it’s early morning on the commune. I woke up to the soft, cool light of dawn, sun nowhere in sight but soft traces of orange hinting at the horizon. I laid in bed for awhile, hoping to go back to sleep, but then realized the gift of being awake at a time when few others are (except for Coyote, a former college professor who gets up at 4 each morning — he’s here in the office with me). Walking out of my building, I felt the difference a few hours makes. At 9:00 this courtyard will be alive with people and animals and noises and business and breakfast and interactions… now it’s a meditative monk, quietly alive, still and centered. The fog over the gardens slightly obscures the cows in the pasture, and with the sky slowly lightening it looks like a postcard of rural paradise.

On such a cool and quiet morning it’s hard to remember yesterday’s heat. Sticky and thick, by afternoon most people were winding down quickly (did I mention we don’t have airconditioning?). Even the pond was less-than refreshing because there’s no shade over the water. I had a meeting at 2pm, the heat of the day, and Valerie and I were both reluctant to start talking logistics (we’re planning a presentation we’re giving at a conference in two weeks). She started the meeting by saying “I really want to have this meeting, and I’m in a pretty funky mood. If we’re going to do this, I need to do something to shift my energy”. We talked about taking a dip in the pond, but it was full of noisy and energetic kids (and the aforementioned lack of shade). Instead we decided to walk down to the nearby river. We walked down the path through the woods and felt an immediate sense of relief from the shade and calmess of being surrounded by trees. When we got to the river, we sat on the edge for awhile, toes snuggling in the mud, and talked (some the conference, some personal, some philosophical). I smeared mud on my sweaty skin and felt like one of those animals that rolls in mud to cool off, like a pig. After awhile we waded into the water, which was ecstatically chilly after a few days of heavy rain. After floating quietly in the water for a bit, we got out and rested in the shade on the bank, looking up into the trees and talking lazily.

We remarked how different the world would be if our senators and presidents, and anyone else, could do what they needed to do to take care of themselves energetically during the “workday”, instead of just pushing through, hour after hour. Very little is so important that it needs to get done right away.

What do you do to take care of yourself at work?