When we are feeling overwhelmed with the demands of life, it can be really difficult to pull ourselves out of the emotional storm, and it can be hard to find perspective. Take a look at your hands – these hands that are a part of you, that have served you through your whole life and, if they are anything like mine, are showing signs of wear and tear!
Even in the midst of overwhelm you always have your hands, as marked and scarred as they are, still beautiful and useful and helpful. Infact, perhaps the flaws make them even more precious – in the same way that we might cherish a much loved personal item that is repaired rather than discarded. I wonder what it would be like if we could perceive ourselves with that same acceptance and embrace? And what difference this might make in the qualities of our lives, in our relationships, in the workplace, within wider society?
Could you take a moment to pause in the busyness of life or the emotional storm, just to really look at your hands. You can pick it up again after the exercise! Start on the top and flex the hands, noticing how the tendons link into the knuckles and support the flexion of the fingers. It’s a marvel isn’t it? All those intricate operating systems of bone, muscle and tendons working together in harmony. Look closely at the crevices, the pits, and the blemishes. Work down to the whorles of the knuckles, the lines and marks on the fingers and the skin around the nail beds, then the nails themselves. What do you notice? Try not to skip the details – use this opportunity to take a break from the whirlwind and come back into noticing the present moment.
Turn your hands over – what do you see? Can you trace the map of lines that runs across the palms – follow each one and observe the breaks and branches? What do you notice your mind offering? Any memories or associations being triggered? Our minds are forever generating connections – what is your’s coming up with? Notice also that it pulls your attention away – our minds are good at hooking us back in! Make a choice to bring your attention back to the exercise; and focus once again on the fingers this time – the lines and joints and especially the finger prints. Can you see the intricacies of the individual and unique fingerprints?
How is the storm doing? Still there I would guess? Perhaps a wee bit quieter or less dominating? Does it perhaps feel like you can breathe again? We know that we can’t get rid of the demands and stresses and anxieties of life – but we can learn to breathe through it.
Wishing you well.