I wash my hands a lot with the type of work I do. I use hand sanitizer often but a good hand washing always feels so good to me.
It gets pretty cold where my husband and I live now, so when I go inside and care for my patients I try to be careful to not touch them with my cold hands. Oftentimes I warm my hands in my pockets or place my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff in my pocket to warm them before I use them. I try but they still feel cold sometimes to the person who is snuggled deep and warm in their beds. I apologize often.
It was a very busy day today and there were quite a few people who needed extra care and attention during my shift. I often sit in my car quietly for a few moments to clear my head and heart so that I can be fully present for those I care for. Operating from the heart space rather than the head space is a good space to be in end of life work. I aspire to be there all day, every day, but sometimes I worry if I did the right thing or sometimes second guess myself. Did I miss anything? Should I have done something different? Deep breath girl. I place my hand on my heart. Stay here, I tell myself.
One patient in particular has stolen my heart and is nearing the end of his long life. His wife is lovely and she shares some sweet stories of their lives together. I knew my hands were extra cold and I asked if I could run my hands under warm water to warm them up.
There at that moment, with the wonderful warm water running over my hands, did I find my center and realized that this was a magical moment. Reminding me to be fully present. Be here, right now.
I was reminded of a wise woman who said “just be where your hands are”. I had no idea what she meant at the time but I thanked her for sharing other words of wisdom as I was experiencing some difficult challenges in my life at that time. She held her hands over my hands and repeated “just be where your hands are right now” and I looked up and saw a shooting star! My mouth dropped open and looked at her with tears in my eyes and felt a profound shift of hope and understanding that her words would carry me through another day. I don’t know if I had ever experienced being fully present until that moment so many years ago.
Just like today, I was reminded of the many gifts I have received from the many teachers in my life. Being fully present has been an important lesson. So wash the dishes, pull those weeds, crochet that blanket, vacuum that floor, hold the hand of your loved one.
Be here, right now my friend.
You don’t want to miss the magic of the moment because in a flash this crazy ride we call life will be over.
Be where your hands are, you won’t regret it, I promise. A good hand washing doesn’t hurt either.