Wednesday, September 9, 2015
"Hands Free Life"
In more than one image around here - usually of me holding something up - you might notice a thin, leather wristband twisted three times above my left hand. If you look carefully enough you'll see that it's a few buckled bracelets which say "live hands free." This is not by accident, these pictures; I have wanted to make sure that I have an image of them etched somewhere into this digital archive of memory, hope and love I erroneously call a blog.
Here's one from a post called A "Sowrd" and a Wand.
You may wonder why I want to remember them. You see, as I write this, a new digital age is done dawning, no, it is upon us. I, personally, neither like nor trust this new epoch. But, I'll tell you what, it is certainly mesmerizing. It temps us with a siren song that it is almost painful to ignore and indeed is beautiful and its tone hints at usefulness and necessity. We want this stuff in out hands or at least accessible at all times. I hear that siren song, I really do...
Fortunately, a dear woman taught me - in both word and action - that if I have something in my hands, they are no longer free to embrace a trembling child; to squish a face and smush it all around as laughter peals; to caress a forehead or scratch a back as a favorite baseball team loses once again. They are not free to spin the spinner or roll the dice or throw the ball or put on a coat on that first, fresh, cool day of fall. Those three words, "live hands free," remind me when my hands are full to put down the thing and look for something different, warmer, better to hold - to hold a thought, a dream, a hope, a prayer, a future, all in the guise of a child, spouse or loved one.
These worn and weathered leather bracelets are my talismans and touchstones.
Here is another picture of the bracelets:
And, yes, that is the book in which I read the stories that led to the realization which led to the bracelets that led to a little bit better me. The dear woman is Rachel Macy Stafford and she has written another book. I talked about her first in a post called Hands Free Mama. In a review on GoodReads and Amazon, I wrote this of her newest book, Hands Free Life:
"Rachel Macy Stafford has written another important book here. With practical advice and tool after tool to help you drag your eyes up from the device in front of you and out and into the eyes of those that truly matter - kids, spouses, clerks, teachers, garbage men - this book will help you through that difficult but transforming process. It shows you what actions you can take, not just principles and jargon, but real, implementable tasks that can help you change your life.
But that's not what I want to tell you about her book. No... Rachel is a poet and a storyteller. She is empathetic and so very loving. Her stories will stay with you because of their detail and honesty. She pauses often in these stories and her prose passes to poetry with a meter and tone that is simply unforgettable.
Hands Free Life can, and will, help you overcome distraction in this crazy digital world, but, more-so, it can illuminate a life of "living better and loving more," mostly because you know the lovely author does. Sometimes books shimmer and this one does, because Rachel does. It is a hug from an encouraging and loving friend.
I really can't say much more than that... but I will.
I believe in Rachel Stafford. I believe in her hope. I believe in her kindness and in her charity. I believe in her books, books steeped in love and decency and the deep well that is storytelling, which is song, which is poetry, which is prayer, which is Hope.
I would encourage you to get a copy of this book. If you can't buy one right now, get your library to acquire some copies, I do all the time and they library is delighted. She's a New York Times best-selling author, they will.
Ya'll know I am not a consumerist, in my heart I believe Rachel is not either. What she did, what she does, changed her life... and what she shares is her delight and gratitude in that. That's as good as it gets.
Peace to you all and thanks for coming 'round, and, if you get a chance wish Rachel godspeed and peace as well.
Oh, I wanted to show you this as well:
It is the pre-release package I got from her publisher. Thanks for thinking of me, Rachel, every gesture you make is gracious and elegant and loving.
Mostly though, thanks for the wristband, mine's wearing down...
(Rachel's book is at Amazon, here.)