Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews
The Hands And The Heart
The hands and the heart are both deeply interwound with feeling, both internal and external. Our internal feelings are the intimate parts of ourselves; not because they are secretive, but because they only emerge when outside influences are removed. They are our essence in solitude.
Our external feelings are both shallower and more complex. They interact with others in reeling algorithms of trust, pride, need, judgment, expectation, etc. While they have a lot more going on, they’re often inundated with temporary influences, biases, pain, and learned behaviors.
Our internal world does the best it can to filter this constant social stimulus and keep us steady, but sometimes it gets a little bogged down by the data, especially when we don’t get enough dedicated alone time to keep up with it. The heart-hand coordination aims to bring ease to this process, by learning to filter the data while it’s coming in, and to hold true to the internal self against greater levels of disruption.
The hands do, but they also react. White knuckled, open handed, closed fisted, finger wagging… Our hands speak unfiltered emotions.
(Sometimes they even say, ‘I’m filtering my emotions.’ Darn loopholes.)
The heart speaks in reactions too, but unlike the hands, we ourselves are the audience. And boy, does it sure know how to get our attention…
When we sit in grief over a loss, our hearts scream internal reactions while our hands often fall limp. When our space is suddenly invaded, our hands fly up in external reactions, and our hearts may or may not chime in once we determine what the object was.
Fly? Oh, okay.
Wasp? Adrenaline ready.
The heart and hands take lead over one another when appropriate. In communication with others, though, we often need them to work together. We need to feel seen for who we are to avoid loneliness, and that means learning how to coax the internal to come out now and then.
Crafts like knitting, crocheting, and sewing can be great ways to bridge this gap. They often start off nestled deeply in the internal world, in perfect unbiased solitude, and then turn into public, functional creations by their completion. They become a part of your daily presence, and blend into your external world, like a breadcrumb trail to the real you.
Mudras and dance also help form stronger connections between the body and emotions. By choosing to dance to a song that displays the mood you want to have, you begin to sway yourself to that alignment. Likewise, dancing takes an external-to-internal approach, by using viewable movements to display the internal world, in real time.
Whichever ‘you’ may feel more developed right now, internal or external, it’s an exercise in unity to love and care for both, and to ensure they work as a team to serve your spirit as a whole.