Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Magic Touch

There is something wonderfully powerful in the word “touch.” Consider, with me, the significance stirred by such phrases as “It was very touching” and “I’m touched by ___” or “I think that I am a bit touched in the head sometimes”. Do you see what I see in this little word’s weight? It communicates a “getting through the barriers” or “cutting to the core” even “affected at the most sensitive.” And I am one who is forever a fan of “The Magic Touch.” (allow me to refer you to , where you will meet one of my favorite-of-all-times groups performing [if you download it] this very song (You've Got the Magic Touch) ... go ahead DANCE and sing along ... I am!)

I can easily recall “the talk” that was quietly whispered amongst my family members as they (Mom and her peers) would speak of one of their cousins who had a way about him that was dramatically different from all others in the clan. He hugged! That’s right … imagine … him, a big State Trooper … all Man … and a tactile Being. Quite the thing! (But they all liked it, and spoke of him with a certain revering and admiring attitude.) But, as a child, I wondered what the big deal was. And (in the natural order of life) as I grew up, I had a predisposition to be suspect of this “touching thing.” I am so very glad that I conquered those crippling bonds.

For, you see, Dear Reader, I now understand that not all of us are designed with a nature that is hospitable to or comfortable with touching. This is a psychological/physiological fact. So, please do not beat up on yourself if you are hesitant to touch, or be touched … and, just as importantly, please do not feel, or ,especially, show disrespect to one whose natural temperament is disinclined to tactile communication. But I believe that we can all benefit by enhancing our awareness of, and comfort with, the wonder and magic of touching available to those who have the gift of reaching through the barriers of separateness… who can cut to the center of core emotions not available to the spoken language … and touch.

Now, I am, mind you, just your ordinary slice of untrained and unschooled individual who has nothing more than a few score years of observation and only limited experience in these matters. But I feel the topic worthy of raising as a matter for thoughtful consideration and hopefully, some communication between all of us who have significant others. Others, in the form of family (children, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and certainly spouses or lovers) who have the potential need for communication beyond the verbal. Then we have friends, associates, neighbors, and passing strangers whose spirits could possibly be bolstered by a “high five” (or other respectful physical expression) on occasion. Recognizing, appreciating, respecting and responding to the gifts of each individual person in our lives is what I am addressing today.

A grasp of the hand in a way other that the habitual handshake can convey sentiment and significance that words would never be able to “touch.” A squeeze of the shoulder of one dealing with the pain of loss or despair “says” more than a box full of greeting cards. Fingers lightly placed against the cheek accompanying silent eye contact “speaks” volumes of understanding and empathy. These and many other forms of expression, through our touch, are resources that I fear languish in disuse to the detriment of our better knowing and appreciating each other every day living. And it is my wish to bring this neglect to the surface of our awareness … if but for this moment.

I cannot think of touching without reflecting on my favorite painter of old. Rembrandt cemented a place in my heart when I learned, through a PBS documentary, of his use of touch in painting the love of his life in his last years. He was, I was told, passionately and fervently in love with this young woman who went from a role as his housekeeper, to his model, then to his common-law wife. He doted on and adored everything about her and his sentiments (by all record) was reciprocated. He loved to paint her image… every feature of her was an inspiration to him.

And the fact that won me over to his camp as an ardent admirer of him as a man, was the method used by him to translate her image… the details of all that he adored as he gazed upon her… onto the canvas. He applied the oils with his fingers. Think about that. The sensing touch that so craved the feel of the love of his life as she modeled before him… that force that drew his hands to an appreciation of every line, curve, and element of the object of his desire and joy… was expressed on the canvas through the oils that he blended, spread, and textured there. Now, you can see why I have written this article interspersed amongst his paintings of her. And perhaps you too can appreciate, with me, his communicated messages in his work with a fuller depth of satisfaction.

So… My Dear Reader… you have, before you, some new material for your contemplation. I do sincerely hope that my sharing some of the nuggets of my interests serves to open the windows of your mind and soul to new and stimulating breezes of possibility.

And, perhaps you will, in the words of an old telephone company advertisement, “Reach Out And Touch Someone”…

IMAGES: Top (hand); Maria Brandstetter, BBC: Rembrandts; Public Domain

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.