Touch

“Well I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body” ~ George Michael

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Touch (n): the act or state of touching; state or fact of being touched

 

Recently my mum was in hospital. She’s in her late 70s, has severe MS, and was suffering due to other illness. And there’s only so much you can do in that position, as a visitor, as a daughter, as there are only so many crossword clues or conversations you can have about the outcome of the General Election.

But on being tasked with removing her nail polish, I decided to focus on the physical. I cleansed and moisturised her face as best I knew how, using massage techniques gleaned from Caroline Hirons YouTube videos, I brushed and detangled her hair, and I spent time rubbing in hand cream, each finger, each fingernail, along her forearms. Anything that could help form a different connection, anything that might detract from the grim awfulness of being ill and debilitated in a hospital ward.

Because touch is such a very special thing. The physical closeness of one body next to another. I live on my own and I cherish the hugs I get from my friends, as the warmth of another person in your presence is so hard to go without.

And so, with all these thoughts of caring for my mother, of physical closeness, of human compassion, swirling in my head, I went to my first yoga class in about 15 years.

It was a tiny class, just the 4 of us including the instructor. It felt a safe space, a warm and caring space. And as I tried to work through my Downward Dogs and my Warrior poses there was a moment when the instructor, in her soft and direct voice, asked if she could touch me. I have been touched plenty of times in my life where my consent was not considered relevant and this gentle respectful approach moved me. And of course I said yes, I was in her yoga class after all.

What followed was the softest yet insistent touch that moved my body into a much better position, aligning my head, my spine, my hips, my feet. Unlike a privileged man passing me on the pavement, this touch demanded nothing of my body. Rather, it was supporting me, supporting my body, helping me move and be the best me I could be. I don’t think I have been touched liked that since perhaps when I was learning to walk or learning to swim.

Plato said that at the touch of a love everyone becomes a poet. I think at the touch of a yoga teacher I have realised I am more loved, more supported, than ever I knew.

Such a simple thing, to touch another person, yet I doubt many of us ever realise the impact we have on one another.

If you want to talk I’m curious about what touch moves you? Contactable, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.

 

Princess

Love, actively

“It must be love, love, love” ~ Madness

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Love (vb): To have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for

 

Consider love as a verb not a noun. It’s a doing word. An action. That means our love is expressed not simply in words but what words we use, how we use them, and, most importantly, how we act.

If you claim to love someone madly yet you never ask how they are, never throw them a tender smile or proffer a gentle hug; can that then truly be said to be love?

And, conversely, even if you would never dream to say “I love you” to someone yet you send them messages of encouragement, take photos to make them smile, pause in your busy schedule to check in with them; is that love?

It can be all too easy to say we care, to say someone matters, but unthinkingly neglect them. To get caught up in our lives, our own cares, and not pause to say “how are you?” to someone and really listen to their answer. Listening, letting someone speak the truths of their heart, that is a form of love. Making time in your life for someone else and their life might only take a few minutes of your time but for that person it could make their day. 

So love actively. Choose words that express how you care and make your actions fit those words. There can never been enough love in this world; it’s what makes it go round, after all.

 

Princess

No More I Love You’s?

“No more “I love you’s”, the language is leaving me” ~ Annie Lennox

Or, as defined by my dictionary

“I love you” (phrase): An affirmation of affection or deep caring, especially to a family member. An affirmation of romantic feeling to a lover or spouse. A platonic expression of strong inclination or liking to a friend

 

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day. That day where for years cards have been exchanged, flowers sent, gifts bought, all in the name of love. And, in more recent years, the increased complaints about the commercialism and the statements to not buy into it.

I hear you, I really do. I don’t get those heart shaped balloons either.

But.

But.

I don’t get not celebrating the concept of love either. Tell someone you love them every day? Good for you. So why, for the love of Cupid and Eros, would you not do it on a day that is now set aside in the calendar for such a purpose?

You don’t have to go out, you don’t have to send flowers, to buy presents. My parents bought each other such perfect cards nearly 20 years ago that they have just exchanged them every year since. And as for going out for a meal… Well, the restaurants may inflate their prices, but a bowl of pasta and pesto with some fine green beans, cooked at home and served with a decent bottle of red, that will cost the same as it always does. If you feel like it go crazy and light a candle and share a box of chocolates for dessert.

Just don’t sneer at it. You can dislike crass commercialisation whilst still liking the sentiment. A day about love? Literally what’s not to like? A day for hopeful tentative expressions of appreciation, a day maybe enabling you to contact someone to tell them you like them. Do not dismiss the enabling power of that. Especially not if you already are in a relationship, share that love with someone. Don’t keep it all to yourself.

Because that’s the point of love, isn’t it? To share it, not to keep it wrapped up privately in your heart.

If you would say I love you or do something nice for a loved on on any other day of the year then don’t refuse to do it on this one out of principle; the world needs more love right now not less.

I love you

Princess

You Don’t Have To Say I Love You

“You don’t have to say you love me” ~ Dusty Springfield

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Love (vb): to have great affection for a person or thing

 

I’ve written a lot about love and friendship within this blog. This is because they are two of the most important things to me and go hand in hand.

It’s easy to take our friends, those we love for granted. Our love for them may be undisputed within our hearts but we forget to express it, to show how much we care and that we do appreciate how lucky we are to have them in our lives.

You don’t even have to say that you love them. There are so many ways to express love without ever even using the word (photo with kind permission of Vivienne Clore)

Love

 

 

My best friend died last year so I can’t say any of these things to him anymore. I would give up scores of things, people, to have him back. It’s selfish but I want my best friend back. I want that gap that his absence creates filled by his presence. I don’t know if I told him I loved him often enough. Or how much he meant to me. But I do know I said many of those things so I hope he knew.

My point, such as there is, is tend your friendships. Like plants, they need watering & sunshine, space in which to grow and, occasionally, culling. Life is simply too short to waste time on those who don’t enrich your life

But never stop telling the ones that do how much you love and appreciate them, however you chose to express it. Because one day you won’t be able to and that will be the time you want to do it the most.

 

Princess

Don’t Piss On Love

“All you need is love” ~ The Beatles

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Love (vb): to have a great affection for a person or thing, to have a passionate desire for someone, to like (to do something) very much

 

No. Love is not all you need. But once you’ve got oxygen, water, shelter, and food, it becomes pretty important.

“Don’t piss on love” It’s a line from India Knight’s new novel as a response to someone is worrying over all the reasons that a relationship may not work out and all that could go wrong.

And it’s true. Love is far too amazing to be dismissed, disregarded, sidelined in a welter of worry. It’s powerful and life-changing and more than a little bit scary.

In love? Enjoy it. Bathe in the happiness.It’s a wonderful thing.

Loved someone? Been loved? You’re lucky, not everyone has that experience. I know a guy who thinks who has been truly in love with “the one” twice. But I know plenty more people who have never met anyone they would class as “the one”.

I’ve had my heart broken. More than once. My tales of relationship woe are wide and varied and, in one case, downright horrible. However, I love love. I don’t believe in it (read here) but I love it. I will retain that love whether my heart be broken again in the future or I never love someone again.

Love isn’t the answer to everything but actions, thoughts, words, expressed with love are a bloody good start. So if you have the chance then act with love, show love. Don’t worry about what could go wrong, don’t piss on it. Love is amazing. And, after all. rumour has it that it makes the world go round.

 

Princess