Stuck Between Being and Doing

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Bring on the lemonade. Drag out the lawn chairs. Summer has officially begun. ūüôā

The classroom is cleaned, organized and packed up for the summer months. ¬†Reflection mode is in high gear which means time needs to be spent “just being” for awhile. Reading, writing and walking with Sandy (our lab) ¬†have consumed the majority of my past few days. It is glorious.

I am pretty good at doing “downtime”.

Expert Рreally.  I should give lessons.

Savoring this blissful peacefulness throughout my days, my children all grown and having flown out of the nest, I am learning to accept this pace of life as being “enough” right now. The quietness of an empty house is healing. ¬†My company; myself. ¬† It’s taken years to unlearn the multi-tasking, needing to keep busy, making stuff and going places kind of mentality. ¬†I must be honest, I’m not proud of that person. ¬†(But, dang, she got a lot done.)

Yet. . . (I used yet, instead of but, because there is always a but, but yet feels like but here.)

. . . when my husband comes home from his long day at work,  there is this unsettled feeling that I should be able to tell him all I had accomplished during these past 8, sometimes 10, even 12 hours (yes, he works too much). I mean, the windows need cleaning, my hostas are begging to have the taunting weeds pulled out and Sandy is now afraid of the dust bunnies (I need to buy a vacuum).  This is obvious stuff I should do.

Yes, the residue of this old narrative telling me “I should. . .”

All I can somedays tell my tired husband is that I got some writing done (in my notebook), some reading. . . and I took Sandy for a walk.

He is always happy for me that I got to go on a walk, especially on beautiful days.  So, we talk about Sandy and how she loves to run and play in the water filled ditches.  And, that she smells from this.

I am grateful my husband never complains about the things I don’t do. ¬†He is careful here, as he knows what door he is opening if he goes there. But, my own soul, and mostly my mind, need to feel some sense of accomplishment.

This place in the “Being-Knowing-Doing” gap is a destination I tend to reside in more than I’d like to admit, even though I’ve worked hard to get here. ¬†I’m not sure how long one should stay here. ¬†Because if I stay too long, I can’t seem to come out.

I remain stuck.

In the crux between being and doing.

Carrying an angst that I can not name.

Perhaps it does not have a name.

I need guidance.

I reach for a book that calls to me right now,¬†Do The Work, by Austin Krien. ¬†I can not seem to find it, my writing room in disarray. ¬†So, I grab the next one in line; ¬†Let’s All Be Brave,¬†by Annie F. Downs. ¬†It practically jumps into my hands.

There are underlined words ~

“Courage involves action – like you are going somewhere. ¬†Maps. ¬†Movement.”

“Your life, start to finish, is a map. . . I don’t know where you’ve been and I don’t know where your map will take you. ¬†I only know there will be moments when you feel like the map has turned or changed and moments when you realize you’ve read this map wrong all along. ¬†You will crumple it up and throw it down, only to return to it for direction, once your finish your cryfest. ¬†I get it. ¬†I know. ¬†But it’s your map. ¬†Not my map. ¬†Or my cousin’s map. ¬†Or your spouse’s map. ¬†It’s yours.”

Oh my.

I have to go back to my map. ¬†Where’s my map? ¬†Am I lost at sea?

Fear will set in again.  I know that.

I am not a risk taker – never have been. ¬†The only risky thing I ever do is ride my motorcycle – that’s it. ¬†The males in my family make up for what I lack in risk-taking. ¬†I should not say that. ¬†My daughters are more brave than I can ever be. ¬†They take risks.

But, I need to be braver, I think.

I should be writing. My writing dreams seem to be all stored up in notebooks and there is big fear here:

~of choosing the wrong one to dive into as a project.

~what if I tire of it?

~what if I don’t have time to finish?

~how will I ever stay focused?

~what if no one likes it. . . or even reads it?

~for sure, nothing will get done around here if I commit to writing.

Yes, this must be my problem, I tell myself. ¬†It’s fear.

I glance at my writing desk and see chaos.  Just like my mind.

And, my house right now.

The real answer hits me hard and I really try to ignore it because I really do want to write. But, I must take care of what really needs to be done first. ¬†I scan my shelves for a the third book of today’s writing session: ¬†The Life-Changing Magic of ¬†Tidying Up.

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It’s cleaning. ¬†Creating order. ¬†De-cluttering. ¬†Wash the windows. ¬†Pull the weeds.

Go buy the damn vacuum.

This work is not pleasant.

I text my mother and tell her I can’t stop eating.

“Go outside and pull weeds, there’s no food out there, ” she replied.

Ugh.  How did she know?

Maybe, just maybe, today – I’m supposed to accomplish something. ¬†Just something small though. ¬†I don’t want to set the bar too high. And, I’m afraid of falling off the “just being” wagon.

I’ll tidy up my writing room and go pull a few weeds.

Maybe, make some chocolate chip bars.

That should be enough “doing” for one summer day.

For now.

Until I find my map.

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Reminded of Bad Decisions Hurts Our Brains


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“You need to clear. ¬†Now. ¬†Today.”

 I keep hearing it.  Seeing it.  And, feeling it.

I take this knowingness to my notebook and try to write out EXACTLY what needs to be cleared.

“What? ¬†What needs to be cleared?” ¬†I question, “Is it energy clearing? ¬†I feel okay. ¬†I don’t need that today. ¬†Is it subconscious blocks that I need to let go of? ¬†Fear? ¬†Obsessions? ¬†Old stuff? ¬†What? ¬†Tell me, so I can take care of it!”

A smell lingers up into my writing room. ¬†My candle can’t even mask the smell. ¬†Being one of those highly sensitive nose type people, smells really trip me up.

“What IS that?” ¬†I croak.

Ugh. ¬†I can’t even focus on my thoughts to write with this intrusion. ¬†I shut my computer and investigate. ¬†I know this smell. ¬†It’s a moldy, old garbage, combined with wet dog, chicken coop and baby kitties born on the couch kinda smell (that happened when I was a young girl and I still remember the smell). ¬†I really don’t even want to know what it is. ¬†There have been whiffs of this odor over the last week and I’ve tried to ignore it. ¬†But, I can’t any longer. ¬†It’s become overbearing. ¬†The thought of what it could be is giving me the willies. ¬†Moving might become necessary.

I scan the garage.  My skin shivers at how visually toxic to my well-being this room is.  The school year is done and summer is here and I know I NEED to clean this.

Forget the garage. . . it’s not even my junk.

But, then, I know the answer to my knowingness.

“Oh, you mean REAL clearing! ¬†ACTUAL PHYSICAL REAL CLUTTER!” ¬†I shake my head because I really do not want to tackle this. I’ve been avoiding it altogether. ¬†I have other things to do! ¬†Stuff I actually WANT to do! ¬†It’s summer!! ¬†The sun outside wants me to sit in it and just read!

The message is affirmed in everywhere I go.  The yard, the shed, the playhouse.  There is not a space in my house that does not need some TLC:

A Total-Lot-of-Cleaning.

¬†Yes, I’ve neglected it. ¬†It’s time.

“Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That‚Äôs exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people‚Äôs task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.” ¬† ¬† ~nourishment3.com

Well, I knew I was having a focusing issue, but I didn’t know it was because of my clutter. ¬†And my stuff.

I announce to my husband that I’m on a de-cluttering mission. ¬†His eyes begin to squint like the sun’s hurting him and his entire face scrunches up. ¬†He knows he is going to either have to get involved or risk losing some stuff. ¬†He also knows he has more stuff to de-clutter than I do. ¬†The two boys find other stuff to do.

The bathroom is first, as it’s the room that bothers me the most. ¬†Items from the shelves are purged, used once or twice and never to be noticed again, covered in dust and gunk. ¬†Old vitamins, prescriptions, bath salts and lotions. ¬†Yuck. ¬†Then. . . way in the back, I discover some old boxes of Frownies I purchased a few years ago.

Oh dang.  The memory comes flooding back.

These stick on patches were going to be the ticket for those wrinkles on my forehead. ¬†The internet said. ¬†So, I bought 2 packages, not just one. ¬†On my first day’s trial of stretching my forehead before applying the sticky patches to my skin, and then sleeping with it on, I awoke ¬†to an even more dented forehead than my original one. ¬†Apparently, I had not flattened my skin smooth enough before I stuck that baby on. ¬†Instead of smoothing my forehead, I made NEW wrinkles. ¬†They lasted all day. ¬†I should have sent the Frownies back for a refund, but I attributed the problem to operator error and vowed to give it another shot. ¬†I never did. ¬†A reminder of another bad decision and money wasted for vanity.

Why is it so painful to get rid of this stuff?

Apparently, there is research that gives us the answer to this question.  (I found it on the internet.)

We tell ourselves we are hanging onto this stuff for a number of reasons:

1.  We are saving it for just the right occasion.

2.  We spent a lot of money on it and we might use it one day.

3.  We have sentimental value.

But,  the biggest reason we hang on to stuff is because we probably made a mistake buying it and it literally hurts our brain to come to terms with that fact.

Yup, there is. ¬†The truth. ¬†It’s painful to admit that we screwed up. ¬† Bad decisions. ¬†Money wasted.

As in the case of my Frownies.

Tossing them in the trash really DOES hurt. ¬†But really, I know I won’t try them again. ¬†Even sticking all those patches to my face now and going to bed that way seems absurd. ¬†And, I run the risk of that scene be the topic of conversation and my husband’s office the next day.

I could see if my sister wants to try them. ¬†That would feel better than junking them. ¬†But, then, I’d have to hold on to them longer until I see them. Should I walk them over to my neighbor? ¬†I could tell her that if she doesn’t want to try them, she could just toss them and I wouldn’t have to know about it. ¬†Maybe that’s the ticket. ¬†Yeah. ¬†That’s what I’ll do.

Then, I won’t have to feel the pain quite so much.

Unless, the next time I see her, she has more wrinkles.

Now, moving on to the kitchen. . .

What is painful for your brain to let go of?

Reflection: Why Should I Blog?

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The other day, it took me 3 hours to write/revise/edit/publish a blog post on my Literate Mind blog. ¬†It was only a book review, for Pete’s Sake. ¬† I DID have some internet issues and my typical distraction problems. ¬†Seriously, though. ¬†I’m spending way too much time trying to create some words and put them out there for the world. ¬†I have dishes to wash. Laundry. ¬†Rooms to declutter.

So, I got out my notebook and did some serious reflecting.  I asked myself the question that I have began to ask myself with every blog post.

“Why am I doing this? ¬†Why should I blog? What are the benefits of this? ¬†Am I nuts?”

Boy, did my pen have something to say.  Words began to flood onto the page.

Here are 5 reasons (of the many) of why I blog:

1.  I am a teacher.

Not only do I teach kids how to write, but I work with teachers in guiding them to be teachers of writing.  The first must of a writing teacher is that the writing teacher must be a writer.  A pilot instructor would have to know how to fly planes, right?

I’ve always scribbled words in notebooks, diaries, and journals. ¬†I’ve written in front of kids to model writing workshop lessons. ¬†I wrote. ¬†But, still, I did not call myself a writer. ¬†Only real authors could declare themselves a writer and wear that title. Here I was, a teacher for 20+ years and a literacy coach and still, I could not call myself a writer. ¬†Was I worried this was vain? ¬†Did I fear others would think I was lying? ¬†They would surely ask me what I had written if I said I was a writer. And then, judge it, of course. ¬†Ugh. ¬†All of this was just too risky.

What a hypocrite, I was.

Then, in 2012, I signed up for a free e-course by Jeff Goins, called  YOU ARE A WRITER.  Jeff taught me how to say these words:

 

“You are a writer.”

 

“Say them out loud,” he said.

“Write them down.”

” Tell someone.”

So I did.

And, so I was.

The blog was born as a result of claiming I was a writer.  Jeff said that if you are a writer, you have to start acting like one. This meant sharing your writing and building a community.

I guess I had to follow through if I was going to say I was a writer.

 

2.  More valuable that any writing program, I have curriculum to draw from within my own experiences.

I’m in the trenches with the kids and other teachers of writing when I blog.

Mem Fox, in her book, Radical Reflections, writes:

“Teachers of writing who have been soldiers themselves, engaged in a writing battle, are able to empathize more closely with the comrades in their classrooms than teachers who are merely war correspondents at the hotel bar, as it were, watching the battle from a safe distance, declining to get in there themselves and write.”

I didn’t want to be a teacher who sat at the bar, too afraid to practice what I was preaching.

I now know what kids and teachers go through when they try to write.  The fear.  The frustration.  The battle.  This battle can not come when we keep our writing hidden from others, in a notebook.  Notebook writing is easy, as this is first draft writing or jotting down ideas.  It becomes real when we know we are writing for someone other than ourselves.  Then, we have roll up our sleeves, get dirty and then,  clean it up.

I can teach how I find ideas to write by sharing what I do: ¬† noticing what’s happening around me, the words others’ say, topics I deeply care about. ¬†I can teach how to write that perfect lead, because I wrestle with it and have a few tools for this along with some favorite leads from mentor texts. ¬† I can draw from my toolbox, a lesson that teaches others how to edit for themselves and I can model my methods for this, because I’ve done it myself.

I stand on the shoulders of writing teachers; Donald Murray, Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins and Katie Wood Ray.  They are my guides. Basically, nothing I teach is my own idea Рthese methods came from someone before me.

I’ve used their methods, tried them out and have internalized them as my own methods now. ¬†Will they work for every writer? ¬†No. ¬†I read, listen to other writers and to the kids of how they write and their methods get thrown in my toolbox, as well.

My own toolbox is more valuable that any writing curriculum. ¬†No writing curriculum is perfect as it leaves out the most important factor: ¬†the kids. ¬†If it’s all you have to follow in the teaching of writing, you will be frustrated. ¬† And, I can draw from my own toolbox at anytime, anywhere. ¬†If one tool doesn’t work, I try another. ¬†I’ve tried them all, so they are etched in who I am as a writer.

3. ¬†I’m starting to live my life differently because of my blog.

I notice things with meaning and get it down.  I take time to reflect on, not only events, but on my response to them.  I nudge myself to reflect deeper, to get to the other side, to allow new learning to bubble up, something of significance and to make it clear for me to understand.  I do this for me, but more so, for my audience (even if it is only my mother Рthanks, Mom).

A car trip, a walk in the woods, shopping at the grocery store, sitting at the lake, and visiting with people are all free fodder for writing. I find myself thinking not only, “I’ve got to write this down,” but also, “Oh my, I need to write this for ______.”

If I need to write clearly for an audience to understand my thinking, I’d better be pretty clear of it myself.

I could not have done this without a blog.

4.  Blogging has been an avenue in which to use the tool of writing to serve my higher purpose.

I don’t think that writing is a ¬†purpose or a calling. ¬†It’s just a tool to use. ¬†If you are called to teach? ¬†Write. ¬†Called to heal? ¬†Write. ¬†Called to inspire? ¬†Write. ¬†Called to serve, help others, beautify the world, create, coach, energize, collaborate? ¬†Then, write, write, write. ¬†There is no better tool that can reach more people than writing. ¬†But, only if you put it out there for the world.

5.  It just feels good.

There is a sense of accomplishment and surge of satisfaction I feel every time I hit publish. ¬†I am jolted with a little shot of dopamine upon seeing those words, ¬† “Your post has been published.”

And, then, I do a little happy dance.

Getting it down is the easy part.  Revision and editing is hard work.  Never, would I revise and edit in my notebooks.  Blogging makes you do this.

I’ve had to learn to choose timely topics and ones that matter. ¬†I’ve had to figure out how to stick to a topic and focus. ¬†I tend to stray in my notebooks, but I can’t do that on a blog.

I strive to find ways to improve in my craft by reading books about writing, joining some writing groups online and taking classes about writing.  I know what I struggle with in my writing and have learned to appreciate criticism.  Always, I can get better at this.

When we know more, we do better and we gain confidence.

And, this just feels good.

 

Okay ~ I guess the rewards are worth the battle.  Whew.

The only drawbacks are that my house is a mess. ¬†But, it was a mess before I started blogging, so I guess I can’t use that as an excuse.

Maybe I should blog about that.

What are the reasons you blog?  Please, let me know.

 

Shari ūüôā

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Quiets The Mind

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Bernice is on a rampage this morning. (Incase you don’t know Bernice, she’s my mind.)

Awakening on a Saturday morning at home, after being gone for almost a week, will get her going like a crazy woman with an anxiety attack.

“Get up and clean this house, for Pete’s sake, it’s disgusting – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. . . honestly. ¬†The heaps of dirty clothes need to get washed, there are no fresh groceries in the house – get to the store, and you’d better bake something – the boys are home – they are looking for treats, work on some school presentations and planning being ¬†you have all this fresh knowledge in your head from Ohio, and you should get up to school and do some planning for next week anyway, oh my gosh – TAXES! ¬†YOU NEED TO GET GOING ON TAXES!! Your car is still sitting in the driveway, you know from when you hit that deer last weekend! ¬†You’d better get it towed to the shop – and what are you going to drive next week? ¬†Check with insurance and see if you can get a rental and have it covered. ¬†You have not written a blog post all week, you call yourself a writer? TAXES!! ¬†Ugh, walk or do yoga or SOMETHING with your body today – you certainly didn’t need to eat that teramisu and french bread dipped in olive oil last week – not to mention all the other restaraunt eating that does not qualify as very healthy, better change it up – get some food prep done so you aren’t walking that path all week. ¬†Did you exercise AT ALL last week? (Well, yes, I did yoga one day.) THAT’s not enough. ¬†Giddyup! ¬†You’d better call Gracie, have you checked on her lately? ¬†And, your parents, do you even know how your dad is doing?? ¬†Check out where the world is on the Ukraine crisis – make sure you spend some time worrying about this – you have two soldier age boys, you know, you NEED to be concerned about this. . . and pray for the people on that missing plane. . . heavens. . .”

She doesn’t stop. ¬†Not even to take a breath. ¬†I dread getting out of bed because I don’t know where to start.

Deep breath – get up and make coffee.

Ritual.  Start with ritual.

Climbing the stairs to my sanctuary to write, I set my coffee down, light a candle and open my notebook that begs for some words on the page.

I hear Bernice tell me to tell me to hurry up – I have things to do today.

Then, ¬†a little nudge of an angel voice whispers in my ear, “Be grateful.”

I close my eyes and breathe from a place deep within myself.

Looking out the window, above my desk, I gaze at the sea blue sky, light fluffy clouds slowly sailing to the east – like ships moving, the sun shining directly in my window onto my notebook, still in rising mode.

My soul wells up.  Bernice quiets down.

I am so grateful for this day God gave me.  This gift of grace.  Of writing, this gift I give to myself, an honoring  of my true self.  The music serenading in the backgound РChris Rice singing Hallelujas and guitars strumming. My deep dark coffee laced with swirling almond milk Рthis missing during my days away from home.  The first pen grabbed to write with begs to be written with and words flow out of it. My husband, who never harps on what I should get done on the weekend Рhe gives me this space.

This is my heart speaking. ¬†I call her “Rose”.

I like listening to Rose. ¬†She’s much nicer than Bernice.

I close my notebook and ask my husband what he’s planning for the day.

He tells me, “A little tv, I might shoot my bow, we should take some fish out for supper.”

I shake my head and smile at his ability to have a quiet mind and wish I could be more like him.  I know this is why God partnered me with him.

“You wanna get bundled up and go for a walk?” I ask.

“Yup, right after this hunting show.”

“Okay.”

I decide to have another cup of coffee and start a load of laundry.

I think it’s going to be a beautiful day.

What the Internet is Doing To My Productivity

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What the Internet Has Done To My Productivity

There are currently 11 tabs open on my mac. ¬†Before 10:00 am. ¬†(Yes, this is a fragment. ¬†I know. ¬†I’m making a statement.)

It’s Saturday morning, 6:45 am.  A rediculous -26 degrees below zero in frigid northern MN.  I’m thinking that I am going to get a boatload of tasks checked of my to-do list today because I’m not stepping foot out into that danger zone outside.  Cleaning, writing, school work, decorate the tree and maybe even begin some Christmas baking.  I’ve got English Toffee on my mind.

Because of the mouse that I BELIEVE ran across my face this morning as I was pulling out my REMs at 6:30am, I first go to my facebook page and post this trauma to my status.  Childhood friends console me.  Teaching colleagues and relatives were as mortified as I was.  Former students from my first year teaching appear to reminisce.  Community friends offer solutions:  peppermint oil or cats.  My daughter scolds me in that I need to wash my bedding.

Knowing I should NOT log onto facebook before noon on a Saturday, yet realizing I’ve already broken my cardinal rule, I continue to peruse facebook status’, commenting and clicking on intriguing links that grab my now distracted mind.

A fb friend posts Steven Pressfield’s Writing Wednesday post on  Managing Your Time.  Whoa.  That is the Universe speaking to ME right now, so I’d better surf over there and find out how to best do that!

Pressfield relives a narrative that makes me chuckle because I live the same one, but these are the words that I write down to remember from his post:

“You have to run your day. You can’t let your day run you.

 You must roll out of bed each morning with an unshakeable focus and intention. Your novel, your start-up, your movie. That’s your day. That’s why you’re here.

 You can’t yield to distractions and temptations. You must be like the Blues Brothers.

 You’re on a mission from God.

¬†Who is in charge of your day? You are!‚ÄĚ

Ok.  He is right.  As soon as I get off here, I’m going to start some writing.  But first, I’m going to tweet this blog post on Twitter.  It’s too good to lose and others will benefit from his wise words.  Pressfield wrote the War on  Art. The man speaks volumes. He knows a thing or two about productivity and resistance.

Once on Twitter, I come upon a tweet that has caught my attention.¬†¬†Cathy Mere¬†tweets that everyone should take time to read the tweets on¬†#nerdlutions.¬† ‚ÄúHmmm. . . what is this?¬† I‚Äôd better check this out as it must be too good to miss.‚ÄĚ I click my way over there.

I believe ‚Äú#nerdlutions‚ÄĚ was started by¬†Christopher Lehman, but perhaps the term was derived by¬†Colby Sharp, but I’m not 100 percent sure, needing to give credit to where credit is due. ¬†It seems “#nerdlutions” is defined as committing to doing something or some things for 50 days.¬† There are no rules.¬† Just make sure it makes you happy.

Of course, I’m a sucker for these things.  I’m in.  Being a part of this amazing  Twitter community is the draw.

I commit to 30 minutes of writing and 30 minutes of ‚Äúmoving my body in some form of exercise‚ÄĚ every day.

 I’d better retweet this and I’ll pin it to my Pinterest wall as one of my blog posts to read over and over so I don’t forget about it.

Whoa, stop the trains ‚Äď once at¬†Pinterest, ¬†after pinning this blog post, of course other pinners who have pinned this to their wall as well, pop up.¬† My mind tells me that these are ‚Äúlike-minded‚ÄĚ souls, so I need to check out their walls.

I click on a pin that pulls me in.  It leads me to Brainpickings, a site that I have become lost in before.  Uh-oh.  Don’t know if I should be here this morning, but I’m already astray.  The post I’m called to is by Maria Popova and titled,

‚ÄúThe Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the ‚ÄúOK Plateau‚ÄĚ of Performance & Personal Growth‚ÄĚ,

 which leads me to a book, Maximize Your Potential, by Joshua Foer.  These words from the blog post resinate in my mind for awhile and a rereading in necessary:

‚ÄúIn the 1960s, psychologists identified three stages that we pass through in the acquisition of new skills. We start in the ‚Äúcognitive phase,‚ÄĚ during which we‚Äôre intellectualizing the task, discovering new strategies to perform better, and making lots of mistakes. We‚Äôre consciously focusing on what we‚Äôre doing. Then we enter the ‚Äúassociative stage,‚ÄĚ when we‚Äôre making fewer errors, and gradually getting better. Finally, we arrive at the ‚Äúautonomous stage,‚ÄĚ when we turn on autopilot and move the skill to the back of our proverbial mental filing cabinet and stop paying it conscious attention.‚ÄĚ

The problem most of us have is staying stuck in ‚Äúautopilot‚ÄĚ.¬† By staying in our comfort zone, we tend to ‚Äėcease to care about improving‚Äô.¬† Our mind tells us, ‚ÄúAh, this is good enough.‚ÄĚ I begin to think about the areas in my life I am on autopilot on and which areas need some improvement.

After savoring this post, I navigate over to Amazon to toss the book into my cart.

I don’t think I have to tell you what happens once I get there.

After losing two hours, I shut my laptop, I begin to wonder if I am crazy.  Am I alone in this world of distraction?  Are there others out there that are not able to accomplish their daily to-do list because of our online communities and getting lost in the internet playground.  I know I can’t be alone.  I ponder that if this is a struggle for me, an educated adult, what are our children going through?

I glance over to my bookshelves next to my desk.  A book seems to pop out at me.

The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.    I don’t even remember buying this book.  I pull it off the shelf and realize I need to read this today.

After I post this to my blog today, an ‚Äúunplugging‚ÄĚ for the remainder of the weekend is in order.¬† I have things to do.¬† My mind needs a rest. ¬†My husband will be home soon as ask me how my day was and what I did. ¬†I’d better get something done, fast.

I might sleep with a sleeping bag on the dining room table tonight.  I don’t think mice can climb table legs.  You might say they can’t climb bed legs either, but when you blankets creep off to the floor, this creates a nice ladder for the little varmints to climb.

Did I mention I ran out of my decaf beans and perhaps ground caffeinated ones instead?  They were displayed in an unmarked glass jar.

Explains a lot.

5 Powerful Reasons You Need Morning Pages in Your Life

Morning Pages image

I have done morning pages most of my life, way before Julie Cameron wrote about them in her book The Artist’s Way back in 1992. ¬†When I first read The Artist’s Way for the first time in 2006, I smiled. ¬†What I was doing now had a ¬†name.

I have at least 50 notebooks filled with writing.  Probably more.  They are everywhere. Somedays I write 10-15 pages, others my mandatory 3.  Whatever it may be, I have to write.

I stopped doing morning pages when I started my blogs. 

Why?  How can someone who has done something for a life time stop doing something that is so engrained in their being?  What could possibly cause this?

I started using my blog AS my morning pages.  

Instead of going to the notebook and pen in the mornings, I was now going to my computer attempting to compose a writing for an audience.  I fretted over the frustration of topic choice, choosing a catchy title, crafting that first lead sentence that hooks and then always trying to keep a focus and stick to some pain points.

A  blog has a distinct structure that you try to attain.  This is not morning pages.  I was at a creative standstill.  A block.  Some days I just sat at my computer and pondered.

I didn’t write. ¬†I wasn’t writing.

Julie Cameron’s book Walking in This World arrived on by doorstep yesterday. ¬†As I leafed through the first pages, she reviews the “Basic Tools” for any creative soul. ¬†Morning pages were right there, on the page, as the first, most powerful tool.

I love it when you know something so deep in your core and your veer from it for some reason or another and then, all of a sudden, the Universe sends you a little reminder that you need to remember to do what you know.  Gives me chills.

So, I’m back to my morning pages again. ūüôā

Why are morning pages so powerful, you ask?

Well, I’ll give you 5 really big reasons.

1.  There is no wrong way to do morning pages.

Morning pages are at least 3 pages of long hand writing (no computer) in a notebook that is free-flowing stream of conscious writing.  They are not meant to be art or even any good.  Not that they might be.  They could.  They are only meant for your eyes.  No audience.

2.  The drama gets put on the page.

Julie Cameron says, “All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in your morning pages is the stuff that stands between you and your creativity.”

It might be worry over bills.  It might be anger at your husband.  It might be you beating yourself up because you drank too much last night.

Whatever this is, it’s drama. ¬†If you get it on paper, it’s leaked out of you. ¬†You did something with it. ¬†So, you can move on.

If I can get my drama on the page, I have less drama in my life.  My head is clearer and I can focus my thinking on the things I want to focus on.

3.  Morning pages teach us to get beyond our critic in our heads.

Because there is no wrong way to do the morning pages and we can write whatever we feel and not care what it says or how it looks, we have the right to ignore the critic in our brain telling us that our writing (or anything else for that matter) is crap.

“We have a logic brain. ¬†This is our Censor that gives us our second, third and fourth thoughts whenever faced with our own original thoughts,” ¬†writes Julia. ¬†Quite often, it spits at us words like, “You can’t write that!” or “Who are you kidding?”

And we have our artist brain. ¬†This artist brain is our creative being. ¬†It has glorious thoughts of “what-if’s” and sees a beautiful leaf and¬†thinks, “I’m going to press leaves and string a bunch of them together to make a leaf garland and hang it above my kitchen window!” ¬†Artist brain is random, free and idealistic.

Julie proclaims that “morning pages teach logic brain to stand aside and let artist brain play.” ¬†Why is this important? ¬†I don’t know about you, but my logic brain is dominant in my brain 24/7. ¬†I know I need to train it better.

4.  Morning pages are a form of meditation.

If we write enough so that it feels like breathing, we begin to see new insights in our writing.  We see the same issues, read over the continued whining and we realize that we need to make changes.

In my own life, the answers to my questions magically appear in my writing.  Many times I have stopped in my own tracks and looked at what came out and cried.  God speaks to us through our writing.

We meditate to discover who we are.  To listen to the whispers from God.  Writing is a form of meditation and the great power in it, more so than meditating without writing, is that the writing that ends up on page helps us to map our pathways.

It is almost impossible to write your morning pages morning after morning without feeling a divine unexpected inner guidance.

I consider it a gift.

5.  Morning pages are not just for writers.

Morning pages are for everyone.  If you know how to hold a pencil and scribble some letters, you can do morning pages.  We all have inner work to do.  Every soul is searching for something.  We all are praying for answers.

Everyone can find them in our pages.

If you haven’t written for a while, go buy a cheap composition notebook and find your favorite pen. ¬†Set your alarm for a half hour to an hour early and start your pages.

Write anything. Write about how you don’t know what to write.

Just get it on the page.

Shari ūüôā