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I’m a morning person. Always have been. I love opening my eyes to the fresh anticipation of a brand new day. When my children were small, my morning routine centered around their needs. Now that my kids are older, it’s easier to create and maintain a personal morning routine.
I was a bit slow to learn the beauty of sticking with a morning routine. I’d grown very accustomed to the crazy pace of mornings in a house full of littles.
I now realize that how I handle my mornings truly sets the tone for my entire day.
Wish I'd known that when I was raising toddlers:-)
There are two simple things that I’ve begun to incorporate into the first hour of every day.
These practices are helping me to remain more calm and focused regardless of what’s going on in my life.
One is mindfulness meditation and the other is morning pages.
I’ve been meditating sporadically for about five years. There are phases where I’m very committed to this practice. I’m up before dawn and on my cushion, mindful of my breath. Then there are other times when I get completely derailed and meditation falls through the cracks of my hectic life. I’m working to make meditation a non-negotiable. I always feel better when my days include even a few minutes of silence with myself.
Time spent being mindful brings me such clarity that it's puzzling why I would ever allow this practice to slip from my schedule.
I’m getting better about not beating myself up when I lose sight of my cushion and instead, I gently remind myself to return to it as soon as possible.
About a year ago, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It's an interesting read and Ms. Cameron gives very detailed instructions on how to begin your own morning pages practice. Her idea of daily journaling involves writing three solid pages, first thing, every single day.
Since the book is about cultivating creativity, I believed this practice was only for ‘writers’. I didn’t understand what positive effects writing three pages a day could possibly have on me, a self-proclaimed non-writer.
Then about three months ago, I read a post by Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Workweek. In the post, he shares his passion for morning pages.
I was suddenly very intrigued by the practice of morning pages.
So, when I purchased my kids’ school supplies, I added a fifty cent composition book to the pile. I decided it was time to try writing morning pages.
I really enjoy the act of writing with a fast pen on a clean page. The flow feels good, especially after so many years of typing on a keyboard.
But, for the first two weeks, my hand cramped terribly before I’d even filled the first page. I really didn’t see the benefit of this mysterious practice. I wasn’t writing anything important. The idea is more of a stream of consciousness, brain dump.
About three weeks into my morning pages routine, something interesting happened.
I couldn’t wait to get to my composition book. I sat down to write without even thinking of checking my phone first.
The act of clearing my head before I start my day is incredibly calming.
Full disclosure...the idea of morning pages is to write three full pages every day upon waking. My version includes coffee and not quite three pages...yet. I’m working towards filling three pages daily. That’s a lot of writing!
The belief is that three pages is long enough to allow you to empty your mind and then go deeper into some really important work. Problem solving, creative thinking, tapping into a higher level of yourself.
Once you’ve dumped all of the surface thoughts in the first page or so, that third page is where the magic happens!
I’m happy to finally have some time for myself in the mornings. My hope is that the combination of meditation and morning pages will bring calm, clarity and creativity to my days.
How do you start your days?
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