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Holding Someone Touching Oneself

Un-poem

Unfolding like fern leaves

Crawling out of the skin-stained cuff

Unsure

(Your) hand –

 Holding

In this exercise, inspired by Peter's yoga practice, we were invited to touch/hold another person and to place the attention on commitment to touching or terminating touch. We all seemed careful at first, perhaps tentative.

When reaching out to touch A. and then G., what struck me was the feeling of distance - spatial, existential - between me and them.

Each time I made a decision to cross the distance and touch the other person. Then - to withdraw the touch or accept their withdrawal of touch. I said in the group that this experience made me think that it was not a small thing to touch another. And not something to take for granted. (Even when you think you know the other really well). What I didn't say was that I experienced the decision of touching another as frightening. I was confronted with the otherness and inscrutability of the person in front of me. To touch, felt like diving into the unknown. This also had something to do with respect.

Touching oneself while blindfolded

Finding a spot on the floor, soft ambient music. I felt an impulse to take my socks off. I touched my feet, tracing the outlines of my toes, exploring spaces between them, caressing soft skin on the tops of my feet. I felt a bit like a baby, lying on my back, curious. It was sensuous, I'm not sure if it was erotic. It had something to do with love. Having a love affair with my own skin. In the absence of the visual stimuli, other senses were enlivened. Awareness of the borders of my body, where they touched other surfaces and how it felt. The pleasure of wiggling legs in the air and feeling the air touch the skin of my shins. It was very relaxing, very soothing, to be with myself, and with the others like this.

Each of us wore a blindfold and then took it off at the same time. The others had interesting experiences as well. Peter said that he had taken his clothes off - he felt liberated in the soft darkness. A. said that she'd gotten in touch with her tiredness. G. talked about how this exercise gave her permission to have time with herself - something she usually neglects amidst the busyness of life. R. admitted that wearing a blindfold was a challenge for him; it actually inhibited him.

Femininity/masculinity as a feeling?

We were to imagine the room as a spectrum between two poles, one end being the most masculine and the other most feminine. We were instructed to walk around the room and then situate ourselves somewhere in this spectrum, according to how we were feeling in that moment. A refreshing proposition! Also the possibility of femininity/masculinity as fluid in time. The "neutral" place in the middle of the room turned out to be the most comfortable spot for me. Curiously both P. and A. situated themselves more or less liminally as well. P. even said that the closeness to A. and me factored in his decision where to situate himself; it gave him some comfort. Thus an unexpected dimension was added in!

A. stayed for tea and we had a lovely chat. We felt enriched by the evening. We also wondered about the value of such open-ended experimentations and explorations.

 

Un-poem

Unfolding like fern leaves

Crawling out of the skin-stained cuff

Unsure

(Your) hand –

Has already set off on this impossible journey 

Between your body and mine

Between your pocket and my cheek

Unstoppable?

How cruelly the universe stretches between us

Foreign object approaching

Two continents about to collide

I find myself unravelling,

Undone by anticipation

Of this first unseaming touch

Will the texture be a little softer

Smell slightly sharper

Than my own?

The land strangely unknown in all its alikeness?

How exciting, this little wish unwinding

This liquid promise of something warm, wet

Safe close encircling embracing embalming smothering frightening?

Not much had changed hardly anything at all

But the silence between us

Is Unmistakable

Now your hand’s suspended

In the silver web of our insecurities

It is now such an unfinished touch

Lost traveler

Such a fragile truce

So easy to go unnoticed

But not leaving m

untouched.

28/10/2009