Monday, June 16, 2014

The importance of human contact (a.k.a. hugs are paleo)

As humans, or as any other animal interaction and contact with fellow species mates are a very important aspect of life. Anyone who has raised any animals or studied animals in the wild can attest for the play activities, to huddling together in the cold, the wrestling, the fighting, the protecting, that all takes part of a natural animal lifespan. An animal that is denied these basic things and kept away from other members of their species seems to not be as fulfilled and when they do see another of their species they quickly seem out to join this completely instinctually, think dogs at the dog park. That's because human contact is such a vital part of survival and individuals growth.

The fact is as much as we try to proclaim independence we are all dependent on one another. We need other humans as part of our life the same way any other animal needs other animal presence and interaction as part of theirs.

 Ive read stories recently about a little boy who sang to his sister in the womb and when she was born with some problems and the doctors thought she wouldn't make it the boy was allowed to go sing to her which kickstarted a healing process that no medical doctor could explain and that shocked everyone. And I believe most of us are well aware of healing power of a mothers touch or the emotional bond of a brothers (or sisters) hug. These are things we inherently know whether science can quite explain them or not (not that I dont think they are truly biological not mystical, though we could claim all biology has some mysticism) but mainly that they are areas of science we have not come to understand in depth enough.

The fact of the matter remains that we were born for human interaction. It's no mistake or random occurrence that our arms form the perfect shape for embracing another, or that the warmth of a hug seems to touch our hearts in a way we can explain and automatically make us a feel a little better no matter what the circumstance. It is an instinctual mechanism to reach out a hand for contact when we see someone suffering because we know this subconsciously and instinctually.

 From a personal perspective I am way to all aware of this recently. I can not account for the times that I felt downtrodden or defeated and needed a pick me up. Going back to my mothers was always the answer, a mothers embrace and love was something that could heal my anytime from whatever was effecting me. From being sad or depressed, or from being sick, I full heartedly believe that it should be prescribed more than any medicine out there for it's healing properties. Having lost my mother last year I can also tell you how hard it is to not have that to go back to when I hit these low points. I think way to often we overlook the power of this basic human contact and how maybe it is what keeps those of us who don't fall of the deep-end from falling when we are on the edge. I can also recall a time when I was living away from home for the first time, in a new place homesick and lonely hanging with new friends and we had decided to road trip. At one point I recall one of these guys laying across my legs as he talked to somebody else and I recall this sense of connection that was felt that kind of eased my homesickness.

 In our society today we have taboo'd everything by demonizing human touch to always mean something sexual and perverted through our fear of stories in the media and through marketing campaigns that sexualize everything. We have a created this monster that has everyone confused, disoriented, and afraid of contact. A simple pat on the back, or placement of a hand on anthers knee during a conversation which in times past or even in other societies today was simply a natural instinct to imply concentration and understanding / listening / communicating effectively now can be construed as sexual harassment. We are suspending grade school kids of hugging classmates or kissing each other on the cheek.

We are demonizing human contact to the point that we have built up this monstrosity of confusion that leaves us all unsure of how to interact with one another. This creates this barren spot inside of us that is typically filled with some form of energy and emotional / spiritual connection from this contact. I full heartedly believe this has a lot to do with why we have created such strange perversions with sexuality when human contact does occur because we have have taboo'd contact so much that we think it has to have some evil connotation to occur. I once worked with an older vietnamese gentlemen who told me how his best friend from school had came to visit him and how they were walking down the city street here in America holding hands like they would do in his country. Nothing sexual denoted by this, just friends sharing human contact the way nature intended. But our society had people looking at them strangely, thinking perverted thoughts about there sexual relations and demonizing them for the simple act of holding hands.

Where and how did we get so lost? Perhaps if we embraced human contact a bit more, found way to make it more a part of our everyday lives we would start to understand better that deeper connection that we all share and we would bring back a sense of community that seems to be broken amongst ourselves. Perhaps if we spent a little less time trying to get ahead of our neighbors or compete with them on who can have the biggest car, or biggest television, and more time embracing and interacting with them we might begin to see our own and collective souls starting to shine a bit more. Perhaps it's time we quit demonizing human touch to the point that we leave ourselves so confused about what is appropriate and what is not, and we wouldn't have to think about what owe are supposed to do so much, and rather we could follow our instincts and do what we need to do, which is much more in line with what will help us heal.

 It's been a while since I mustered up the thoughts together for a full post so I thought I should make this a good one. It's a topic I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about and that lately I am finding very true for my own personal struggles. Addressing the importance of human contact is something we might not typically think of when talking Paleo, but a friend recently brought up the topic that hugs are paleo, and I could not agree more.

 P.S. I will rewrite this later as this was just a quick shoot from the hip rant, but one that I think really hits on something that we all need to consider. Hug a friend, hug a stranger, do this regularly and see if your life doesn't seem to change for the better. (Make sure the stranger is cool with it first, we dont need any assault charges).

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