Oh Hands of Mine

“Ignorant men don’t know what good they hold in their hands until they’ve flung it away.”
-Sophocles

Last night I was at a restaurant with a few new friends and while the conversation was moving from one subject to the next I found myself thinking about hands of all things.  One of the couples I was with had a little girl around two years old.  She really was beautiful;  with a sweet disposition, perfect olive skin, brown hair and pretty brown eyes – and the cutest little hands in the entire busy restaurant.  When the waitress came to take our orders the little girl, Josie, was entranced by her hands.  The waitress, Wendy, had long fake fingernails all painted different bright colors and a tattoo of some sort on her left hand.  I watched Josie watch Wendy’s hands.

Wendy’s hands were quite feminine and her fingers (minus the long nails) seemed to be as long as her forearms.  My own hands are rather earthy and not particularly feminine.  I keep my nails on the short side and wear only nude nail polish.  I frequently have charcoal or ink staining my fingers and my tendons seem as though they want to sit on top of my skin, rather than underneath.  While they are certainly not my most feminine quality they relay the information my eyes – the mirror of the soul – needs relating.

I’ve long had a fascination with hands.  Everyone has been asked the question in their life of, “What is the first thing you notice on a person?”  I’ve always noticed hands first; then eyes and so on.  If the eyes show a person’s soul, their hands relate the information their soul holds.  Hands hold the key to expression of sorts and can transfer information in a way that the voice can’t.  They can create and destroy most anything (even things you cannot see, like feelings.)  And likewise they hold compassion, love, hate, anger and even memories inside of them.

I remember going to visit a convalescent home with my daughter many years ago when she was a little girl (she’s now a woman.)  Her dance school was performing a Christmas show for the senior citizens.  Afterward, the little girls would go around and give out special Christmas treats to the residents watching the show.  Every senior citizen would reach out and touch the hands of the girls when receiving their gifts.  The girls, unbeknownst to them, were showering the residents of the home with love and compassion just by taking their hands – by touching them.  I stood by and watched as my daughter and the other girls brought touch to some twenty or so lives that day.  Some of which may not have been touched again for weeks on end.

As a yoga teacher, practicing and teaching Ashtanga yoga, I have literally touched hundred and hundreds of bodies and have gotten different responses to each and every one of them.  Some would soften at touch, while others stiffened, clearly uncomfortable being touched at all.  I became somewhat of an expert in reading muscles and reactions to touch.  I came to the conclusion that although some people don’t like to be touched, there is a certain amount of comfort in just knowing that you have been touched compassionately; that someone has transferred their information to you via their hands and without words….if that makes any sense at all….

I myself need human touch and am quite touchy feely when comfortable with someone.  In fact, having been single for quite some time now, I’ll say that the thing I miss most about having a romantic partner in my life is the simple act of holding hands.  I miss that – hand holding.

It’s a powerful thing we have in our hands, no?

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”
– Helen Keller

Jennifer Allison Hands, Elizabeth McElveen Photography

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19 thoughts on “Oh Hands of Mine

  1. Interesting…hands…I always look at hands too. as Goethe put it, people can lie about everything, but their hands and feet will always say the truth.

    You have expressive hands and beautiful eyes 😉

  2. My hands are rather earthy as well and decidedly unfeminine; I think that, for me, that’s a good thing. I saw an elderly couple walking together recently, and they held hands. Clearly, it was something they’d done since their time together began. Though a silent act, to me it spoke volumes about their relationship and seemed as natural as the walk itself. I hadn’t thought about it again until I read your post. It pleases me, so nice job!

    • Thanks 🙂 Every time I see an elderly couple holding hands or walking arm in arm I get all warm and fuzzy inside too. Let’s hope we all experience that in the future, huh? It’s a thing of pure beauty.

  3. Yes, for centuries a persons status in life was determined by the way their hands looked. A farmer, blacksmith, etc. etc. Then came a Woman’s perception of determining a males anatomy. LOL? But to me they tell a different background. The movement, of ones hand are distinctive of how they exude themselves!

    • I would think, living in Sicily, you have a whole new perspective on hands and expression. I know after spending quite a bit of time in Rome in the past, I got to where I could tell what the person was trying to say just by reading their hands! hahahah

      • Yes, you are very smart Jenn! Living here has totally changed my perspective about hands, even though I’ve always been very expressive with my own. I’ve just never realized it until moving here, observing the culture while noticing my self.

  4. ‘there is a certain amount of comfort in just knowing that you have been touched compassionately; that someone has transferred their information to you via their hands and without words….if that makes any sense at all….’
    It makes perfect sense! For me a silent touch can be the most powerful and healing. Often, if I am feeling tense in a particular area I will lay my own hand there and – even though it’s my own hand – I feel real comfort. Lovely food for thought – thank you.

  5. So this means you dislike gloves? Hehe 😀
    I jump when I get touched, even if I know the person. More, if out of nowhere and most esp. if I don’t know who.

  6. I love the way you observe the world. The way you see things and connect it with feelings so strong it can touch the soul. You have inspired me once again and I am tempted to turn your hand idea into a beautiful piece of promotional spot.

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