Learning in therapy to be aware of her body, a woman awakened one morning to an arresting tension in her tightly fisted hands. Intrigued, she let herself simply be aware of her fists. She didn’t try to get rid of the tension, didn’t try to figure it out… she just let the tension in her hands be. As she lay there, curious about her fisted hands, images began to emerge… of fists pounding, defending herself from bullying brothers; fists pounding in protest against absent, exhausted immigrant parents, lost in their labors to make a living in a foreign land; fists pounding, striking back at an abusive, alcoholic husband; fists pounding to open doors of opportunity for her second-generation kids.
A little awed, she sensed the courage and determination, the mastery in those tightly fisted hands. A spirited “Well done!” welled up from deep within her along with a big breath of sheer relief. And that breath ushered in a new realization: “I don’t want to keep fighting and I don’t have to keep fighting. The battles are done… well done.” Still breathing deeply, slowly, another image gently replaced the fighting images…
Her 5th birthday. A very little girl in Mexico, she awakens to the singing of Las Mananitas—a traditional song of Mexico, sung to awaken kids first thing in the morning on their birthdays just before they are given a special gift. Moved to tears, she found herself singing the words of Las Mananitas:
Wake up my dearest, wake up,
see now that the day has dawned
now the little birds are singing,
the moon has finally set.
How lovely it is in this morning,
when I come to greet for you
we all come with joy and pleasure and to celebrate with you.
She felt the pleasure of the words, of being celebrated, of lively, loving family gathered around her… and her eyes were drawn to her hands. They were no longer fighting hands. Relaxed, open-palmed, they were hands opened expectantly to receive the gift of the morning.
Characters and events in this article are fictionalized. Any resemblance to real people and events is coincidental.