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Hold your hands in front of you, with your palms down. Notice the length of your fingers. Most people’s fingers will be almost straight. Now turn your hands over without interfering with the fingers. Notice how the fingers curl. This is what remains of our grasp reflex, an instinctive response that babies have.  As we mature, we learn to use our hands not just to grasp and drop objects, but to extend our fingers to reach out to others, to give, and to receive.

Francois Delsarte, a great teacher of oratory in the 19th century said that our hands reveal our thoughts. The amount of sensory information that travels between hand and brain has been shown by recent research to occupy a huge portion of the sensory/motor cortex.

Yet how many times a day do we really connect with our hands? Perhaps only when they fail us – when we drop something, injure a hand or otherwise find our automatic functions are interfered with.

The holidays are a wonderful time to notice our amazing hands. Clenched at that office party, extended to lift the grandchild, carrying a platter of food, and of course, giving and receiving. The difference between an infant and an adult is that while the infant can grasp and let go, it is unpredictable and random. We CHOOSE not just what to give and take, but how. How is your gift connected to your thoughts?