Hand Made Life

When I was a young girl, I used to watch my grandmother as she turned a single strand of yarn into ethereal works of art. She made doilies. As her fingers worked quickly forming magical mandalas, her voice spun stories to capture our attention.  Her hands were like two puppet dancers, moving in rhythm then pausing to illustrate an aspect of the tales she told. When she was done, she invited us onto her lap. Her hands held ours, sometimes in silence, but volumes of information passed between them.


You are loved. You are valued. You are my world. And whatever might have been off, whatever might have been hurting, in one touch of her delicate hands was healed.

My grandmother, who I called Mommy Duff, was one of the first people I remember finding myself in. She was playful, creative, wise, loving, and rather wild. She didn’t roll like others. She danced to her own tune (and she really did love to dance).  I remember thinking, even when I was very young, that I wanted to be like her.  But I didn’t really look like her, so I used to pretend that I inherited her hands, that place where her womancrafts, her stories, and her energizing touch came to life.

I have been thinking a lot about my hands recently. They are my co-workers. In the studio, they lead my art adventures. They dance over the keys, bringing my thoughts out for all the world to witness.  But there is one aspect of what my hands love to do that I have had placed on the upper shelf for several years, just out of reach. Over a decade ago, I became licensed as a massage therapist, probably some of the most valuable work my hands have created.

My first teacher was not part of the school. She was a woman who felt called to healing through her hands before there were licenses and regulations by the government. I took a reflexology class from her just before starting my formal education. She took me aside at the end of the class and held my hands in hers. I remember feeling that her hands got very warm and then I heard her speaking words over them.  That evening when I left, I felt like I had been anointed, blessed.  Ever since, I have considered that moment with her a gift. And ever since that night, I have felt my hands connected to my heart.

As I have been working towards doing more of what I love, my wish to include massage again has become stronger and stronger.  So, for the last month, I have been working on making that happen.  Yesterday, I picked up a key for the massage studio I am going to work out of and should be getting my massage chair back from the upholsterer next week.

Blending art, writing and massage together feels as if I am bringing together a formula for personal success. It feels like I am living from a very sacred place in my soul.

This last week when I glanced down at the tops of my hands in the sunlight, I noticed the fine lines that are beginning to take shape. They are some of the first hints of the coming of my wise woman years (besides the multiplying strands of grey that have graced my head for several decades).  I play scared about them sometimes. Oh, no, look!  Wrinkles. But in my heart, I am deeply grateful for them. They reflect that royal line of queens I have emerged out of. They are tiny map markings which record the path I have traveled and the promise of adventure that awaits me.

One of the first nights that I started bringing this creative biz to life, I drew a hand which eventually became the logo for that business, for Creativity Tribe.  When I first looked at it, it was simply an interesting hand, but as I discover where my soul calls Creativity Tribe to grow, I know that hand is a talisman, leading me to my destiny, announcing what I value, and calling out to others to join their hands with mine.


For inspirational and opportunities to connect throughout the week, visit the Creativity Tribe Facebook page.  I’ll keep the light on for you!

About Rachél

Hi, I am Rachél.... the quirky, big-hearted soul behind Creativity Tribe, a sanctuary for your creative spirit. As a life coach and artist, I know the importance of community, celebration, and transformation. Creativity Tribe is abuzz with connections to other creative bloggers and offers tips and stories to inspire your creative lifestyle! http://www.creativitytribe.com/
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25 Responses to Hand Made Life

  1. Oh, my lovely – this touched me to my very core. My grandmother was also a wonderfully loving and supportive part of me and I try to honor her in my life. You, my friend, are doing just that! xo

  2. C M Rawlins says:

    What a beautiful and touching story. You are a wise woman, Rae.

  3. Ann Marie says:

    Very lovely words Rachel. What a special and wonderful Grandmother you had. And now you are passing love too, through your hands in the form of your crafts.

  4. dcannatella says:

    Love, love this post. It reminds me of a poem I wrote titled “Wrinkles”…part of it reads:
    “…They are my grandmother’s hands – with thinning skin – and aging veins – like waterways traversed – upon mother earth. – They are the hands – of my great-grandmother, – Standing before
    the brick ovens of Sicily..”
    Thanks for bringing me back to that poem. My mom would crochet and I learned from her… a craft that so many mothers and daughters have passed down through generations. Hands are so powerful… as are you.

  5. Very nice Rachel! I like that you come from a line of royal women!!! Your Grandmother sounds so strong and supportive. I am sure she is very proud of you and your creative journey. It is what she would want you to do with your life.

  6. artboy68 says:

    Re: wrinkles being “tiny map markings which record the path I have traveled and the promise of adventure that awaits me”; fantastic. Thank you for this. Sounds like your grandmother was an amazing person. Great post!

  7. Very well written Rachel! You’ve done your grandmother proud.

  8. galyn says:

    I will throw in my two cents worth. You see that this writing here has drawn so much of a response which says a great deal–and indeed you did say a lot. My grandmothers were a special education teacher (one of first in Tx) who was also an artist and the other was a LVN who could also sew anything and did smocking (an almost lost art now) and could do french braids. They weren’t perfect (they were two very controlling women and very far from perfect) but they were the grandmothers I was given. My own Mom is a grandmother and now a great grandmother. She is 77 and like my Dad, her skin is beginning to go transparent (as we seem to fade away….)and her skin is very wrinkled. Her great grandson is still very tiny and has no dea how priviledged he is to have her in his life, wrinkles and all, but someday he will hear all about her. My Mom and Dad have had quite an adventure since they met when my Mom was twelve years old. He will be 81 tomorrow and they are both ‘worn out’ from an active life.
    Massage–in another time and place–and I know the time and place–I was trained (in more than one lifetime) as a healer. I was expected to take care of people in a warrior society and I know that in one lifetime my grandfather was a healer too and tranied me to use all that I knew–and it included massage for aches and pains and headaches. In this current lifetime, my interest in herbs began when I was a teen and I’ve used and grown them ever since–last time I moved I didn’t have time to dig up the echinacea. I had one man in my life (again and again,several lifetimes) who had severe headaches. My still-room turned out teas,tonics,ointments etc but a massage was always in order too and I value it today. At special times, that is what my Dad gets on his feet for things like birthdays, Christmas etc–as there isn’t a thing in the world he needs–but that. He is diabetic and was burned badly five years ago-we feared he would lose his feet and legs. Massage was employed almost daily off and on for two years. His feet look great whereas many diabetics lose their feet. I personally think massage is SO valuable–and people have forgotten. That the hands of an artist are made to also be used in massage seems only fitting, when one thinks about it. Our hands are so important to us–whatever endeavor or craft we’re involved in.

    • Rachél says:

      Galyn, you always share from such a deep well of wisdom and soulfulness. I came to massage thru the needs of a family member. It IS valuable…as you say. Thanks for sharing your story of hope with us.

  9. as I read this i looked at my hands and wrinkles I hadn’t noticed before.beautiful story shared and thrilled to know you are doing massage again. I look forward to the day that I can heal with my hands as well I know it is in me… thank you for the inspiration.

  10. So interesting how creative outlets from days past come back to become part of our current creative work.

  11. I had always wished my creativity flowed from my hands; as though my hands could, at once, remove the suffering and replace it with kindness. I finally admitted my hands were like bird dogs: stoic until called, and trained to chase my meandering creativity. I can see your hands as pure light and expression. If only you were in Chicago. . .

  12. Hands, what a unique source of inspiration, and a very good one it seems. Congratulations on your discovery. And thanks for the tale as well.

  13. Rachél says:

    Reblogged this on Love A Massage and commented:

    My love of massaging has deep roots.

  14. What a wonderful, affirming blog post! So much of what we know comes through our hands; so much of what we give goes through them. As the songs says, “Whatever your hands choose to do, do it with all your heart.” You are on the right path. The one that became clear to you through creativity.

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