On the first day of class I like to ask my students to study their hands in silence for a few minutes … yes a few minutes, in silence … not to give just a passing glance at them but to see them for what power lies within them. It is easy to think, “yes, my hands, so what?” Too often we take them for granted, poor things. We beat them up during the course of busy lives at least I do anyway, by carelessly shutting a finger in a door, scraping knuckles on hard surfaces, and other such abuses while quickly doing my daily tasks. But, we rarely take the time to look at those beautifully designed intricate tools called hands that are attached neatly at the end of each arm. Our hands are everything to us in all that we do, how we do it, and how we give ourselves in service to the world.
Everyone’s hands have a unique palm, finger, and thumb print. They are one of the gifts from our parents, our heritage. If you look at your hands you will notice they are like your fathers or your mothers. My hands are a nice mixture of both as I can see my mother and father’s hands in mine, and how I express myself with them in the world. As I held my dying mother’s hand, I was in awe of how much our hands were alike and it was a subtle line between where hers ended and mine began. We feed ourselves, we feed each other, we hold our newborn babies, we touch our dying and all these things, at all times with our two hands, we take care of our daily tasks of living. All living beings have hands of some shape or another, all capable of helping each other with those hands and all living beings touch one another for all the same reasons. And I have just scratched the surface. All of this dynamic connection to life lives within us and is expressed through our hands.
With our hands we touch, we hold, we comfort and connect. Consider thisall the knowledge and wisdom of touch and communication was born in your hands and has been passed along to you since the dawn of your humanity. Touching another connects us to our family, touch communicates how we are doing, and touch conveys what we want to say to another being all through the sensory wisdom of our hands. Messages are conveyed with a touch of the hand. Touch helps us reconnect to ourselves when we have lost our way or we need comfort in a time of loss, we touch to share joy and healing. Every living being will touch to comfort another, species to species and from one species to another. All those wonderful photographs and videos about unlikely friends that people share on Facebook is a testimony to that simple act of kinship. This sense is so deep within us that we cannot possibly communicate our innermost selves without the use of our wondrous hands.
I ask my students to look at their hands so that they can begin to understand that they really are the greatest healing tools they could ever possess. We don’t have to buy them or make them and they will never go out of style or be replaced by a new technology. They are very transportable as they go wherever we go so we never have to worry about having the right tools when we get to the horse. We teach students how to remember the power of a healing touch and then how to apply it to the horses that we all wish to help. A simple yet profound healing happens when one hand touches another.