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Hand Movements

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The Holistic Cheirology™ course includes 2 essay questions. I found this one quite thought-provoking, since my father has no hands. Reprinted with permission.

By Elizabeth Poitras

A life without hands is unthinkable. From scratching an itchy nose to carving up a juicy slice of prime rib to patting a grieving friend on the shoulder or earning your living – what would we do without them??

Of course the most basic and essential uses of hands are obvious – we must feed ourselves, take care of personal hygiene, put on our clothing, drive ourselves where we want to go - or in some cases let our thumbs arrange transportation - we create beauty with paint and marble, metals and gems; we communicate through any number of electronic gadgets - busy little fingers punching in words and numbers, darting here and there doing this and that – constantly performing the services and tasks that make up our lives.

But there is another aspect to our hands that we over look or perhaps aren’t even aware of – and that’s the silent communication of our hands in a hundred subtle ways.

We throw them up in supplication or self-defense; we extend them in peace or comfort or an ‘open-handed' invitation; we hide them when we seek to hide our real thoughts or truth; we clench them in anger or fear and wring them in worry grief or greed. Some of us even nibble on the ends of them when we are deep in thought or agitated. We demonstrate our nervousness or guilt and usually we are not even aware of it.

In trying to hold my hands still for an extended period of time I immediately discovered just how difficult a task that was. I felt paralyzed. My life came to a standstill for those moments as I sat with folded hands thinking of the dozens of things I had to do. I feel as though my hands represent my life, that they are an extension of "me" - a gauge if you will of my thoughts and feelings, of what I'm wanting to do and how I choose to react to a situation. They convey a wealth of information about me to others and about others to me. Hands are always "speaking", sending out information, taking in information through touch, working, comforting, enabling us to take in and send out - the trick is in learning how to recognize and to "read" this information.

First posted: September 6, 2005

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