How did you enjoy last week’s mindfulness practice to notice the trees? Hopefully it was an easier practice for you; a nice break from some of the more intense practices we’ve discussed. I love looking at trees. Their gnarly roots, the different patterns of bark, and just how flipping tall they can be. Talk about feeling like a speck on the ground.
Trees are also fascinating when they die. I love to look at the holes that woodpeckers have created in trees. To see all the layers beneath the bark and the crazy patterns that emerge as the tree disintegrates and the bark peels away. Some trees just invite you to crawl inside. But I think the prospect of coming face to face with some bugs or other creepy little insects will keep me an outside observer.
This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Rest Your Hands
In theory this seems like an easy practice. Rest your hands. Putting it into mindfulness action may prove harder.
In this week’s mindfulness practice we are asked to rest our hands. To physically stop any activity we are doing with our hands and to let our hands rest comfortably in our laps. And this isn’t just a short break. With this practice we are asked to let our hands completely relax.
Our hands reveal much about our state of ease or discomfort. How many of you have a nervous habit using your hand, such as tapping your fingers, rubbing your hands, cracking your knuckles or snapping your fingernail? I have a tendency to crack my knuckles. I’ve eased off quite a bit since I was a kid but old habits die hard.
When you rest your hands and let your hands relax, the rest of your body also relaxes. Your shoulders relax and release tension. Your eyes become softer. Your back relaxes. Perhaps even your breathing slows and becomes deeper.
Consider too other times when your hands are tense and need resting. How about when you’re driving and you’ve got a tight grip on the steering wheel? Or maybe you’re sitting in a meeting with your hands clenched into fists? Be aware of these times. Remind yourself to relax your hands, to loosen your grip, to open your fist and let your hand breathe.
Reflection: Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind. -Ecclesiastes