A Hand from: Claire

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“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.”
“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.

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