Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


A Year of Mindfulness-Rest Your Hands

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

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A Year of Mindfulness: Appreciate Your Hands

So how did you do last week with eliminating filler words? I thought it would be easy. However, eliminating those words is more of a challenge than I expected.

As an artist I spend a lot of time by myself. When I’m with family or friends, conversation is a welcome change of pace. What I realized this past week was how quickly I forgot this mindfulness practice. It wasn’t until late in the week when visiting a friend that I listened to myself while speaking. My big filler word? “Um.”

I find I use the word “um” as a way to string together my thoughts. Instead of taking a short, silent pause between phrases or sentences, I fill the silence with “um.”

Of course, the more aware of this I became, the more effort I put into trying to stop myself from saying “um.” I was hearing myself speak, then thinking “stop saying um,” and then worked harder to try and stop myself. Frankly, it was a bit exhausting. The solution? Speak slower and think about what you’re saying.

This week’s practice

This week’s mindfulness practice is to appreciate your hands. Several times during the day this week, observe your hands as you use them in activities. Observe them at rest. Observe your hands as if they belonged to someone else.

We use our hands naturally and unconsciously. This week observe your hands, how you use them, and how they help you.

Caution: I suggest doing this practice during safe activities. Watching your hands while driving, chopping veggies, or cutting wood is not recommended.

Reflection: If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  -Yiddish proverb


Milagros Spirit Icons-Hands

Here are two pictures in the periodic posting of my Milagros Spirit Icons series. These two Milagros Spirit Icons represent the hands and/or arm. The hand/arm Milagros represents our connection to others. Our hands are the way we relate to the world; we reach out to others and others return our touch.

The hand/arm Milagros also represents labor; that which we use to complete our work; and are the instruments through which our creativity flows-through art, music, writing. Finally, the hand Milagros can represent healing through touch/massage, energy/Reiki, and prayer.

Look at your hands and think of all the ways you use them throughout the day. Your hands are one of your connections to the world.

Hand Milagros Spirit Icon

Hand Milagros Spirit Icon

Milagros Spirit Icon Hand & Arm

Milagros Spirit Icon Hand & Arm