In the summer of 2000, I taught Creative Writing at an arts camp in Lenox, MA. I was the only writing teacher…yet there were many other teachers in music, theater, etc., that had a group of others in their particular direction. It felt like I was on my own, and even though I knew that wasn’t truly the case, I couldn’t help but feel it. In addition, to teaching at this camp, I was also responsible as a bunk counselor to organize and help care for ten 9 year old girls. There was another teacher/counselor also responsible with me for these girls, but she didn’t arrive until 2 weeks into camp. The owner of the camp sprang on me at the last minute that I was to teach an ESL class to Japanese students (with a translator for only the first 2 weeks). I felt a little overwhelmed at this point. I remember, one evening, as I was in the dining cafe, another teacher came up to me, smiled, and placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “how are you?” This simple touch and acknowledgement has stayed with me since because it was therapeutic. When he walked away, I realized how much lighter I was in my body, just from that touch. Since then, touch was always something I felt essential for peace, lightness, happiness, and overall well-being. In a world where we can feel so connected to each other through technology from a distance, we can feel isolated, physically, from each other, and ourselves. Touch allows us to not only feel ourselves, but to offer some of that self to others. When we give in that way with the intention of love, we have the power to bring awareness into the bodies and consciousness of others, so that they may also be lighter. I have become a massage therapist because of this. It will never get old for for me, seeing the difference from when a client gets off my table, to when they first laid upon it.
“Touch validates life and gives hope to both the receiver and the giver.” ~ Irene Smith