To Think Changes Began With Morning Pages
I don’t usually write or do much of anything besides going to the gym and running errands on Wednesdays, but for some reason I’m inspired to get the last May post written and scheduled a little ahead of time. Am I anxious to be in June? Not particularly. This year is going by fast enough without rushing into things.
I do find it amusing that after spending thirty years in accounting where we were always working on a month after it had ended, I’m now in a mode where I push myself to get as many weeks ahead as possible. Little did I realize when I flipped my entire career path on it’s head that the flip would involve more back flips, aerials, spins, and whoop-de-do’s than I could have ever envisioned. In hindsight, had I known, I might have run back to my safe but boring accounting job and never discovered that what I truly love to do is write; for me, for other people, for public consumption, and for my eyes only. It doesn’t really matter as long as I write.
The More I Learn, the More I Know I Have to Learn
I’ve learned a lot in the last few years, not the least of which is I have a lot more to learn. But I’ve also come to realize when I task myself with writing every day, whatever writing I might do counts. I used to think the days when I “only” wrote my morning pages were days when I did not write. But the truth is, every time I put my pen to paper and spew forth a stream of words, it’s writing.
Sure, the morning-pages-only days don’t necessarily result in something others might consider useful or productive. Yet the truth is, my creativity is oiled as soon as I get up. What I might do with it that day is anyone’s guess.
Sometimes, I get a blog idea or a chapter for one of my works-in-progress. Others, I simply get something off my chest which would otherwise weigh me down and prevent progress in any direction. And yes, there are days when what comes out is little more than a stream of words only loosely connected to a train of thought.
Working the Writing Muscle Any Way I Can
Whatever comes out of my mind and pen is exercising my writing muscle, which is the point of it all anyway. There used to be days I’d bemoan my lack of inspiration, believing I had no good, creative ideas in my brain. By writing every day and not worrying so much about what comes out, I’ve learned the creativity is there. I just lock it up unintentionally at times. Writing what might to others seem like a bunch of nonsense loosens the clenched fist which holds those ideas hostage.
One of the best parts of writing morning pages is how it helps with my frequently vivid dreams. I have more than my share of WTF mornings when I wake from a dream that was both vivid and disturbing. By writing about it as soon as I get up, I’m able to sort through the craziness to see if there’s a message, or if the dream was meant only to get my attention.
Granted, there are mornings when I finish writing and haven’t answered that question. But there are plenty of others when I pull out the message I was meant to receive. Most of the time, the message is well-buried and miles away from the actual point of the dream. And because my dreams tend to jump around the same way my awake and ADD brain does, it’s often a jigsaw puzzle to pull out pieces which actually make sense and belong together.
Messages in Our Dreams
Our minds give us clues through our dreams. Of that, I’m certain. The clues may be completely nonsensical at times. They might just be telling us to be especially careful while driving that day, or there might be a repetitive number; a color that stands out for some reason; a name we don’t recognize, but which will be somehow significant in the next few days.
Once in awhile, I even get a precognitive dream. Once I dissect it, I might figure out I need to contact someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile. Maybe they’ve just suffered a trauma. Or perhaps we need to cross paths again for a singular purpose. Whatever the message might be, I’ve learned not to question, but to make an effort to understand, especially if certain details are stuck in my brain like the “Baby Shark” song when you unwittingly hit “play” on someone’s adorable Facebook post.
Starting the Day With a Clear Head
Mostly, though, when I’ve finished dissecting a particularly vivid dream, put down my pen, and gotten on with the rest of my day, I have nothing more than a clear head and the beginnings of a plan for how I’ll be spending the day. If I get an idea or two for blog posts as well, I consider it a bonus.
What I’m trying to say here in my usual convoluted fashion is I’ve put a lot of routines in place in the last few years; things which, in one way or another improve my life. I’ve learned to give myself credit for accomplishing those daily or weekly tasks, even on days when that’s all I get done. There was a time not so long ago when they didn’t get done at all. Things like:
- Writing my morning pages
- Making the bed
- Cleaning up the kitchen before I go to bed
- Going to the gym 3 times a week
- Having at least 2 weeks worth of blog posts written and scheduled
- Having posts for Medium scheduled, often a full month ahead
This list might not look like much to you or anyone else, but I know how much time and effort went into making these things happen consistently. I also know how much flexibility it allows me knowing if nothing else happens, these things are done.
Creating New Habits Gets Easier the More You Do It
I’m adding new habits to the list fairly regularly now, and often laugh at myself when I find a can’t not do some of the things which have become habits. As I de-clutter my home and my life, I both revel in the amount of clear space I have around me and rebel if I try to clutter things back up again.
When I started putting my shoes away instead of leaving a few pairs in the alcove next to my laundry hamper, I didn’t think a lot about it other than the convenience of not having to move them when I vacuumed. But lately, no matter how tired I am when I get home, I simply cannot kick off my shoes and leave them next to the hamper. I have to open the closet door and put the shoes on the rack. My mother must be laughing her butt off, assuming she’s watching me from wherever she landed. I know she despaired of ever teaching me to minimize the clutter in my house, much less keep it clinically clean the way she had to in order to keep her demons tamed.
Learning to Love a Certain Amount of Order
The older I get, the less patience I have for disorder. That’s not to say I don’t still have my share of chaos, but it’s more organized, and I no longer have all available surfaces covered with stuff. I’ve learned to love coming into my office and finding a clear space on my desk to work. Or going into the kitchen to find the counters clean and the sink empty.
Things others take for granted are novel for me, and I marvel at how much I’m learning to enjoy things like seeing my bed made up, the director’s chair empty, or dishes and clothes put away right after they’re washed. And to think it all started my morning pages. As I began to regularly de-clutter my mind, I found I had to expand the process and de-clutter my life as well. So to say my practice of writing 3 pages long hand every morning isn’t writing is, in my opinion, ludicrous.
Need Help De-cluttering Your Life?
Are you having a tough time getting everything done? Do you beat yourself up when your To Do list grows instead of shrinking? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!
Gratitude Helps Improve Your Perspective
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the practice of writing morning pages. It’s helped me see how much I really do accomplish.
- I am grateful for learning to clear the piles of stuff, and for recognizing when I need to do another purge. Clear space when and where I need it has simplified my life in innumerable ways.
- I am grateful for connections. Not a day goes by when I don’t communicate with at least a couple of friends. It might be one of us checking in on the other, or making plans to dance, meet for a meal, or plan an outing. Never being completely alone and disconnected is a new concept for me, and one I’m coming to appreciate more and more every day.
- I am grateful for friendship; true friendship. The kind where you’re there for each other, but not because anyone expects it. Because you’re exactly where you want to be.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, writing, opportunities, challenges, lessons, dancing, hugs, harmony, peace, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward