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Got Gökotta?

This Swedish practice will start your morning on the right note.

For Spirituality & Health Magazine

Defined in my spiritual vernacular, gökotta is mindfulness with birds.

It’s 5 a.m.—far earlier than I usually wake—but the birds are at it again. It is impossible to sleep. I hear a chorus of voices singing me awake. So, it’s time to gökotta―rise early to appreciate the singing of birds.

Admittedly, I have a complicated relationship with birds—ever since my high school boyfriend’s parrot got stuck in my bright blue punk-rock bangs, squawking and flapping. And then there was that other guy I fancied—the birder—whose exuberance for binoculars and journaling roused a fit of fierce jealousy in me. Yet, a strange sort of healing has appeared recently as I find myself curiously drawn to the flurry of activity in our wooded yard.

As I began this practice, I first became frustrated. Beyond the easily identifiable cardinal, blue jay, and woodpecker, I was befuddled by all the other little flying bodies. Illustrated bird books only discourage me more, as the winged ones rarely stayed still long enough to be classified.

In her book The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman describes rising in the dark wee hours with her father to gökotta. .... Read the full article on


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