Rebel With A Cause: Why We Must Always Stay In Touch
When Diana, Princess of Wales, first shook the hand of an AIDS patient in 1987, it made global headlines, changed lives and attitudes. The most photographed woman in the world understood the power of touch. Do we?
I HAVE a confession to make. I have hugged. Several people. During Lockdown.
There, I said it.
*Looks around for blue flashing lights.*
It felt amazing.
Like a supreme power prized open the rusty locks, opened my chest, unlocked my heart and let it fly freely.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you do the same.
Nothing’s worth risking your health.
But, you know what?
It’s what was needed. What I/we needed in that moment.
And it reminded me to go back to those basic truths of the human condition.
We need connection.
The power of human touch to improve and transform lives must never be forgotten, whatever rules and regulations are in place for the good of our health.
Please always remember what it is to touch, unconditionally, freely, with love at the heart.
The Diana Touch
Whether you were a fan or not, Lady Diana understood it.
She demonstrated it beautifully.
Whether holding hands with an AIDS patient, linking arms with a young landmine victim, dancing with a Hollywood star or hugging her kids on board Britannia.
I genuinely think this was one of her ‘gifts’ this time around on earth.
I wonder what she would make of today’s touch free, Covid world?
Would she feel as sad as I do?
I like to think she’d be a bit of a hug rebel right now.
Back to those illicit hugs and my personal experience. Yes, there was more than one hug, with the other huggers’ permission, of course.
It’s hard to describe how it felt, hugging again, outside of my household.
It was so beautiful, so pure, so wonderful I can still feel the tingle on my skin, even now.
Eyes bright with the best kind of tears.
Touch is as an important part of our human existence as breathing.
It brings us forward, front and centre.
It connects us, empowers us, soothes us and says so much without the need for words.
It’s the human connector.
It’s home. Our earthly home.
It’s all of us. #TeamHuman
Touch has the power to evoke every emotion.
It’s the motivator.
The great healer.
And more, so much more.
Right now, in ‘Covid town’, we’re little islands.
Just slightly out of travelling distance from each other.
Like that mirage you see on a sunny day.
It’s weird, this touch free zone.
Navigating the unpredictable seas, with the ‘threat’ of touch free police around every corner.
Glaring eyes, tightly bound hearts.
And I worry.
Worry for our mental state in this touch-less, hug free world.
I bet you do too.
I remember the days of ‘Free Hugs’.
Where hugging a stranger was part of my ‘work’.
Maybe it was yours too.
I remember the connection.
The moment when I was present, fully present.
In my body.
Right up front.
Heart to heart, eye to eye, soul to soul.
My breath, your breath. One.
I hold onto this.
We must all hold onto it.
So, please, please don’t go hide out in the back of your body.
Not now. Not ever.
However bad it gets.
However cut off you feel.
I hid during my breakdown.
I lost touch with my sense of self.
I took the ‘easy’ option with depression and peri-menopause gnawing and clawing at my heels.
I wrenched down the shutters and dug in.
It was like having a big police cordon in the front half of me.
So, I stayed away.
Away from others.
Away from situations.
Away from myself.
It doesn’t have to happen to you.
Don’t let the fear in and let it win.
Be right up front in your own body.
Acknowledge the warning signs.
Exercise some caution if needed.
But don’t be a slave to them.
Sometimes the biggest boundaries are our own.
Touch always has the power to transform us.
Whatever form it takes.
So, let it.
Allow others’ kind words to touch you, to hug you, to hold you close.
Read that book, listen to that music track and let the touch in.
If you’re missing real, physical touch, talk about it.
Ask for support.
In the meantime, until we can officially hug, hold and touch once more please know…
I’m holding you from here.
Asha Clearwater is an NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualified journalist who’s been a news reporter, features editor and arts editor, as well as editor of several national business magazines.
Today, through her business Turquoise Tiger, she coaches SMEs on the art of great storytelling to promote their products and services.
Asha occasionally freelances as a writer for national magazines and is even behind some of the information boards you’ll find strolling through Woodland Trust Forests.
She is also curator of TEDxPeterborough. www.tedxpeterborough.com