Practice of the Week
Enjoy Your Hands
Enjoy Your Hands
Category: Keep In Mind (This practice is for everyone to keep in mind and pay attention to. It doesn't require setting aside a separate substantial chunk of time. Just have the intention to grow stronger in this area as you go about your day. Sometimes make it a focus of your daily journaling.)
"Studies suggest that knitting - and crafting in general - can actually act as a natural anti-depressant, as well as reduce stress and even protect your brain from aging." -- The UK Daily Mail, 2014 Mar
"The real action of compassion is touch. . . . Regrettably, we are a touch-deprived culture in the west." -- Dacher Keltner
"To touch is to give life." -- Michelangelo
Adapted from Rick Hanson, Just One Thing.
Human hands are unique in the animal kingdom in their dexterity and sensitivity. Their capacity for skilled action helped drive the evolution of the neural networks that handle sophisticated planning, decision-making, and self-control.
Your hands reach, touch, caress, hold, manipulate, and let go. They type, stir pots, brush hair, wash dishes, shift gears, scratch ears, open doors, throw stones, hold loved ones, and help you snuggle into bed. They may not be perfect, and with aging, they may sometimes be in pain, but they're always lovely and vital.
Appreciating your hands makes you appreciate living. Being mindful of them — paying attention to what they're feeling and doing — is a simple and available way to drop down into a more sensual, in-the-body connection with the world, including the people you touch.
Right now, take a moment to be aware of your hands. What are they doing? What are they touching? They are always touching something, if only the air. What are they sensing? Warm or cool? Hard or soft?
Move your fingertips. Notice how incredibly sensitive they are, with about 20,000 nerve endings per square inch. Play with the sensations of your fingers stroking your palm, your thumb touching each finger in turn, the fingers of one hand caressing the fingers of the other one.
Soak up the enjoyment your hands give you. Use your hands to draw you into pleasure such as the warmth of holding a cup of coffee, the relief of scratching an itchy head, or the satisfaction of getting a pesky button through its hole.
As appropriate, touch others more. Feel the grip of a handshake, a friend's shoulder, a lover's skin, a child's hair, a dog's or cat's fur.
|Buddha Okays All Beings|
Watch your hands talk: pointing, rising and falling, opening and closing, thumbs-up, okay, waving hello and goodbye.
Many times a day, try to sink awareness into your hands.
Feel them feeling your life.
For your journaling today, copy this sentence into your journal: "Wow, my hand is amazing." As you copy it, pay close attention to how all the muscles of the hand coordinate their motion to allow you to write that sentence.
Make a list: "Things my hands did today that I wouldn't normally have paid any attention to at all."
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Dacher Keltner on touch:
Rick Hanson on enjoying your hands:
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week"