Contemplative Thinking About Your Hands


Photo by Gaelle Marcel on

My last post about our hands got me thinking deeper on the subject of hands. I made the point that often we forget about taking care of our hands, and really, do we think much about them at all? Likely no, unless they’re not working as they should whether from an injury or illness.

One definition of contemplative practice is that it’s a reminder to connect to what we find most meaningful. Certainly our hands are meaningful to us and here are just some of the positive ways they make a tremendous impact in our lives.

We wave hello and perhaps shake hands or bump fists. We use the same gesture to wave goodbye and maybe kiss our fingers as the start of blowing a farewell kiss.

Our hands make it possible to create art. There are many forms such as drawing, throwing pottery, watercolor painting, photographing, creating sculpture, and finger-painting.

We create with our hands, whether that means sketching an architectural plan, writing a love letter or a novel, or typing a blog post.

Our world is filled with music with the help of our hands from the shaking of a tambourine or cowbell (that’s for any readers who might have once been hippies), to fingers racing across piano keys or hands holding a cello’s bow. When a musical performance ends, we clap our hands to show appreciation.

Our hands help us stay in shape by holding weights or supporting our own body weight in a Yoga position. We throw darts and footballs and dribble basketballs.

We plant spring bulbs, pull summer weeds, rake autumn leaves and shovel winter snow.

We talk with our hands; our gestures help convey our verbal message. Without saying a word, our hands can convey the message of stop, wait a second, or come on.

With our children we play peek-a-boo, move board game pieces, hold a “hand” of cards, and put together puzzles. We spoon out cough medicine when the kids are sick and we use our fingers to check for a feverish forehead. Our hands help us braid hair, tie shoes, and apply Big Bird Band-Aids to boo-boos.

Our hands help us in the process of creating meals from jotting that grocery list, putting items into our carts, paying at checkout, and everything else that goes into our being able to call out, “Dinner’s ready.” Kneading bread dough, filling a muffin cup with 2/3 of a cup of batter, or pouring chocolate chips into cookie dough isn’t possible without our hands. We wrap presents, tie bows, and decorate Christmas trees and Easter eggs with our hands’ assistance.

I’m just barely touching the seemingly endless list of the many ways our hands play a vital role in our lives.  Contemplate your own hands as you use them throughout the day tomorrow.


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