Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Art of Mindful Touch

My friend Irene Smith is an extraordinary healer. She practices the art of mindful touch with the dying and  frail elders. I first met her at Zen Hospice, and now I get to see her in action at AgeSong where I work. 

Tonight, she wrote a beautiful piece in her blog about 'Cultivating Presence in the Touch Relationship'. I encourage you to read the whole article. 

Tonight, I am taking those words from Irene, and storing them into my heart:
I have to trust what I feel in my heart, what I sense through my body and trust my ability to assess clearly from this current information. I also have to trust that the person I am touching will receive my touch in the wisdom in which it is delivered, and with eyes open, I have to trust in the moment. Cultivating trust is the way to cultivating presence in the touch relationship.
Mindful touch.  Yet another mindfulness practice, this time about touching the body, and the heart. 


  1. In my city - Seattle over 41% of us are not only single but single and live alone and I am convinced that many people are touch starved.

    We do yoga, go to mindfulness meditations, are present to our friends and our lives but many many people are very rarely physically touched. Even those of us in relationships are often rarely touched outside of physical intimacy (unless you have some European and/or gay friends).

    In fact sometimes group mindfulness practices seems to amplify this lack of physical connection when you pay attention to physical sensations.

    It is hard to simply observe the sensations and let it go when the ache is a sign that you need something as basic to human life as touch.

    Why am I posting as anonymous? Because I am embarrassed to admit I need touch. That my soul craves it.. That it isn't something I can just observe and let go yet.

  2. Thank you. I am so with you. When I mindfully touch someone, and I probe inside, I often find buried deep, some fear and discomfort. Some clumsiness. Being aware, and bridging to the other person's suffering are what helps bring the love in, and the healing touch.