I was thinking the other day, as I was feeling sort of lonely in a faraway hotel room, how in CODA recovery (and just about any other healthy self/relationship book or program you can find out there right now) there is consistent teaching that we don't have to cling to others, we can allow others to be here or not be here, we can let go, and that's the healthiest thing. And I get that. I honestly get it, really really I do.
And there are many 12-step affirmations that remind us that there is a love that we have independent of and greater than the love from other people - it comes from our creator, our higher power, God, Christ, the Universe - whatever the spiritual path you are on. That love is real, is always surrounding us, it is unconditional, endless, deep and wide. I know its there, I feel it when I pray or when I sing or when I see the mountains and their blinding white snow-capped peaks in the distance on a sunny day or ride my horse through a mountain meadow. I know God is there. The affirmations remind me when I'm having a hard time remembering:
I am unconditionally loved in this moment. I always have been and I always will be.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
But there's this other thing that I need to talk about. It came up for me as I was alone, without my family, my love, my dogs, my cats, in a hotel room thousands of miles from home, and while having fun, yet still missing everyone. It came up today as I was talking to my friend who is dying of cancer whose daughter just moved out and whose son is usually in his bedroom interacting with the rest of the world via a video game and a headset -- God's love might be all that we need, BUT...
...we were created to be consoled by touch.
Born to be soothed by a mother's hand rubbing our back or by a beloved friend's arms holding us in a supportive hug, having our hand squeezed or our hair stroked by someone who knows us and cares deeply about us.
And there are times when it is unbearable to have no one nearby who cares about you, who is near enough to touch you and comfort you with their loving touch.
I grew up in a family that dispensed hugs and kisses without a second thought. We still do. There was never an inhibition about giving or getting a hug or kiss from mom and dad or from aunts and uncles and cousins. Its just how we are I'm the same way with my kids and my animals and my friends and with my love. I touch them instinctively, constantly, without a conscious thought of what I'm doing. Every time I walk past my kids I touch their shoulder or kiss the top of their head or give them a hug. S is within a foot of me? The most natural thing in the world is to reach out and touch, hug, kiss.
Those first months of being separated, the nights the kids were gone, it was my animals who gave me that touch. My cat who crawled on my lap whenever I sat still, my dogs who gathered round me, leaning against me and offering face washes when my cheeks were wet with tears, who suffered endless desperate hugs. And still, as much as those moments eased my pain, there is nothing that equals a human touch. We were made to be in community with others.
Even when we consciously understand that we are relentlessly and unabashedly loved by the One who made us, we still need to be touched.
Here's my challenge to you: Give someone you care about a hug today. Know as you do so that your loving touch may be just what they need to remind them how very much they are valued and cared for.