Back in November 2014 I wrote Connecting Back to Yourself, which describes briefly the relationship of touch and connectedness through clay sculpting. I mentioned how touch, specifically physical, can build or destroy a person. I also mentioned how touch is related, in many cultures and spiritual practices, to healing. Jesus healed many people through touch, and Thomas had to touch Jesus after the resurrection because seeing was not enough to believe. People connect through touch by handshakes, hugs, a hand on the shoulder, a friendly push, horseplay, contact sports, dancing, prayer, bumping into each other… you name it. Humans long for contact, but humans broken by touch also run away from it.
I’ve seen people freaking out if they come into physical contact with another human. Their brokenness is so noticeable. Many don’t trust any kind of touch because of bad experiences that brought an unhealed wound to their lives. It is not until a genuine touch of love comes into their lives that their walls begin to fall. A kind, pure, and empathetic hug can do a lot for a person. A handshake can change a person’s perspective about themselves. Nevertheless, as I mentioned many times before, sculpting can bring down some of those walls too.
Understand this: body, mind, spirit, and emotions are so closely intertwined that each one affects the other. That emotional hurt that came through a physical hurt, also hurts the spirit and the mind. It is very challenging to separate and isolate each one of these factors and pretend one doesn’t affect the other. Sadness, for example, which is an abstract concept, can’t be measured in itself but through its manifestation in the physical realm. Many people who are physically hurt because of an accident or other circumstances will transfer the pain to their minds, spirit, and emotions as well. We can discuss many other examples of the interaction between mind, body, spirit, and emotions.
I’ve had experience a different kind of touch and connectedness through listening and having empathy for others. I experienced touch and connectedness, without knowing the person, through their art and creative expression, through their words, through their passions and life interests, and sometimes through their eyes. I had to recognize all the walls I built to isolate from people in order to recognize my own hurt, and my own freedom. Things are very different when your heart and intentions are pure, and your spirit is connected to your body, as your mind is alert of your surroundings and your inner workings, and as your emotions are directed by love and God’s Spirit.
I kid you not when I tell you that no matter how many people is pushing you around or if you are in the midst of a crowd, just like Jesus, you can experience touch and connectedness with specific people, even if their touch is not physical. You too can be a source for healing others through it. The freedom Jesus gives will shine on you and transcend physical barriers to provide a healing touch for people. In a culture where touching people is almost completely unacceptable, touch people with your smile, with your eyes, with your kindness, with empathy and compassion, with a friendly ear… with your life.
If you are the one who needs that touch and connectedness, give yourself a chance to open up… Hey! Baby steps! Hug a teddy bear, go outside and touch the flowers and the plants – get a picture of poison ivy and know how to identify it because you don’t want to touch those. Grab a book and let the words touch you. Watch a movie that makes you cry, and don’t apologize for crying. Laugh out loud! Get a piece of clay, dance, run to nowhere for no reason whatsoever (like Forest Gump), extend your arms and feel the wind… live! Moreover, allow God shower you with His grace. Let Him touch you and connect you back to Him and yourself.