body and brain needed in your early years.

What about young adults who leave home to go to university or to a job in another city; dealing with a whole new world with only strangers around you, with none of the contact and support of home and friends…

And so on through life. Being deprived of touch is one of the key causes of loneliness, and getting touch is one of the key remedies.

Related articles

Non-attachment -v- loneliness

2011: The Year of Planned Abandonment

The Year of Planned Abandonment (Photo credit: benrmatthews)

Interesting article, this (read it HERE) – but I think the writer used the wrong word.

“Abandonment” is a passive term to imply that you have been abandoned, ie it wasn’t your choice, and you don’t like it. There are lots of very negative emotions resulting from the feeling of abandonment, whether it first happened when you were a child, or at any stage afterwards. It’s closely related to rejection, which is never comfortable…

Having read the article, I think what they’re talking about is the Buddhist concept of non-attachment – not hanging on to things in the past, needing very few material baggage, and carrying minimal emotional baggage. it’s interesting to see how similar the Christian and Buddhist teachings are on this, although of course Christians are taught to put their faith in God, where Buddhists are encouraged to take responsibility for their own lives.

The essential argument of the article, though, is hard to deny – the more we think we need Stuff, and depend on others (human or divine) to make our lives better, the more we are likely to be disappointed.

And that lovely point about health insurance – how true! Do you recognise that paradox?

Whether, like me, you’re not of a religious bent, or have a strong faith, I’d love to know what you feel about this article. Do please leave me a comment.

English: pink lily flower

English: pink lily flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Decide to be well

Loneliness can take a hold of you if you’re not on tip-top form and don’t have the energy to connect with other people and life in general. If you’re stuck at home or in hospital for any length of time it’s easy to fall into a cycle of bad feelings, which sap your energy even further and make it ever harder to break out of it. If you are taking drugs for illness or trauma, they can make you feel worse than ever, since lots of medicines attack your body to kill off the bits doing the damage. So before you get better, you feel horrible. But there are options! 

If you don’t already know about this approach to healing, don’t scoff before you read and think about it. These principles apply to mental as well as physical illness – all states where you are below par. Try it – it costs you nothing, it loses you nothing, you might surprise yourself and get really well without drugs or surgery! [And there’s still the expensive, toxic and invasive methods of clinical medicine to fall back on if you feel the need – she says, without bias, obviously   ; )) ]

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The Secret Language of Your Body: A Choice to Heal

by Inna Segal, Contributor to Energy Medicine on Allthingshealing.com

Editor’s Note from Bruce Dickson: Therapeutic Metaphor is a huge part of Energy Medicine and healers like Inna have taken this up when psychosomatic medicine, as a speciality, was abandoned by the AMA. It’s true, The Meaning of Illness Is Now an Open Book.

Every disease or disorder a person experiences feeds on negative thoughts, feelings or energies. The more density there is in your mind the more fuel your body has to degenerate.

The first step towards healing is making a decision you are ready to get better.

The next step is learning to understand your blocks and limitations.

Often, recognizing the thoughts, emotions and attitudes which have contributed to the problem can begin the healing process. This is because when you have awareness of the cause, you have choice. Choice gives you an opportunity to reflect on your life, become aware of what does not work; and then, do something different.

Healing encompasses every aspect of your being, including your physical health and fitness, emotional wellbeing, mental attitude, energetic welfare and spiritual strength.

It is important to recognize your body is not your enemy; it is a messenger helping you to know yourself more fully.

Healing always means transformation

Healing always means transformation. To heal, you need to change your thoughts, feelings and actions, from what does not work, to what can, and does work for you.

Whatever part or system of your body is experiencing a problem needs to be looked at as a metaphorical representation of the challenges you are dealing with in your life.

As an intuitive healer I see a lot of clients who change their lives and let go of problems when they begin to understand the interconnection between their ways of living and the problem they are experiencing.

Zelda, a woman in her mid-forties, came to see me because she had problems with her heart and wanted to find out what was the cause of her pain. When we looked at what was happening in Zelda’s life, she became aware of several patterns. Zelda held onto buried pain from the past, she was constantly stressed about her work and worried about people in her life. She lived on her own and felt isolated and lonely. Zelda was also extremely self-critical even towards to little mistakes she made.

Once Zelda became truly aware of what she was doing to herself and how it was causing her heart disease, she began forgiving the people who had hurt her in the past and letting go of her buried pain. Zelda realized her job was causing her a lot of unhappiness and she quit. She also began to socialize more, to relax, and to do creative things which opened her heart. Instead of being so harsh with herself, she started using humor and laughing rather then beating herself up. Incredibly her heart condition, which doctors had said was incurable, healed.

Your body is your teacher

Your body is your teacher. It gives you opportunities to learn and expand. Once you have learnt your lessons, it heals because there is no need to keep holding onto the pain any longer.

Your body systems teach you lessons of empowerment, confidence, love, compassion, forgiveness and much more.

The more you understand your body and its specific components the more tools you have to bring it back to health and balance.

Healing takes you through many different stages and layers of discovering who you are. Sometimes change happens quickly, at other times you can experience, stuckness, frustration, and chaos.

Healing occurs on many levels; physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically. So please be patient with your transformation, and take time to discover and empower all the different aspects of yourself.

Our immune system identifies viruses, bacteria and any foreign bodies and tells the brain to activate the immune processes. It helps us to stay strong, healthy and clear. The immune system begins to breakdown when we feel insecure, experience inner conflict, feel pressured, or threatened.

To strengthen the immune system we need to focus within and allow the innate wisdom of our body to guide us. We need to focus on staying true to ourselves and have the courage to stand up for what we believe in.

Love, understand and listen

The key to having a healthy body is to understand, love and listen to the wisdom it has to share with you.

© 2012 Inna Segal

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-secret-language-of-your-body-a-choice-to-heal.html#ixzz23yLmwUDG

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Does this make sense to you? Have you any experience of this kind of healing?