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PREPARING FOR A CARESS
The hands are a great place to start caressing, because they are sensitive, used to being touched, and extend from our heart center, which expresses love. Decide who will give the caress first. Make yourselves comfortable, with or without clothes on, and support your back if desired. Decide on a time frame for the duration of the caress, such as ten minutes, then start the timer.
Do an abbreviated heart salutation in which you bow to each other with your hands at your heart (foreheads need not come together). This gives a formal beginning to the caress. Begin ocean breathing for one or two minutes, gazing softly into the other’s left eye (the window of the soul) and following the sound of the breath.
Focus on Your Sensations
When the giver is ready, place your partner’s hand in yours as you would a precious jewel. Feel the heat between your hands. Feel the weight of the hand. Very slowly begin to trace the outline of the palm and fingers. Close your eyes to better explore each contour, crevasse, line, and fold. Marvel over this hand that has brought you so much pleasure. Fill yourself with awe over the sensory discovery at your fingertips.
Caresses are nonverbal, which encourages your right brain to lead (it functions in a nonverbal manner and excels in visual, spatial, perceptual, and intuitive information). Resist breaking out of this space with the tendency to talk or respond to each other through gestures.
A caress is not a massage. While you are awakening the nerves in the skin, you are not manipulating the muscle tissue underneath. Often the lighter the touch, the more stimulating. Too much pressure and repeated stroking in one area deadens the sensations. Barely touch the hair. The roots go deep, and he’ll feel everything.
If you find it hard to stay focused, try touching more slowly and more lightly. If you lose your concentration, stop touching, find your breath again, or—even better—breathe with your partner for a couple of breaths. Stillness is as powerful as a stroke. If you catch your partner holding the breath in, breathe gently in his ear to remind him to ocean breathe. The breath slows your mind and helps you stay focused in the present moment, whether you’re giving or receiving. Conscious breathing is your anchor.
When you think about half of the time frame has passed, you may want to caress the other hand. The timer will signal the end of this caress. Gently lay the hand down, open your eyes, and complete the caress with a heart salutation. Appreciate how you have honored the hands, the vehicle of our creativity and work in the world. Reset the timer for ten minutes, and change roles.