Sleep and touch – we miss them, avoid them, crave them, and do not ‘get back’ to them without resistance and self-hurt.
Nobody has any to spare, you can’t borrow any from a sleep bank, and you couldn’t even steal any at gunpoint, it’s just that precious and rare a commodity. Yet, observe a newborn. They sleep all the time – they are missing everything.
In our device-driven lives, we have marginalized our sleep agenda, which in turn, marginalizes us.
Sleep is in short supply – have you not noticed, they are not making any more of it?
Some things, little things you might never think of – can be soothing. Just as warm touch from a friend, tender touch from a lover, or the firm touch of a massage therapist, we need that soothing.
But what do we do when we don’t have it? Its absence makes us crave it all the more. There are well-known substitutes: alcohol, drugs, reckless behavior, retail therapy, and countless more destructive forces. I’ve explored more than my share and can testify for anyone who will listen: do not go there. Do not even tiptoe down that path. The solution exists somewhere else.
Some believers will tout the merits of meditation, transcendental meditation, pseudoscience of Tai chi, and Feng shui – which will give you tranquility of body, and create clever furniture layouts for your home. But, c’mon, that’s no replacement for the momentary touch of a warm person’s skin wanting to touch yours, is it?
I quarrel with nobody’s remedy for this primal craving. To each their own.
In my experience, there is no substitute for the genuine parts of this. For example, visit your doctor’s office, and someone will take your temperature, your blood pressure, blow wax out of your ears, body contact, and touching is going on, but it doesn’t give that feeling. Get a haircut; someone is touching you. Shake hands with friends, or with strangers – there a different brand of connection there, but not the kind that thrills. The type that chills. Sometimes, but not often.
So, where does that leave us?
We have to soothe ourselves. I touch keys my keyboard in a dark, quiet place, and it is borderline sensual. I walk on a chilly morn with damp wind in my face, and that is borderline too. So many little things – we all have them, let us test ourselves against the borders of our being – press on, just a little bit further, and something tranquil happens. It always does. There is peace in that. Not the emotional and earthy flavor we might lust after, but a compromise that holds us steady for a while.