The Risk to Be Touched


I’m reading something called The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It’s a “daybook”–that is, it’s one of those books where you read one entry every day for a year.  I seem to think that once I come full circle with this book, I’ll probably read it again and again.  Yesterday’s entry was titled “The Risk to Be Touched,” and it was quite poignant.

Nepo writes that the simplest reason that we want to be touched is that touch heals us.  He goes on to say that what hinders this is our fear to let others into our personal space.  We fear being hurt by a multitude of reasons; however, these are all reasons that even though they may be rooted in past experiences, are only perpetuated by the power of our own minds.  In effect, we are our own worst enemy.  Our minds hold power over us that is impossible to understand, at best.

So where is it that we draw the line between fear and acceptance?  When is it that we push the mind chatter to the back and exist in the silence and peace at our core?  Of course, if I had the definitive answer to those questions, I would be the author of a best-selling book.  Eventually, we need to take that chance with other people, accept them at face value, and take the hand they offer.  Though we can be incredibly self-reliant animals, eventually we need the support of others.

Nepo closes the entry with the following paragraph:

“Sometimes we would do better to admit the heart works best in mime.  For beneath the worries and fears of being hurt or rejected or taken advantage of, beneath the avalanche of excuses and explanations, there waits a deep and simple pulse that we need from each other in order to be whole.”

And really, when one person becomes whole, doesn’t that inspire others to do the same, thus coming closer to the ultimate goal of supporting not just those around us, but everyone on the planet?


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