“Ignorant men don’t know what good they hold in their hands until they’ve flung it away.”
Some time ago I was at a restaurant with a few 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 who used her hands when she spoke. 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 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 the little girl 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. Maybe it is because I am an artist and my own hands are so important to me. 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 wonder – if all of us lost the ability to speak, to relay words of love with our voices, would we touch more? Would you be touched more often?
“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
It’s a powerful thing we have in our hands