In this age of screen scrolling, push button and voice activated digital technology, can you remember when you last counted on your fingers? You may have grabbed a pen and totted up the prices on a scrap of paper, but have you used your fingers to count?
Go on, take your hand away from the screen, your phone, your keyboard or your mug of tea. Stroke your fingers, take time to feel each one, grasp your thumb in your fingers, stroke the back of your hand and massage your palms. Now focus on one hand, and count out, aloud or if too shy, whisper to yourself: 1, 2 , 3, 4 . Did you continue the sequence using the fingers on your other hand? Was 1 your thumb or your index finger? Did you flick your fingers out straight or use a finger of your other hand to press the end of each finger to count out the numbers? And if you did the latter, did you start from the little finger and not from the index?
We walk around all day with our hands and fingers – they are incredibly useful, aren’t they? But we have little need now for them for counting. Perhaps it was as long ago as your childhood that you last used your fingers to count – incredible.
Research has shown that if we engage our hands (and fingers) at the same time as we start to think we are more likely to solve problems quicker and be more creative, especially if we are asked to undertake a task to make, fold, undo, sort or count something using our hands and fingers*. Apparently, it is all got to do with using different parts of the brain concurrently.
You are reading this on a blog that purports to be all about walking – how so?
Well, it is an invitation for you to join us on a Haiku Encounter, in which we encourage you to compose very brief short poems that depict your surroundings and feelings. To start you off, we get you counting syllables, and yes, you’ve guessed it, from having run dozens of haiku walkshops we know that composition comes faster to those who count the syllables on their fingers. Yet we don’t tell participants this, it comes to them naturally. Speaking aloud or whispering the words they choose for each limited syllable line, is quickly accompanied by finger counting.
Don’t believe us? Come and try for yourself – we are so confident that you won’t be able to subdue this natural urge, that we will give you your money back off the ticket price. Better news still, is that our next outing is on Wednesday 29 January hosted by Team London Bridge, at The Hive, 4 minutes walk from London Bridge station, part of their Love Lunch season – book here
Photos are from Unspalsh.com
*See this article in the Independent
All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..