Last Saturday night, I was at a ‘Winter Solstice Celebration’ at Durrumbul Hall, a local hall in the area where I live – a regular party venue. I’d just listened to the beautiful Alice Night sing – hauntingly beautiful and deeply touching lyrics. Afterwards, another band called Kooii was playing – and the hall quickly became full of people dancing wildly. I enjoyed the dance floor until it got a bit too crowded for me. Ready for some air, I headed outside where about 50 people had gathered, warming themselves around a large fire, just talking and connecting. The energy was high, almost no-one was drinking alcohol – chai was served instead and the food was organic and vegetarian. My kinda party!
Chatting with a friend near the fire, we noticed a “massage train” spontaneously emerging – taking form across the fire from us. About 10 people were sitting all in a row, massaging the back and shoulders of the person in front of them. My first thought was “Aww, I’m so glad to live in a community where things like this happen at gigs – so much love and connection here.” My second thought was “Although, I prefer to just receive OR give massage, not give AND receive at the same time!”
Delving into conscious touch as a regular practice (giving and receiving) over the last few years, I’ve noticed how many people find it hard to JUST receive. How we so easily go into the mind – thinking we need to give back, or that we’re unworthy of receiving fully. Very few people truly even know how to receive. We are so used to mashing things together – doing them at the same time – eating and talking, giving and receiving, driving and listening to music… but what happens when we just do one thing at a time, like receive touch?
Why I love taking time to just receive touch…
1. I get to know myself and my own body on a deeper level. When I’m receiving I’m free to simply relax and feel what’s happening in my body and energy flow on a more subtle level. This can often bring new insights and awareness. Even after years of practicing regularly, I still go deeper every time – unraveling new layers, connecting deeper with who I am. It’s a feeling of coming home to myself.
2. The more I get to know my own body, the more in tune I am with myself, therefore the more in tune I can be with another person. When I’m deeply in tune with my own energy, I naturally know how to touch my partner in a way that feels amazing for him. If I’m disconnected from myself and trying to “do something” to please my partner, I’m definitely stuck in my mind, which is not conducive to deep connection with anyone.
3. I release repetitive patterns of pressure and expectation. It’s so easy to feel pressure to perform or live up to a certain standard in the way we connect. Taking time to just receive allows me to drop all the stories, projections and expectations and really sink into myself – without any idea that I need to do anything for anyone else.
4. It allows me to practice the art of relaxation. True relaxation is becoming a lost art these days. Many people believe relaxation to be just “chilling out” or watching a movie, but real relaxation is much more profound than that. Relaxation is actually an active process involving consciously relaxing your body in order to open up to expanded states of consciousness – combining the state of relaxation with awareness. Active relaxation has been such a powerful tool for me to really release tension and blockages in my body.
5. It shows me where I’m holding back and what I can still let go of. It’s a fascinating practice to receive touch and watch my mind trying to distract me – noticing the stories it comes up with. It might be “Oh this is boring!” or maybe “I’ve got too much to do today anyway.” or “I don’t think he’s enjoying this, I should be doing something to please him.” or whatever else I tell myself to avoid just actually allowing myself to receive fully. Being aware of the pattern without identifying with it allows me to release the story and come back to the present moment.
6. It feels deeply nourishing and soul-fulfilling. After receiving conscious touch I often feel nurtured, open, blissful, free and awakened – and I definitely want to feel that as often as possible!!
We can explore receiving touch with a partner or a friend, or even a massage therapist. The touch does not need to be sexual, any kind will do – though a combination of gentle and light touch with deeper massage is beautiful… The possibilities are infinite! (Of course it’s good to also GIVE touch – not just receive!)