I have clients that will tell me that someday I'll find a guy that really values me and will take care of me romantically. I always find that really funny for a few reasons, none the least being that this implies that they assume I'm doing this work while single. This is not true actually! I've dated a lot while doing this work the past two and a half years (and it's made for interesting conversations over first dates, let me tell you) and for the most part people have been impressed and livened rather than disturbed or disheartened that their date is cuddling other people for a living.
I started dating one man about a year ago that is now one of my closest confidantes for both my life and my business, and on the hard days when I'm learning how hard it really is to manage a business, call the shots, and keep my personal life in check he's been the one to cuddle the professional cuddler and rejuvenate me. Even better, he was surprisingly skilled himself (no, he hasn't been open to doing this work on the side when I've asked him about it. Sorry everyone).
Now, I met him well after I decided I knew enough to be able to teach someone how to work in this profession, but I've actually learned even more while being with him as a romantic partner. In fact, he's been directly responsible for improving both my training and the way I approach my sessions overall. So today, in honor of one year with him, I'm going to share what I've learned from him:
1. Meaningful eye contact while listening is powerful. I've been trying to be more aware of how I look at people when I listen and really listening. He has this way of really being with someone when he listens. It makes sense; we met at an event that was all about meaningful conversations and listening to the other person rather than trying to figure out what words to say next. But he did this wayyyy better than I did when I first met him.
2. Being still is okay. If you've ever cuddled with me, you probably know that I have the tendency to run my hands up and down the sides of arms, through hair, on the shoulders, etc. I'm a fidgety person and I like moving my hands around. But when I started cuddling with him, I noticed how still he was when we cuddled. But it didn't feel uncomfortable cuddling with him like that. In fact, the fact that we were so still made it easier to drop into being present with him. It also helped that he is a huge lover of the "seatbelt"-- wrapping one arm down from the shoulder across to the opposite side of the stomach and wrapping the other arm around the waist all while spooning. I can't go anywhere or do much of anything like that, so I'm just staying still and keeping safe really close to him like this.
3. By receiving, you are actually quite giving. It's really easy to get caught up constantly giving to people when cuddling. Cuddling is a lot like dancing in a way; there's often a leader and a follower. As the professional cuddler, I often assume the leader role (mostly because the other person doesn't really know what they just walked into). But as I cuddled with my partner more, I noticed that I didn't have to be constantly be giving to him as the leader in order for him to enjoy cuddling. In fact, he seemed to really get fulfilled giving to me (of course, I did give to him from time to time as well). So I started paying attention in my sessions more to see if more people wanted to lead and give to me rather than receive from me.
The answer? Yes, yes there are people that want to give more! It was something that took a little bit of navigating to do, but combining this with #2 (being still is okay, and also much easier to receive when still) was crucial for the people with a need to give and no way to direct that.
Professionals are always learning, and sometimes the biggest lessons you can take come from the most unexpected of places. I thought I was going to teach him a thing or two about cuddling when we started dating-- and he probably has-- but I ended up learning so much more than I thought I would.