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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn


Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: Palm Icons

Decide on some very simple figure or symbol that has a positive meaning for you--emotional, inspirational and/or archetypal. Perhaps a basic heart shape, or the outline of an animal, or a religious symbol. Anything that is meaningful and very simple to draw. Muse on the ways this icon inspires and touches you. Now slowly...gently...mindfully, draw your icon on one of your palms, using a fingertip of your other hand. Pause for a few moments. Notice any physical or emotional sensations.

If you want, you can draw the same thing on the other palm. Then hold your hands together very gently, as if in prayer. Or just stay still and continue to experience the sensations.

Given the exquisite sensitivity of the hand, this can be surprisingly profound, a bit like gentle reverberations of a stringed instrument. When I do this, it is almost as if I am feeling the essence of what the icon means to me somewhere deep in my body. Deeper than words.

This tool is from the seventh Toolkit where you can read more about the amazingness of hands.


I wrote the poem below during a pretty miserable period in my life. I felt totally alone. Dried out. Anxious and depressed. Nothing seemed to help me feel better.

At the suggestion of someone who knew me quite well, I started going to 12 step meetings. I didn't feel good there, but sometimes I felt a little less bad. A tiny shift, but it was a start.

This poem reminds me to be grateful that my life is quite different now. And when I slip back into those painful places, which I do from time to time, it is a reminder of hope.


Broken rasping cups.

Ragged holes of loss.

Even water leaves stains,

a wasteland of stains.

No mercy.

You unravel my fingers


"let go."

And letting go

you hold me.

A desert of blessing appears,


and breathing.

Until next time,


Photo credits:

Hand, Elia Pellegrini, unSplash

Desert, Alexander Schimmeck, unSplash

Desert stream, Tobias Keller, unSplash

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