Two arms to hold. Two arms to lift. Two arms to swing from as a child.
For many years, arms have been a fascination of mine, for reasons of versatility and diversity. I would wager (if I was a betting woman) that the jungle gym we called dad was the origin for this. I remember fondly having him reach down to let us (two at a time) latch our fingers around each of his triceps, only to squeal as he lifted us into the air. His strength, even then, was a wonder.
My father’s arms . . . solid and scarred by use. Some freckles dotted the forearms, as if to frolic in and out of the hair with impish spontaneity. They hoisted me off the ground when I was two or three, clinging to him like a young chimp testing a branch and giggling at the exhilaration of new heights.
They clenched, twisted and applied force to tools on mechanical parts. They worked often as a pair but sometimes covertly solo when administering tickles or arm hair burns. And, when needed, they wrapped around me in a secure and warm bear hug. Ah yes, they opened doors, toyed with my mother and rested across his chest in slumber.
Security, stability, capability . . . arms can be a connecting point from one to another.
What does comfort mean to you? Is it tangible or intangible? Is it elevated on your hierarchy of needs or an elusive afterthought when it’s convenient?
Obviously I esteem comfort, as it is one of the chapters in “The World Needs Hope.” Like huggers to hand shakers or sunbathers to spf blockers, everyone slides on the comfort scale to their precise spot at their preferred time. While by no means universal, a mini-poll did result in top comforts among those I know:
- Having your hair gently brushed or scalp massaged
- Fluffy blankets fresh from the dryer on a rainy day
- Favorite foods, aptly dubbed “comfort foods”
- A worn in but not worn out pair of jeans
- Floating in a swimming pool on a warm afternoon
During this exploration, a close friend plunged me into a beautiful pool of reflection on comfort. You see, she holds comfort at the very core of her life. Being one of the more hopeful people I know, I wanted to better understand how comfort took up this honored residence in her wonderstruck world.
What came out of the dialogue enlightened me. As I dug deeper, it became clear that comfort was an anchor. What she, and so many of us, truly wanted from comfort was facilitation—a pause from the melee of concerns, a haven from the so-much-to-do distractions and a sense of the freedom to focus on living well. Ah, comfort as freedom made total sense.
After all, a greater sense of comfort inspires us to relax, to be our true selves, to release burdens, lower stress levels and to hope for a brighter future. So, give yourself permission to embrace comfort, suspend judgment of those who see comfort in different forms, offer comforting reassurance as a beacon of hope to others and don’t throw out that childhood teddy bear (or, in my case, lullaby lamb) just yet. Comfort can be a strong ally.
Free your spirit to shift worrisome energy to hopeful action in pursuit of your dreams. I invite you to share what comforts you in the comments below.