My hands: Nikon D3s

My hands: Nikon D3s

Your work is to discover your work – and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

(Gautama Buddha)

You can tell a lot about someone from their hands.

There is a lovely story-telling exercise where participants are invited to hold out their hands and begin with: “These hands have…”.

And so their history begins to unfold.

Whenever, I’ve taken part in that kind of workshop, I feel embarrassed. My immediate ‘go to’ hands stories feel less than wholesome; a little too overtly masculine, maybe? These hands have… fought, held weapons, flown aircraft, stolen, punched, thrown things… Other participants tell stories of hands that have held children, caressed a lover, stroked animals, planted seeds, grown flowers. My hands have done that too, but for some reason, those stories just don’t feel so available.

So, these days, I’m conscious of more intentionally writing the story that I want my hands to tell.

My hands belong to someone who is fortunate, privileged, Western, white. I have choices and I’m aware that others do not. In a world that is fractured and damaged, it feels ever more critical to me that those of us who can, choose our work well. But as we face environmental, social, and political collapse, we are playing a complex game, and how can we know that we are making our best contribution?

As I redefine my sense of worthwhile, valuable work, I’m nesting my intentions into convening and connecting, helping to focus our collective attention, bringing witness to the people and information that will help us find change.

When I do that work, elegantly, beautifully, it seems that the aesthetics have the capacity to evoke an intake of breath in my readers and collaborators.

Work that makes you breathe.

It feels that I could give myself, heart and hands to that.


Take a look at Alan Moore’s ‘Beautiful Business’ website or his Do Design book for some aesthetic inspiration.

I’ve also been dipping into Simon Parke’s ‘The Beautiful Life’ for a more spiritual fix on finding beauty via ‘Ten New Commandments.’

Finally, for all community builders and conveners, Peter Block’s ‘Community: The Structure of Belonging’ is great resource and I’ve just downloaded the 2nd Edition which has a more detailed look at how fear and isolation develops in a digitally connected world.