Step 1 is the starting point of the encounter of bodies. Being so, the way such an encounter takes place is important, especially in the current situation in which the bodies are submitted to isolation measures until now unimaginable. Thus, rituals of welcoming become more relevant in this encounter. At the same time, they must be re-learnt and re-negotiated. In this step, where individual bodies are prepared to come closer to touching, the following aspects should be taken into account during the rituals:
In this very first encounter, it is relevant to:
Allow diversity in the bodies’ expression, physical and psychological behaviour during encounter and interaction, while taking care of possible affections caused by Covid.
Guarantee an inclusive conversation, making written information accessible for blind people, and allowing lip reading for deaf-mute people (there are measures to facilitate lip reading, such as to use transparent masks or screens, or even to remove the mask at a safe distance).
Establish guidelines or indications when welcoming visitors, facilitating information on how to move about the space, where the exits, the toilet, and disinfection stations are located, where to leave their jackets, bags, and accessories, etc.
Designate a specific person to be in charge of care and safety, who people can reach in case they have any doubts or discomfort, etc. This person will be responsible for attending and guaranteeing safety and comfort of all diverse bodies, facilitating an adequate and fluid communication among them.
When bodies encounter, initial communication and the show of empathy towards other bodies are important. For this reason, we propose the practice of different types of salutations, with eye and physical contact, that are also safe for the bodies. These interactions or salutations are of different types, including:
Keeping physical distance: We can salute with our hands, make a reverence, a high-five without actually touching, etc. When wearing masks, we can also favour visual contact, to gesticulate and smile with our eyes, etc.
Keeping short distances still without contact, allowing the flow of energy between the bodies: For example, we can place hands in parallel a few centimeters apart to notice the energy and the continuum between the bodies.
Establishing safe physical contact that allows bodies to touch: elbows touch, feet touch, to touch each other's backs, forearms touch, or to touch with the top of our heads, etc. Always avoiding proximity of uncovered faces and the touch of unprotected hands.
Establishing physical contact touching body parts with the fingers (also with those fingers we use less when touching potentially dangerous surfaces, like the pinky finger, for example), whenever before and after we make use of disinfectant gels to clean hands and avoid contagion.
In the event's rituals and narratives, we propose introducing elements of welcoming, of collective sharing, and for the preparation of senses, such as:
Elements for the stimulation of senses can be used to transmit mood states and relaxation (e.g. incense, aromas, sounds…).
Exercises of presence to bring consciousness to the here and now, like breathing, meditation, exercises to slow movements, etc.
Food and beverage sharing in a safe manner.
Sharing of emotional states and stories-remedies that elevate the energy and strengthen the immune system.