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Awake!


I have been noticing is how the monotony of social isolation has an hypnotic effect on me and if I don't do something each day to wake myself up, something besides a drinking a double espresso and putting my shoes on, I can float through the days without feeling as if I've lived them.

I have found a few activities that do the job of truly waking me up. One is Qi Gong. This is a practice I've toyed with in the past, but never fully appreciated before the pandemic. Now, I spend 15 to 30 minutes at least once a day gathering Qi from all around me and breathing it into my lower dan tien.

I've also taken a practice that I've enjoyed for years and bumped it up to a new level: reading a poem every morning. I know that many of my readers are poets; I suspect that at least some of you have a practice of writing a poem every day. That is fantastic! I am so grateful to you for helping to fill the world with new poetic images and moving words. For me, as a reader of poetry, searching out new (to me) poets and reading something new each morning is a true tonic for waking the mind. This morning I read Naked Boys on Naked Ponies by Pattiann Rogers, which ends with this: "And who cares where they are going,/ And who cares if they are real or not,/ When their ride by itself is that glorious?"


And the third of my pandemic coping activities that is, undoubtedly, the most effective waker-upper I've ever discovered and the one that brings me thorough body-filling joy, is swimming in the winter sea! I am blessed to be living on an island and need only walk a couple of blocks downhill to be on a wild, driftwood lined beach. The waters are in the high 40's to low 50's this time of year, and the tides are high.I can don my wetsuit, my booties, gloves, and hood and step into another world. When I am in the ocean, surrounded by sky, I am fully present to myself and to life. It is truly glorious. And I am AWAKE!


What have you been doing lately to wake yourself?


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