by Nancy Casey
Warm up your hands by putting your palms together and rubbing gently up and down along the length of your hand, from your wrist to your fingers. Keep rubbing, maybe 20 or 30 times or more, until you notice that the friction of the rubbing is making a little bit of heat. Don’t try to make friction or heat, just notice when you notice it.
Stop the hand-rubbing and place your hands gently on your face. Don’t strain or stretch at all. Have your thumbs more or less along your jawline, your pinky fingers somewhere on your nose, and the rest of your fingers spread comfortably in between. (Impossible to do with glasses on.)
With your hands touching your face, notice the temperature you feel on your skin. Does the skin of your face think your hands are warm or cold? What is the skin of your hands telling you about the temperature of your face? Don’t try to figure it out or guess at how it is supposed to be, just notice whatever there is to notice about messages coming from your face about your hands, and vice versa.
When you get bored with that, imagine your hands and face are covered in soapsuds, and swipe the suds from your face and shake them off your hands. Then start rubbing your hands back and forth again.
As you rub them together, fool around with the way your hands move. Let the fingers flop between each other. Then rub them so the fingertips stay in contact and notice how that’s different. Rotate the hands so they rub at right angles to each other. Do anything that isn’t stressing or straining as long as your palms and fingers are rubbing together somehow. Notice where the friction happens and how the heat mounts up, but don’t try to make any extra friction or heat. Don’t be efficient or purposeful in any way.
After a bit, put your hands back on your face and check out the skin temperature messages again. Are you more aware of your hands or your face? The answer is probably, “That depends.”
Swipe away imaginary soapsuds (noticing what that’s like) and return to rubbing your hands. After a bit, touch your face again. Bring your awareness to the places where skin meets skin and notice the temperatures. Do your hands warm your face? Does your face cool your hands? Is it the other way around?
What else can you notice (without trying!) about your hands and your face? Do your hands give you information about what’s under the skin? Just by touching (not pressing!) your hands probably register whether they are in contact with something fleshy or bony. You can also note points of contact and no-contact. Can you sort out what your face tells you about your hands from what your hands tell you about your face?
When you go back to rubbing your hands together, notice as many different things about your hands as you can.
Keep on making friction and heat with your hands and then touching your face, noticing what you notice for as long as you want to. When you are ready to start writing, rub your hands together one last time. Rub them hard and fast. At the same time pop your eyes big and wide so your whole body makes the gesture that means, “Ready, set, go! Can’t wait to get to it!”
Take up the pen and notice how it feels in your hand. Your hands could be so mightily warmed up that you have to change your position in the chair. Get comfortable. Where is your face in this picture?
Write about everything you have noticed about your hands and your face. (Here’s an example.) Notice what your hands and face do as you write. If you want to notice more things, go back to the hand-rubbing and face-touching part and you probably will.
What about your thoughts? Did you notice any of them?
Nancy Casey teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursdays. Check the calendar for classes and times. All are welcome. She coordinates Recovery Radio, which airs on KRFP 90.3 FM in Moscow Thursdays at 1:05 PM. Recovery Radio needs on-air and off-air volunteers. Call the Recovery Center 208-883-1045 or email email@example.com for more information.