From Branch to Branch

I told the doctor yesterday that I was sleeping just fine.

And on cue, the insomnia creeps in. Awake at midnight, counting down the hours left to get some sleep. It’s a familiar habit from years ago. “If I fall asleep now, I can still get four hours… three hours and 34 minutes…. three hours and 5 minutes…”


Running this morning past the empty fields (the cows long since tucked into the barns for the winter), I ran through the morning mediation. I got to Right Intention. Which , of course, is to release: to stop clinging, clenching, grasping. I ran the fingers of my right hand over my left palm.

Let it go.

They say that a historical Jesus wouldn’t have been nailed through the palms, but between the bones above the wrists. But the icons with their bleeding palms make emotional sense to me. When we drink water from a stream, we cup it in our palms. When we beg, we gesture with the same cupped hands to show the emptiness that needs filling. When we approach, we show our empty palms to reveal our harmlessness. When we hold one another’s hands like a sacred map, this is where we find and read the heart-lines, life-lines and fates. If only just for fun. There is something inherently intimate about the palm. It is what a fist closes in on. Protects.

Whether or not it is holding something wise to protect. Or cling to.

I hold my arms loosely at my sides. Elbows bent and hands relaxed. I let go of yesterday’s perceived slights. I try to move through the morning without grasping.

At the beginning of the school year I bought myself a necklace. A silver gibbon. I intended it as a talisman for the monkey*-mind I want to acknowledge and help settle. This morning I’m thinking about real gibbons swinging through the trees, one hand grasping a branch, the other reaching and grasping at the next. And so on, through the rainforest – so quickly it looks like flying, but that’s an illusion: there is this thing. There is the next thing.

I think there’s a lesson here. Or at least a metaphor. We need things to cling to. And we need the reaching and soaring in between. Each in its own time.

Reaching the edge of the lake I turn back towards the house. I am at the part of my meditation where I hum “ni“: Discernment. I relax my hands, and I let go of yesterday’s perceived slights. Again.

*The gibbon is actually an ape, I know… but so am I.

4 Replies to “From Branch to Branch”

  1. I read this several times. Quiet my own thoughts, listen better. Beautiful. How it moves. How it sees itself. Palm to palm. Your writing is meditation itself. Thanks. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous post. Resonates down to my toes. My hands relax as I read this over the second time. Thank you.


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