Was it the scent of fresh croissants?
Was it the clusters of people sharing thoughts, smiles and laughter that raised curiosity with anyone who walked by?
Or perhaps, the 70’s music that can be heard from the open kitchen along with the chef singing right in tune.
As I sat back eating my delicious Michelle salad (ingredients: arugula, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese…yum), I observed the palpable eclectic vibe that was penetrating my energy.
Then I saw something unique happen…
The chef -also the owner- emerged from the kitchen. As he sang along with the sounds of the Beatles track 8 Days a Week, he began to touch everyone he passed. The touch varied from a handshake, to a pat on the shoulder and even a playful index finger touch on anyone’s shoulder who didn’t see him. He was leaving a subtle imprint with everyone on his path. Some people acknowledged it, others simply continued about their business but you can be sure, his touch left an imprint of “I see you”.
David Linden who wrote the book, Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind, says: “The most critical function of interpersonal touch is to build trust and cooperation. It’s the ability to strengthen a bond and communicate, I’m on your side. I’m an ally.”
David Linden continues to say: “Humans have lived in social groups now for hundreds of thousands of years. And so, we’re extraordinarily good at reading other people’s facial expressions, tone of voice, body language. We’re extremely well-adapted for that. But when we communicate via email, text or social media, all of those unspoken signals are impoverished. It’s the difference between sending a sad emoji and actually reaching out and touching someone to console them. It’s the difference between hugging someone and just texting them that you are thinking of them. So there is this missing component of the human experience.”
There you have it! There is no substitute for touch. The bond it creates, the trust it conveys – it’s part of our evolutionary background.
One of the quintessential reasons I feel so fortunate to work in a field where people need to hold each other for a dance to occur -to create artistic chemistry and harmony with another human being- is because it is, and continues to be in crucial need of reciprocity during an era where the digital way of communicating has been taking over our lives.
Touch provides it’s own language of compassion, a language that is essential to what it means to be human.
“To touch is to give life.” – Michael Angelo