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Your Assignment: Shake Things Loose

Share your own special practice

Practice
Painting of dog shaking after a swim

Illustration Credit: After the Swim (detail) by Anne Rackley

Over the years of putting together S&H, we’ve been blessed to learn about and to experience many great practices for shaking things loose. From Bradford Keeney, who lived for a time with the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana, we learned about a powerful practice known as “shaking medicine,” a group ritual in which the goal is “to dance, tremble, and shake yourself into the possibility of being touched, moved, and filled with spirit.” Over thousands of years, Bushmen have found that this simple medicine can help with just about anything that ails a person.While editing that article for the magazine, our managing editor Betsy Robinson started paying attention to how her beloved dog would shake, starting tail first and moving all the way up. So Betsy tried it herself—and discovered that a quick doggy shake instantly improved her mood. So whenever she saw her dog shake, she would shake too, and the shared ritual not only made her feel closer to her dog, it provided an unpredictable reminder to shake out of whatever rut she happened to be in at that moment.She also found that writing about the practice h …

Stephen Kiesling is editor in chief of S&H. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.


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