A Hand from: Claire

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“In the 14th century, Julian of Norwich became the first woman to write a book in English when she published Revelations of Divine Love, a record of her mystic communication with God. Throughout her writing, she attends carefully to the ways in which our bodies participate in our spiritual lives. One beautiful way to join her in physical conversation with God is through her four-stage embodied prayer. The prayer can be carried out at any tempo, allowing the person praying to deliberate as long as they like at each stage the way in which God is present.
The four stages are:
1) Await: Cup your hands and extend them from your waist, preparing for the possibility of God’s presence.
2) Allow: Open your hands and extend them toward the sky, feeling the ways that God arrives in that moment.
3) Accept: Cup your hands and hold them at your chest, receiving God’s presence in your heart.
4) Attend: Open your hands and extend them to the sides, sharing God’s presence with your community. May these simple postures invite you into movements of loving inquiry that help you reach beyond the circumstances of the moment and into the eternal wisdom of holy love.”
clairehand
“During one particularly boring winter break when I was in high school, my mother cajoled me into embarking on a New Year’s resolution with her: join the yoga studio that just opened a few minutes away from our house. We were enamored despite the fact that we trembled through many of the poses in the class we took, and yoga became from that day forward became a regular practice that we both continue to this day, nine years later. Little did I know then that my own scholastic and professional journey would take me far out of the radius of that little studio. Now, my mother and I do not connect out of the time we share in the same home, so our shared yoga practice has become more precious, a way of drawing our bodies together in time. When we do have the chance to take class together, we set our mats side by side, so that we might reach out for each other’s hands during the final resting pose, shavasana. In this way, we have drawn the feeling of each other’s palms into the feeling of the pose so that no matter where I am, when I lay down and reach my hand out on the mat, I can sense the way her hand reaches out for mine.”

(New Haven, Connecticut)
(Land of Wappinger, Paugussett, and Quinnipiac people)

Submit your own hand and piece of wisdom here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story of how AH2H began.


A Hand from: Brad

IMG_E0733

“I’ve had a steadfast hand to hold for about five years. My fiancé and I met in college where we started going on long walks and sparked conversations that have yet to end. For seven years, we stayed platonic soulmates. Christine lived in India and traveled around South Asia. Brad forayed to Finland, Chicago, and Connecticut. Finally, over spaghetti and Brad’s rendition of “Arrivederci Roma,” we began our romance and moved back to upstate New York.

The wedding was scheduled for July 4th, 2020. COVID-19 put an end to that, as it has so many plans, and lives. As the pandemic crossed borders, Christine came down with worrying respiratory symptoms: persistent cough, fever and chills, chest pain. We cycled through treatments and fears. Eventually, a CT scan revealed a telltale growth in her left lung that our doctor called a cavitation. She asked, “Is there any reason you could have been exposed to tuberculosis?”Well, yes: Ukraine, Turkey, South Africa, Chile, India, to name a few of the places Christine investigated and reported on human rights abuses.

As society shut down, we settled in to fight this ancient adversary. We learned that about 2 billion people, or a quarter of the world population, are infected with the TB germ, according to the WHO. We were lucky. Christine must swallow a slew of antibiotics every day for at least six months, but she will recover. Millions of afflicted are less lucky. Infectious diseases like TB and COVID-19 hit poorer-resourced, marginalized, and underserved communities harder. Too often, infections rampage through communities, medicines are prohibitively expensive, and prognoses are dire.

In the midst of loss and uncertainty, we decided to do something to “take back 2020.” On a whim, we applied for an “Adventure Grant” from the non-alcoholic craft brewer Adventure Brewing with the goal of hiking all 46 peaks above 4,000 feet in New York’s Adirondack Park, where this hand photo was taken. We proposed doing this to raise money to fight infectious disease. We won.

Now we need to see it through. And we need a helping hand. Who doesn’t, these days?”


 

See more about Brad and Christine’s hiking initiative here: “Something To Hike About” and consider donating to help cure infectious diseases, namely tuberculosis and coronavirus.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Oswegatchie, New York. Land of Oswegatchie people)


Submit your own hand and piece of wisdom here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story of how AH2H began.

A Hand from: CJ Lavoie

028

“My hand painting series was about the concepts of personal will and control, family interactions, heredity, family lore passed down through generations. This one has some elements of a landscape in an abstracted way: clouds and blue sky and night-time stars. The horizontal lines and dots suggest musical scores. The colors contain primary and secondary hues. So it is symbolic of the beauty and rhythm of the heavens, with the viewer looking up to what might at first seem to be oppressive hands holding one down, or instead, welcoming you up to a higher purpose.”

(Watercolor by CJ Lavoie, Colorado Springs, CO)
(Land of Ute people)

More art from CJ Lavoie here


To send your own hand portrait (in any form: video, photo, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and piece of wisdom or story, contact: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story of where AH2H began.

A Hand from: Mansoura

PHOTO-2020-04-03-11-21-58

“J’ai l’impression que depuis le début du confinement mes mains vieillissent très vite. Je me dis que c’est parce que elles n’ont pas l’occasion de toucher d’autres mains ou de prendre des gens dans mes bras. Moi qui viens de TOULOUSE c’est très particulier car on a la réputation d’être tactile. On touche souvent les gens mais bien sûr de manière bienveillante. Alors je me dis que mes mains vont retrouver leur jeunesse après le confinement ou en tout cas j’espère juste pouvoir continuer à faire comme avant et prendre les gens que j’aime dans mes bras.”

I have the impression that from the start of confinement my hands are aging very quickly. I tell myself that it’s because they don’t have the opportunity to touch other hands or take people in my arms. I come from Toulouse (France), a particular place, where we have a reputation for being tactile. We often touch people but of course in a caring way. So I tell myself that my hands will regain their youth after confinement or in any case I just hope I can continue to do as before and take the people I love in my arms.

(Translated by Sophie L Thunberg)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Saint Alban des Villards, France)


Some music Mansoura is listening to right now:


To send your own hand portrait (in any form: video, photo, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and piece of wisdom or story, CONTACT: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story of where AH2H began.

 

A Hand from: Jan

A Hand @ Hold April 2020“When Sophie invited me to join in ahand2hold, it sounded so simple: whose hand would you like to hold? Why? The road to this choice has more steep climbs and blind curves than imagined, as it brings a flood of memories – people who held my hand in crisis, people I’d like to reach, myriad hands I wish I could hold. Envying the Goddess Durga, Mother of the Hindu Universe, her many hands, I dive in. Is there any other way forward? I return to the first person who came to mind: my father.

He was the kind of man who kept honeybees even though he knew he was allergic to their stings. He would advise you to get right back on the horse that just bucked you off onto hard ground. He taught us to to be kind to and look out for animals and old folks. And he made peanut brittle like nobody’s business.

On many occasions he reminded me, “Baby, everything’s gonna be alright”. If he said that, everybody in earshot felt better because he’d only ever say it when it was true. During a season like this, what wouldn’t I give to hear that?

It’s not clear what he’d be able to say facing this pandemic, but we can reach out – virtually at least – and offer hands to each other with optimism and hope.

May you all stay well and be strong.”

(Green Mountain Falls, Colorado)
(Land of Ute people)


To submit your own hand portrait (in any form: drawing, doodle, photo, video, sculpture, etc) with a piece of wisdom or story of what’s “held your hand” over the years, contact: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story.

Follow on Instagram @AHand2Hold

A Hand from: Elena

Elena
“We fell asleep in one world and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn’t stand up anymore,
the Chinese Wall is no longer a fortress,
and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not
visiting parents & friends becomes an acte of love.
Suddenly you realize that power, beauty & money are
worthless, & you can’t get the oxygen you’re fighting for.

The world continues its life and it is beautiful.
It only puts humans in cages.
I think it’s sending us a message:

‘You are not necessary. The air, earth, water & sky
without you are fine. When you come back, remember
that you are my guests, not my masters’

~ Published on The Sisu Way
@1scottmcgee @TheSisuWay
~ Published on Instagram story by Yasir Hussain

(Burgruine Hohenburg, Germany)


Please notify ToHoldAHand@gmail.com if you know the original author of the quoted text.


To submit your own hand portrait (in any form: drawing, doodle, photo, video, sculpture, etc) with a piece of wisdom or story of what’s “held your hand” over the years, contact: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story.

Follow on Instagram @AHand2Hold

 

A Hand from: A Survivor, Kazuko

Kazuko
“These are the hands of my 87 year old mother-in-law. She’s Japanese, and -though she lost many family members in the process – survived the fire bombings of Tokyo when she was a young girl. Her perspective and optimism offer so much hope right now!”

Justin appreciates his mother-in-law for her “gentle and tastefully persistent reminders to be grateful for what we DO have, including each other!”

Here, “she’s cooking, which is how she shares affection and meaning.”

__

(Colorado Springs, Colorado)
(Land of Ute people)


Submit your own hand portrait with a piece of wisdom or care here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story.

Follow on Instagram @AHand2Hold

A Hand from: Georges

IMG_0076“Un premier souvenir. Enfant, vers 3 ans, j’avais peur du noir de la nuit. Je réclamais la main de ma mère qui me la donnait. Je l’appelais « la mimine » Elle me donna confiance en la vie en chassant les dangers.”

A first memory. As a child, around 3 years old, I was afraid of the dark. I asked for my mother’s hand, which gave she gave to me. I called this “la mimine.” It gave me confidence in life to face danger.

(translated by Sophie L Thunberg)

(Villeurbanne, France)


Submit your own hand portrait with a piece of wisdom or care here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story.

Follow on Instagram @AHand2Hold

A Hand from: Elliot

IMG_2033

“Don’t lose sight of Ithaca,
for that’s your destination.
But take your time;
better that the journey lasts many a year
and that your boat only drops anchor on the island
when you have grown rich
with what you learned on the way.

Don’t expect Ithaca to give you many riches.
Ithaca has already given you a fine voyage;
without Ithaca you would never have parted.
Ithaca gave you everything and can give you no more.

If in the end you think that Ithaca is poor,
don’t think that she has cheated you.
Because you have grown wise and lived an intense life,
and that’s the meaning of Ithaca”

– Konstantinos Kavafis

(Colorado Springs, Colorado)
(Land of Southern Ute people)


Submit your own hand portrait with a piece of wisdom or care here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com

Why hands? Click here for the story.

Follow on Instagram @AHand2Hold