Over the past several years, I have been exploring the power of touch in relation to creativity and inspiration. The role of touch in the creative process is pretty uncharted territory. I am not familiar with very much research that has addressed this topic. So, I have had to take matters literally into my own hands.
What I have found is that certain kinds of touch can really trigger the feelings and sensation that I associate with creative inspiration. When that happens, fresh ideas and insights seem to follow naturally. The forms of touch I prefer, for this purpose, involves steady rubbing or caressing of my skin. I find that skin vibration, through the use of water jets or electrical massagers, can also be effective.
Often, inspiration happens when I am moving slowly—perhaps while dancing to very soft music—and at the same time running my fingers along the surface of my skin. When I do this, I don’t tend to linger on any particular body part for very long. I like to keep the sensation moving along the entire surface of my skin.
As Maria likes to point out, your skin is the largest organ in your body, which means that there is a great deal of exploration to be done. Lately, I have been using a percussive massage wand and mapping its effects on different body regions. Everywhere is a little different. My hands and face, for example, are so sensitive that they require very gentle touch, whereas my arms, legs, and back call for something firmer. For me, one of the most intense experiences happens when I touch my face lightly with my fingertips. This simple act brings into contact two skin surfaces that are among the most densely-packed with nerve endings.
Touch can be so profoundly inspiring because it combines a number of elements that we know are conducive to creative inspiration: openness to experience, self-expression, passion, absorption, attraction to beauty, and mindfulness. All of these elements can be engaged through mere touch.
As with any tool, touch is not going to have the same effect on everyone. What I consider to be an inspiring level of skin stimulation might be annoying or irritating to you. The impact of touch can vary from person to person, from day to day, and from one part of the body to another. If you are going to explore the use of touch as a creative trigger, here are a few suggestions:
Fabric, feathers, oils, lotions, a warm cloth, or ice might be worth trying. When it comes to your body and the kinds of touch that are most likely to evoke inspiring sensations, you are the world’s greatest authority. At the same time, it never hurts to get a little guidance and coaching. In upcoming blogs, Maria and I will be offering a number of ideas for integrating sensation with inspiration.
There is always more to discover about your body and about the things that inspire you. Happy Exploring!
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