Making Contact

Lesson 2

Now that you’re comfortable and present, you can lay your hands on your loved ones shoulders.  Don’t attempt to do anything. Just let your hands rest there.

Focus on having the palms of your hands make contact.  Also let the lengths of your fingers make contact. Do not contact the other person with the tips of your fingers.  When we are trying to reach toward something, perhaps to answer the question, "What's there, and what do I feel?" we tend to roll up onto our finger tips.  You can actually bring in more information by keeping a broader contact surface.  There is also less brain centered fixing and solving energy if you stay off your finger tips.

Bring your attention into the flat part of your hands.  The emphasis is on the sensation coming in through the hands, not on the hands themselves.  It may help to visualize your hands as being big soft paws or mittens...and then forgetting them altogether as you shift your attention to the other person.

What do you really feel there?  First there is the texture of some fabric.  Then you can feel through that to the surface of the skin.  Can you feel where the fabric meets the skin? Take a moment to see if you can feel that layer.

Now feel through the surface of the skin to something denser.  You will not have moved your hands yet, and you won’t have done any squeezing.  

Once you feel the surface of the denser stuff that's underneath the skin you have begun to make real contact with the bodymind.  If, from here you start to ignore the bodymind and start squeezing, because you feel like you need to do something, then you will give up that contact.  You don’t want to give up that contact. That is the true contact and the witnessing that the other bodymind is craving. The squeezing doesn’t matter. It’s a false idea from a mechanical model of the body that doesn’t take into account that we are alive and that our bodies can tell the difference between really being seen as they are, and being ignored and manipulated.

With your hands softening into your partner’s shoulders, and your palms engaged with their body, take a moment to look for any physical noise that’s coming up in your own body and see if you can let yourself feel a little more ease.  

It’s easy to slip into feeling more effort than necessary at this stage.  The more ease you feel, the more that sense of ease will translate into your partner's body.

It’s natural when you’re learning something new to get into your head.  There’s an impulse to try and figure things out. Your head however won’t be the best tool for making sense of what you feel.  

If you feel your brain trying to figure it out, then gently move your awareness down into your heart.  Your heart is the tool that ensures you have real contact with the other bodymind. It may even give you some guidance on how to handle and respond to the being in front of you, and it could guide you with information the brain hasn’t learned how to recognize.

Bring your awareness back to the inside of your partner’s shoulder.  Still in that flat, slightly cupped position, move your hand forward and backward about a centimeter.  Do this a few times. It’s easier with one hand at a time. Notice what more you can feel under your hand with this little bit of movement.  See if you can feel clearly the surface of the denser tissue. There is usually a little space between that surface and the surface of the skin.  See if you can feel that space. What do you notice about the denser tissue? Are some spots softer and some spots harder? Just notice what’s there.  Do the same with the other hand.

You may begin to notice a great variety of textures beyond simply dense or soft.  You might wonder if you’re imagining it if you feel something subtle that you don’t have a word for.  Go ahead and imagine it. You can just pretend that what you're imagining is real and see where that leads you.

Now that you’ve explored that living surface, let's see what’s under the surface.

With your whole, flat hand, press into the tissue somewhere between a few millimeters and a centimeter.  You need to keep your own physical noise down and to not use effort to do this. The best way is simply to lean your body forward a little bit so that your center of gravity shifts toward your partner.  This way the movement doesn’t come from your hand and doesn’t emphasize your hand.  

If you encounter a feeling of resistance, just let yourself crumple against that resistance.  Resist the urge to try and change the body in front of you. Your job is not to change them. Your job is to witness them completely and show their body what you find.

As you press, what do you see/feel/hear below the surface?  Have any clearer textures begun to emerge? Go ahead and explore those by moving back and forth and in and out a little, don’t try to change them, just try to get to know them more completely.

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