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hand work...

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…a fascination with something other than our worries, our computers, shoveling the snow on our driveway, which bakery has the better bread, the Dow, how I gained a pound last weekend. We have to cultivate a desire for something other than Cheerios and a good time on Saturday night. ~ Natalie Goldberg

I skipped last week’s blog – gave myself a pass (something I rarely do) because there was a lot of woodworking (which takes time… no rushing the process). Besides, I knew the thing I wanted to say needed some time to steep. I had only pieces of it and didn’t wish to put out something half thought out, just because I made an arbitrary commitment to write once a week.

Yes, there is a practice to honor. And yes, there is grace to consider.

My commitments are empty if I cannot be authentic within them.

And so, I took a whole week to look at my hands.

I’m asking quite a bit of them right now… to write notes, respond to emails, wrap packages, sand and paint and sand again, and to give lessons as I continue my study of the Alexander Technique.

My mentor noticed that when teaching, my hands already held shape when they went to touch a client. One of the things she has cultivated is a way of teaching that does not disturb the space of another… there is only discovery and invitation. 

What this means (if my hands already have shape), is that they already have an opinion. This reduces the discovery I might make, and clouds the intent. And, this then translates through my hands to my client.

So I got really curious about why my hands were doing this… turns out it was a few things.

  1. I’m using my hands SO MUCH right now, and I need to provide extra care for them… stretching them, giving them moments of rest and massage. I need to balance the use with the care.
  2. I need to connect my hands to my arms to my whole self. In other words, my hands are not separate from me. Every part of me works together in everything I do. If I fragment my self into pieces and parts, it keeps everything from working seamlessly together, as I'm built to do.
  3. There is no auto-correct on my intent… what goes out is exactly as I think it (or don’t)… It reminds me of walking Yoshi. Everything I’m thinking/intending travels down the lead… If my mind wanders even a little bit, he immediately senses it and my words don’t hold any meaning. As humans, we also have this sensitive radar with one another… in touch, in words, in simply being in the same room with one another... we can feel the difference when someone is fully present and when not 

So, I played with a few things:

  1. allowing my expectations to be more flexible - giving up time frames for the activities and responsibilities on my to-do lists
  2. slowing down whatever it is that I am doing, so I can focus on doing one thing at a time, with my whole self (mindfully)
  3. allowing my hands to take the shape of the object I  encounter - my hand meets an object as it is, rather than with a prepared agenda or shape 

At first, the notion of being without opinion scared me. It appeared that in doing this, I would deny my intelligence. However, after some time deeply exploring this, it’s really about respect and equality and curiosity for something/someone outside of myself.

It’s letting go of how I think something should go or be… no correction, only discovery. curiosity. without the judgement. Intelligence is required. Opinion is not part of that intelligence. 

And I realized that this is much bigger than just my hands…

On a call with my father I realized I already held the shape of an opinion, which meant there was less room for discovery. My preconceived notion, my opinion, my judgment, affected my intent.

(All week I saw something similar in the impeachment hearings…)

I'm not saying it's easy. Every day I am practicing this, but my sense is that it's a way to authenticity... 

I think we're all a bit tender these days, and taking an extra moment to be responsible for our actions, every single one of them, can make a difference. 

We cannot control how our intentions land on another, but we can be more practiced in our invitation...

always in motion,


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  • Ahhhh, sweet, wonderful, SplendaFABtacular Fia!!

    I too am sitting with this concept of learning to let my preformed opinions fall to the side as I do my best to leave room for discovery. After much soul searching, I’ve come to understand my heart’s true home is in Pittsburgh, PA and that self-employment is not my authentic jam. There’s a wonderful, loving relationship involved as well, which I hope to nurture with as much grace, gratitude and good humor as you & Brian seem to bring to your lives. Exciting, a bit scary, and definitely a call to recognize/release preformed opinions so I can be as authentically ME as possible from both an “intention” and “action” perspective.

    3 Breath HUG,

    Cheryl Ann Lowitzer on
  • This is so delightful – and meaty – maybe even akin to Torchy’s fare! Layers of experience, observations and insight, thank you! I appreciate your capable hands (and Brian’s) used to choose and wrap (INDIVIDUALLY) all the goodies in my mystery package!!! And they were all so lightly taped that I could peek in and reseal them. So happy to receive your intentions and insights through your art, words and daily inspiration!!

    Roberta (Robbi) Denman on
  • I hear you loud and clear. Being with what you shared. I see where the plan comes before this moment to moment letting what’s natural just be free to express itself. Thank you for the fine tuning. I love that you gave yourself the space to be true to your Self. Bless your ministry dear One.

    Elizabeth Young on
  • I love this message, thank you for giving yourself permission (or whatever you wish to call it) to let your thoughts steep…dripping into your heart space. Your authenticity is felt through your words…and all the spaces between the words. The part that really resonated with me was your realization that being without an opinion actually required your intelligence rather than denied it. I will sit and ponder this more, thank you for your commitment to “being with” your uncertainties. We all benefit from another’s journey into self discovery. I know I have just been touched, and I am now sitting in the grace, with gratitude.

    Deidre Montgomery on

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