I was out with some friends, enjoying an evening of dance and music at a local gig. We’d just listened to the beautiful Alice Night sing – her voice and lyrics were hauntingly beautiful and deeply touching. Afterwards, another band called Kooii was playing – and the hall suddenly became full of people dancing wildly. I enjoyed the dance floor until it got a bit too tight and 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.
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, personally 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?
5 Reasons Why I love to JUST receive…
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.
2. The more I get to know my own body, the more in tune I can be with another person.
When I’m deeply in tune with my body, 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 embodied 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 chronic 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 allows me to release the story and come back to the present moment.
6. It feels deeply nourishing and fulfilling.
After receiving conscious touch I often feel nurtured, open, blissful, free and connected – and I definitely want to feel that as often as possible!!
If you are uncomfortable with receiving – perhaps explore receiving touch more often 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… Enjoy!