• Aoife McHugh

Embracing the Power of Touch

Anyone who knows me, is well aware of the fact that I am a little bit needy. I have no shame in admitting that I still hop in between Mam and Dad whenever I am home from Abu Dhabi. Did I also mention that I am thirty-two years old? Yep, I'm that child that never grew out of the cuddle phase. The one who gives linebacker love to friends and family she hasn't seen in a while. I have been known to clinch a little too tight at times. I like to call these: Jesus squeezes, the ones that have been months in the making. They have that unique feeling of the other-worldly, that transcendental touch.

I'm not completely soft however, I do like to listen to rap music. I like to think of myself as a bit of a hug thug. I have spent many years sharing and stealing hugs from various family members, some a little more reluctant than others. (I'll touch more on that one later). You may be wondering what I am getting at here? In February of this year, I watched an extremely enjoyable exchange between Tommy Tiernan and the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. Both of whom, I consider to be National Treasures.  Michael D discussed the power of human touch and how it is something that should never be lost.

"We're much better off when we are able to engage with sensibility with all the phenomena of the world."

Raised apart from his sisters, who were much older, he shared a summery story about a time when his sister returned to visit from England.  They were walking along a country road towards Newmarket-On-Fergus holding hands. He laments that this was the 1950s in Ireland, a time when people didn't touch each other. This, he regards as "a great pity."

Michael D talked about the great paintings and how they often featured people reaching out to touch each other. He noted that it must be done with "tact and respect." He then mentioned the intellectual side of it "I was touched by what you said." He continued "Aristotle regarded touch as the most important of the senses. Plato thought the visual was most important." He remarked that "Plato had led us all wrong, that was a mistaken road."

When I think about the path that the people of Ireland are on at the moment, with so much uncertainty ahead, I cannot imagine a more important time to remain in touch. With ourselves, our family and our friends. A phrase that originated in American baseball is to "touch base". If we make an effort to reconnect with our true selves during this trying time, then that will be a home run in itself. If we have drifted apart from loved ones, then now is the ideal time to get back into the swing of things. (Ok, I'm done with the baseball puns!)

The Power of Touch:

  • The next time you have the luxury of going to hug someone, try this: you each raise your left arm and hold this for six seconds. With the left arm raised, the embrace is heart to heart, the best kind. (No need for any back tapping, you know when people hug you and they try to burp you like a baby?)

  • Hugs change and shift your energy higher. When your vibrational energy is high, so is your ability to take risks, to learn, to love, to change, to heal and grow.

  • Research suggests the healthiest hugs come from someone you trust, this also includes pets!

It is astonishing to think that this intriguing interview on The Tommy Tiernan show aired on February 9th, 2020. Just over a month later on March 12th, Our Taoiseach Leo Varadker addressed our nation from The White House and asked that we implement social distancing. The Irish people, who have so often been credited for their congeniality would now be coming to terms with an entirely new reality. It is now November and this has been tested further due to the lockdowns that have since been implemented.

Despite living in Abu Dhabi, I feel as connected to home as I ever have. I am proud of our President and our Taoiseach. I am hopeful that when all this abates, multiple hugs await. As Michael D Higgins remarked "the most important thing is that you must never be indifferent."

As I write this, almost 5000 miles from home, I think about the excitement I will feel the next time I walk through my front door. This year it won't be a Christmas wreath I see because maintaining both my own and my family's health is top priority.

There is so much to look forward to when this Pandemic abates: that first in-person smile shared with my favorite faces, but above all else, the long awaited embrace.

Read Passionability by Randa El Zein, particularly the chapter How Your Heart Wants to Love for more information on this touching topic.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180301094822.htm


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©2020 by Aoife Mchugh.