It is not something I have any complete understanding of, but for some reason I recognize the touch of my friends and what may be affecting them. It often comes in the form of a subtle whisper. I have found that if I shut the heck up and just listen, the process applies quite dramatically in my work. I will experience new things as a result. That affects what I communicate to the world.Â It changes my perception, as the imprint broadens who and what I am. I need that. My life would be cold porridge without it.
Last night at dinner, Donna and our friends Violeta and Korina were discussing travel and the ups and downs of the process. Sometimes we can be made to become quite uncomfortable by our situations and surroundings. Korina had just returned from Bali and been suffering a bit due to jetlag, culture crossover, and a few intermittent bouts with Bali Belly (the term for all ailments alimentary). She said something very wise. “I have learned that when I travel, it is not just about my experience. It is about the experience of the people who I meet, and the impression that I leave with them”. Touch. There it was. To have it, you must give it. You give when listening. Her wonderful blog is here.
As I work through the tremendous amount of post production from our Balinese trip, I am constantly reminded of how listening allows us forms of contact with a world we would normally never see, hear, taste or feel. I see exactly what I was listening to as I ply the pixel waters of this huge ass file. And I remember what the touch felt like.
The last couple days I had been having a persistent tapping on my shoulder. A close friend had been on my mind and heart. I finally had left a voice mail on her phone.Â Her cel was off, as it always is when she is working. I left a short message, something that I never do. She does not need a voice mail box full of hellos. She would know what it meant.Â I would hear from her. I knew something hard had come down on her shoulders.
Shawn Alladio was working running rescue at the IJSBA World PWC racing Championships. She had been deathly ill prior. A bout with meningitis and a post illness bacterial infection had almost killed her.Â Better just in time. Just.
Her team had flown in from around the world to work the phenomenally high risk event, where boats become rockets, guided by adrenalized, amazingly skilled athletes with nervous systems and skills that are beyond the ken of the uninitiate. I knew that she was in great hands at the venue at Lake Havasu, and that K38 would do it’s job well.
In working with Shawn, we are all tutored on how to be in times of great stress and death. We learn how to touch, care, and offer comfort when comfort and touch are all that is left to give. Bad things sometimes happen in spite of the best laid plans and training.
Her text was on my phone this morning. Summarized it said: ‘Had a fatal today. A friend died in my arms. Blunt force trauma.’ With those simple words, the scene I already knew about unfolded, and I felt what Shawn had in greater detail.
The story of the incident is right here. Who the man was is quite vital. I am so glad that Shawn was there for him. He knew that he was loved as his time came.
Shawn has penned something about the incident from her point of view. Read it here. Whew!
This beautiful example of touch was passed to me today by Donna Von Hoesslin. It best exemplifies how we ought to be as communicators: touched. I do not necessarily agree with all of the lecturers. The video says it best. We are all in this together. If you have never heard of Bioneers, the lectures can be quite remarkable and well worth your time.
As he typically does, Seth Godin writes well of the responsibility that comes with being a communicator.
Touch. It is what makes us better than human. Are you listening? Did you feel that?
Tags: bali, Canon, compassion, David Pu'u, david puu photography blog, Donna Von Hoesslin, IJSBA, IJSBA Championships, isjba, Jeanette Ortiz, K38, K38 Rescue, Korina Kempf, lake havasu event, listen, photojournalism, pwc racing, Seth Godin, Shawn Alladio, social responsibility, touch, travel