I’ve noticed that if there’s a group of people standing around, without drinks in their hands, arms and hands do a lot of different things. Legs and feet too. Hands may be thrust into pockets. Arms folded across the chest. Hands clasped in front. Hands clasped in back. Hands on the hips. One hand on a hip. One foot wrapped around the other, in a precarious-looking fashion. One hand on some supporting object. Hands balled into fists. Fingers tightly interlocked.
Rarely do I see anyone standing with their arms dangling loosely at their sides, their hands open. Or a person standing with their weight balanced evenly on both feet, toes pointing slightly outward in a symmetrical way.
Why are we often so contorted, so skewed, so tight? Here are a few of the stances I’ve seen that somehow make me sad:
1. One of the lead singers, a 16-year-old girl, on a “Celtic Woman” DVD. As she sings, using a mike that reaches around to her mouth, leaving her hands free, her arms are bent at nearly a 90 degree angle. The voice is lovely, the face serene, but the arms are rigid.
2. A woman I met at a meditation retreat sometimes walked around the grounds with her arms bent behind her back, with each hand cupping the elbow of her other arm. A backwards straight jacket, I thought.
3. An actress selling perfume clasps her forearms over her head, exposing her armpits to the audience, or interlaces her fingers behind her head. Another presses one hand to the back of her head. One more crosses her right arm over her stomach and touches the inner elbow of her left arm. Does anyone ever stand in these ways in real life?
4. A woman at a party sits with her legs crossed, right over left. She hooks her right foot behind her left ankle. Talk about muscle definition!
I love fast dancing, and the freedom of swirling my arms in unknown patterns over my head. A group I used to be in called it “breakthrough dancing”.
I love allowing my arms to dangle as I stand in line for something. When I’m really open, it’s as if my fingertips are about to brush the floor.
I love feeling like a mountain, with my feet spread just enough for a sturdy base.
I love looking straight into the camera, with no twist or tilt of the head.
I love spreading my arms wide, allowing the palms of my hands to see the sun.
I love bowing to another person, palms held gently together.
I love symmetry, inward and outward. Or, better said …
Open to God