No matter what corner of the earth I run away to, the ghosts that haunt me and monsters that keep me awake at night will always follow. For now. After a few marvellous moments of urban exploration of our neighbourhood here in Prague last night, which cat and daughter thoroughly enjoyed, the inner darkness came over me. Last night my thoughts centred around fists and palms.
This trip is not a see-all-you-can-in-a-weekend event, but rather an attempt to begin exorcising some demons. It is a question of deciding whether to use fists or palms, and no, I am not talking about boxing and slapping.
Take a look at your hand for a moment, you have five fingers which are of little use individually, but if they work together, then you can accomplish so much more. Dealing with my own depression is not just about treating one finger in pain, but the entire maimed hand.
An open palm is welcoming, prayerful, meditative, and also vulnerable to being hurt. You expose the nerves and sensitive side, experiencing every raw sensation coursing through your body. That is pretty much how I have been these past months, palms up – raw, emotional, and incredibly vulnerable. In previous years I was always the woman with palms down on the table, determined, strong, and unafraid of the weight beneath me. But now, my palms are turned upward with fingers spread, so everything seems to be slipping through them.
A fist is aggressive, ready for action or to defend, uncertain of the consequences that will result from that punch. On the other hand, a fist also holds on tight and for dear life. When you are hanging by a rope, the grip tightens, regardless of whether you are trying to climb back up or work your way down the mountain. I was recently accused of holding on too tight in a relationship, to the point of suffocation. That, I would argue, is a matter of perspective and it takes two to tango. How tight one holds on also depends on how much the other person is willing to reach out and hold me in return. The safer I feel, the looser the grip.
The question is now, what is the right position of the hands? I would say cupping them together in a way that I can catch water or prevent grains and flowers from falling off. With full hands I can then turn towards the sunrise as an offering, or bring them closer to me and inhale the scent of hope and recovery.
I wish I were a bird through, and didn’t have to worry about fists and palms, just spread my wings and soar. As I rose this morning and looked out to the river before sunrise, I was greeted by a noisy flock of seagulls and ducks chattering away. Another tormented night has passed, the cat was restless and ready for action (though she settled down to watch the river fowl by the window), and and the highlight of breakfast in the botel galley was the world’s grumpiest waitress who stomped around angrily.