Haiku about Touch: week 4 of rewriting your well-being
Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
Covid-19 note: As this is a time where social-distancing is thoughtfully in place, this post will particularly focus on physical contact with our current surroundings.
Thank you for visiting week 4 of your very own writing for well-being programme, Haiku for You! I hope you make yourselves at home because this session is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin. This will pay close attention to your environment.
Feel free to head over to the introductory post, which explains how this twelve-week blog-series will guide you towards mindfulness through the use of haiku. You can also revisit any weeks you have missed or would like to explore in more depth.
For those whose haiku I have become happily acquainted with in the comments sections so far, I am thrilled that last week’s Haiku about weather helped you find some peaceful moments for yourself. This week, be extra sure to find a restful place for you and your notepad.
Now, if you are ready to begin,
take a slow, deep breath in …
…and then back out.
We are going to talk about
Thoughts about touch
Did you know that cuddling something soft, stamping on the spot and focusing on all your senses is recommended to soothe anxiety? It is comforting to acknowledge that even as adults, we all have an inevitable infancy within us. We all have a primal need to be nurtured. It’s the very reason why a pat on the shoulder, a hug or a massage are something we often long for. In fact, it just proves how important it is that we know how to take care of ourselves.
We often consider touch as a strictly physical thing that belongs to our bodies, hands and feet. It tells us temperature, humidity, air pressure and pain. However, touch is also inextricably connected to our mental well-being. Studies show that physical touch can reduce anxiety and stress, build trust and boost your immune system. At the same time, the importance of touch often goes unnoticed in our everyday lives.
Why is touch so important?
Touch is one of our five vital senses. It’s one of the most reliable methods for capturing life’s moments in all their sensitivity. As we grow up and begin to navigate the world, we feel pressure, vibrations, pain and pleasure, all through our skin. While we witness the different textures, patterns and grains of our changing scenery, touch reminds us we are physical beings.
And yet, amidst everyday stress and anxiety, we can easily become lost in our own thoughts. The use of grounding techniques reminds us that we are not what we think. We can camp alongside our feelings for a while, but they should never take permanent residence. This is why we will explore haiku about touch.
How to use grounding techniques
This is simpler than you might expect. First of all, pick things up often. Lots of things. The world is not here to simply be witnessed. Be as involved as you can. Examine the changing texture of flour while you bake, feel the crunch or flexibility of leaves from your garden, choose that smooth stone or pebble that stands out to you; feel the different textures of fruits like peaches or pineapples. Lose yourself in your senses for a while.
Touch can be a very reassuring and calming act. Consider the simplicity of a blanket you drape around your shoulders to feel the warmth, or the ease of your favourite jumper. What about the fluffy slippers you wear to make your feet feel like marshmallows, or when your pet brushes past you? Think of the way water gently sifts through your hair while you wash it, or the relief when you rest a wet flannel on a feverish forehead.
Notice how certain parts of your body are more delicate to touch than others. For example, your ankle could be far less sensitive than your inner wrist or the base of your foot. Maybe take off your socks and feel the bluntness of grass beneath them. Have a hot bath and feel the contrast as you dunk yourself into the water. Think of the warmth of your mug of tea while you cradle it in two hands and the steam rises towards your face.
Haiku about touch: examples of my own
Our walk of the day two arms and countries apart; butterflies find us.
Bare feet, naked sun, burning for a stroke of air while working from home.
her grey piano - aching for the tender hands from the toy corner
How to write your own haiku about touch
Exercise duration: approximately 30 minutes
1. Close your eyes.
Take a moment to feel the temperature of your space. Is there a breeze blowing through the window? Is the air humid and clinging to your hair?
2. Open your eyes again.
If you can, pick up or touch at least three objects from your surroundings. The more textures, the better. Are they rough or smooth to hold? Are they pleasant or unpleasant? Write a single word about each.
3. If you can, walk or stand up on bare feet. Feel the spring or solidity of your foundation. If you can’t do this, simply hold a warm or cold beverage in your hands, or wrap a blanket around you. This is just about noticing sensations and surfaces.
4. Choose the most grounding detail from your list. Which ones make you feel most strong, comfortable and safe? Consider why you like this feeling. Does it remind you of anything from when you were small, or another happy memory from the past?
5. Hold onto the detail you find most comforting from this moment. Leave everything else behind. Their moment has passed. Pick up your pen, and very gently, write your haiku about touch.
Just remember, it’s three lines of 5-7-5 syllables! Refer back to How to write Haiku guidelines.
Take another deep breath in, and then back out.
Gently stretch your arms and legs. Move them around a little. Yawn or smile.
How do you feel, both emotionally and physically?
It’s no surprise that holding onto something in this big world can immediately make us feel less alone. However, it can also be a healthy reminder to ourselves that touch isn’t only about comfort. When we are children, our tiny fingertips try to claw onto the whole world, just so we can find our way. We can all agree that as adults, we are always trying to familiarise ourselves with our personal journey. And, isn’t it a privilege to be able to learn something new every day?
Thank you so much for taking this time to keep in touch with the world around you – and with me! I look forward to seeing you next Monday for Week five (can you believe it?), which will bring you another mindful theme! For now, I will keep it under wraps and look forward to reading your haiku contributions.
Remember, next time you are feeling a little fragile, your body may be struggling too. Find your ground, pick up some positivity with your bare hands and kindly give yourself the hug you need.
Now, let’s haiku away!
If you are happy to, please leave your beautiful haiku about touch in the comments section below this post.
See last week – Week Three: Haiku about Weather.
Haiku about Touch
Grass under bare feet
Squishy, tickling toes and legs
A moment of calm
A lovely feeling captured! You sound very relaxed here, Carolyn. It is definitely very calming. I’m glad you had this moment. Thank you. 🙂
Dawn breeze and hot sun
peeling off layers of sleep
from my morning brow
Hi, Katrina! A warm welcome to the group! 🙂 Your haiku is so descriptive, it’s great! I can really feel the reluctant escape from deep comfort. Thank you for contributing! 🙂
Blanket tightly bound
protecting arms around me
warm and safe cocoon
This one definitely captures that comfort while we are asleep or have just departed it, of feeling truly nurtured and away from all danger. Safety – you said it. Thank you!
Nurse my toy Golly
Feeling like a child again
Sigh with contentment
And a sigh really does calm us down, doesn’t it? It’s definitely helpful to allow ourselves to leave adult pressures behind sometimes. I can completely see this. I’m glad you found a positive moment. Thanks, Wendy. 🙂
light droplets of rain
first kiss on the greedy mouth
of the parched earth
I absolutely love this haiku, Peter! The little twist of the ground’s relentless thirst at the end! Brilliant. I think it will definitely be glad about tomorrow’s rain. Thank you! 🙂
Tired dog rests his head
She strokes his grey peppered fur
Fingers tipped with love.
‘Fingers tipped with love!’ That’s so beautiful and touching! ‘Peppered‘ fur is also such a perfect description. How relaxing – for the dog too! 🙂 Thank you.
Thank you Georgia.
Socks soothe the days end journey
Cosset weary feet
Those socks sound massively comfortable and much-needed and appreciated. 🙂 I know they are! Thanks for this. 🙂 It makes me want to put my fluffy socks on too!
Purple dusk laden walk
Where rippled sea touches sand
Startled gulls take flight .
Lovely! A touch of two environments that causes another to react in surprise. This is a great take on the theme. I like that the dusk is ‘purple’ too! Thank you. 🙂
The embrace of God
Spirits’ touch upon my soul
Joy of love received
Great! Another unique take on the theme – spiritual touch. Thank you! I love the positive and reassuring feeling of this one. 🙂
His touch sweet med’cine
All that He touches refreshed
Like dew on tired rose.
(Not mine, but lovely all the same)
That is really lovely, I agree. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂
Hi all, I found it hard this week. Better late than never though. I enjoyed reading all the others too xx
Cosy warmth and love
This blanket hugs me tightly
How I long for mum
Hi Lotte! 🙂 Don’t worry about that at all. There’s no pressure whatsoever – take your time. That’s a really lovely haiku. It shows the nurture we all need no matter how old or where we are with our lives. Hugs mean a lot, don’t they. Thanks for this. 🙂
I found your haiku very moving. Sad!
I thought this weeks theme was quite difficult. I do love reading everyone’s haiku
Looking forward to Monday and Georgia’s inspirational words.