During my routine Pool perusal, I happened across Ella Risbridger’s blog “Sometimes it’s the Little Things”. It’s a moving, funny, generally wonderful journey through lipstick and loving a man with cancer, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It got me thinking about those little things that get you through the worst of times. One of mine is the grounding power of touch. I don’t just mean lazily poking something with one finger (not a euphemism), I mean full hand contact.
How often do you press your whole hand on to something? Palm, fingers, tips, everything?
Think about it, right now I’m typing on a keyboard, my hand curled up to allow my fingertips to tap the keys. Just fingertips.
I reach to pick up my bottle of water. This should result in full palm contact, right? Wrong – fingertips, and the bottom part of my fingers (aka underside of knuckles), but the central fleshy palm bit in the middle remains untouched.
This is partly due to anatomy of course. Much like the part of the foot in between ball and heel arches away from the floor, the centre of the palm shrinks inwards between the knuckles and the base of the hand. It’s natural.
When I was once in the grip of Pure Fear, I was in my car, parked outside my flat. I had been sitting in the same position, attempting to persuade myself to leave the car, for about 10 minutes. While those negotiations were proving largely unsuccessful, the only thing that was keeping me from what felt like a spiralling sense of madness, was pressing my hands on the centre of the steering wheel. Medium pressure, full touch, palms and all.
I’ve touched that steering wheel hundreds of times since, but I don’t think I’ve truly felt it in the same way.
After a similar negotiation took place outside the front door, I finally made it into the flat and found myself on the edge of the sofa, pressing my palms on to the coffee table. I don’t remember how long I stayed there.
The act of feeling something with your whole hand, not just the tips of your fingers, brings all focus onto that one moment. This is not the light brush of an index finger – a brief encounter, a transfer of energy that holds the promise of a future – this is stopping time, stopping life and holding all of your energy in one place.
Just like Ella found that a new shade of lipstick could be her armour against the Big C; the grounding power of touch is me pressing pause on the Big G-A-D.
Remember that no matter how overwhelming the situation, it’s the little things that will see you through.