Are you a “morning person?” I’ve wished I was an early riser for years, but it’s been really hard for me to wake up consistently early. I don’t like waking up tired or to an alarm. I don’t like waking up in a hurry. I don’t like going through the first few hours of my day feeling like I still haven’t fully woken up.

Waking up can be hard to do. I have appreciated the way artist, mythologist, and astrologer Vanessa Couto compares the challenges of literally waking up to the process of awakening.

We certainly need a massive awakening of wisdom and compassion to transform the crises in our world. Some days, if I look in the right direction, I see wonderful evidence of this awakening. While I put my hope in this awakening, I need Couto’s reminder that waking up is hard.

I’ve heard many times people say “when will people wake up?” Or that the latest catastrophe is a “wake up call.” Yet it is painful to wake up to these so-called “wake-up calls” in the news. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a moment of wanting to turn it all off and staying under the covers.

I’m reminded of how painful my leg feels after it’s fallen asleep. I shift my leg out of my circulation-compromising position and I’m both tingly and numb. For the moment I dare not walk because I don’t have sensation in my leg and could easily twist my ankle. I pull on my big toe in a special way to help the energy channels open more quickly, but basically I need to wait a moment until the pain passes.

The pain in my leg as it’s waking up is actually a sign of circulation and flow being restored after being cut off. The same is true when our hearts feel the pain of others in our interconnected world

I think the expressions such as “wake up to global warming” stop short of addressing the deeper awakening at work. We are awakening to a profound, conscious sense of reciprocity and interconnection. I have confidence in this because this is the evolutionary movement of the entire history of the universe. More love and inter-being is on the other side of the painful sensations as we wake up.

In the past month I’ve finally been making strides towards my goal of consistently waking earlier. I think what helps me get better at waking up in the morning also supports the process of awakening.

Get enough rest

It’s hard for me to get up if I went to bed too late and didn’t get enough sleep. I know that that’s not rocket science. Nonetheless, it’s been a big deal for me to train myself to go to bed early in order to wake up early. Our bodies really need enough sleep to rebalance, heal and grow.

If you are trying to shift how your approach the world to a way that is more compassionate and wise, ask yourself if you are getting enough rest. Take a break from doing things you know no longer work. Rest supports your dream time and imagination.

Move your energy

It’s easier to wake up if you’ve slept well. We sleep better if we get some exercise. Moving our bodies, getting the blood pumping, sweating, stretching, all of these things help the body detoxify and rebalance itself.

Just like it’s helpful to have a form of exercise that you like, it’s also helpful to know how to move with the ebbs and flows of life, the rhythm of the day, or cycle of the seasons. This is where the embodied spiritual practices of qigong and dance have been so helpful to me. I literally move my body to come into alignment with the flow of life.

Several times a week I’ll be in some part of my movement practice and a next step for a project or other inspiration pops into my head. It’s amazing how movement also gives movement to my ideas or shifts my relationships.

Awakening with the help of rest and movement

Let’s say you are really stuck in a painful relationship with someone close to you. It can be so helpful to take some time apart (rest). In that time, it’s also really valuable to find a way to give some movement to any place where you have extra energy for feel stuck – journal writing, cathartic screaming, exercise, meditation, dancing it out – there are so many ways to do this. In the best case scenario you are able to return to that relationship with a fresh heart and more available for a different dynamic to emerge.

With rest and movement, we can feel something new awaken in any of our relationships – both personal and collective.

I often invite people to imagine waking up with energy for the day, feeling vital and full of purpose. Wouldn’t that feel great? Wouldn’t it also feel great to feel we are not just waking up to hard news every day, but part of a collective process of awakening into a deeper fullness of love?

With love,


Develop mastery of your own energy

Learn how to bring your energy back into balance with the help of qigong or dance. Healing Waters Qigong is a Spring Forest Qigong practice group. The Wisdom Dances dance practice is based in Laura Shannon’s research of traditional ritual dances from Greece, the Balkans, and Asia Minor.

Get support for resetting your system

I offer one-on-one healing support based in qigong.