During a ceremony I participated in with Peruvian curandero de sonido (sound healer) Tito LaRosa, he said to us, “el corazón no es in el pecho, es in las manos.” The heart is not in the chest, it’s in the hands. This statement really resonated with me, and I’ve been reminded of it a few times in recent weeks.
One immediate meaning I draw from it is along the lines of ‘actions speak louder than words’. What you feel, what you think, what you say are all important; but what do you do? What do you actually put physical effort to? It’s more than that, though. The energy we put forth into the world is of vital importance, and it does not necessarily come through the hands although it certainly can.
Touch is important. A lot of feeling, emotion, and energy can be conveyed through touch. Imagine the healing touch of a massage therapist or energy healer for the troubles of the body. Imagine the trusting touch of a cat in the lap or the dog’s head on your knee. Imagine the comforting touch of a close friend or parent during times of personal stress. Imagine the fiery touch of a lover.
For me, I’ve worked in a lot of different fields. Right now, I mostly write. Hands on the keyboard for most of the day, and occasionally out on the production floor working with equipment. I do have the amazing privilege of doing some hands-on energy healing, which feeds my heart and my connection to Spirit as well as helping the people who are under my hands. But in a previous job I used to rebuild and repair heavy diesel engines; I found that work to be deeply satisfying to my hands, although a bit bruising at times. There’s something indescribably honest about that kind of work – building, making, crafting – because once it’s there, it’s there in all of its glorious tangible solidity.
My friend recently referred to this as “handed work” and she’s placing the same kind of importance on it as I do. When we make something physical: when we paint or sculpt, make furniture or throw pottery, restore classic cars or build model railroads, garden or pick wild blackberries and make jam, we are working from our hearts. We give of ourselves to this work, and it gives back to us in kind. That’s what it really means to me, and I think it’s worth remembering: el corazón no es in el pecho, es in las manos.