Posts Tagged ‘Habits’

~waves~ Hello and welcome to new readers and followers! I am so glad that you are here. I may have to write a real About Me page sooner rather than later.

Here I am posting for the fourth day in a row and feeling pretty good about the process. What I have been struggling with a bit lately is my paper journal. I still love it. I am still writing in it every day. Often, however, rather than writing in it as thoughts and tasks come up throughout the day, I find that I often don’t start my entry until it is almost too late. Part of it is that I want to get going on things I am supposed to be doing, and I keep telling myself that I will have more time later. I never have more time later. Nobody has more time later. As the day goes on, you have less time, not more. Therefore I end up with a quick list and a rushed entry, or else I really get going and am up scribbling until the wee hours.

I have written in a journal off and on since I first read Harriet the Spy in probably second grade. While I have no problem with regular spiral-bound notebooks — in fact, I love them for taking notes in meetings — somewhere along the line I became a collector of journals and fancier notebooks. When I decided to start writing in a journal again daily, I collected and counted all of the empty notebooks and journals. There are many. Enough to last for years. So when I saw a recommended YouTube video with 100 uses for a blank journal or notebook, I clicked.

Some of the ideas were definitely not for me. Others were similar enough to each other to essentially be the same idea. A couple I might try if I don’t want to just incorporate them into my regular journal. The one that produced an Aha! moment was Morning Pages, which was briefly described by the video’s narrator as being the practice of filling three pages with stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning.

The idea of Morning Pages comes from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. I thought that there might be more to it, so I watched a video on Cameron’s website.

It turns out that there isn’t really anything more two it. Just start your day with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing. I thought, “That’s what I need!” Every morning, I need to just open a journal and scribble out whatever clutter is in my head — clear the decks, as it were. It sounded motivating and refreshing.

Just to be sure, I read an article from the New York Times: “Julia Cameron Wants You to Do Your Morning Pages”. (Hopefully that link doesn’t hit a paywall.) NPR did a story to coincide with the publication of Seeking Wisdom, but it includes Morning Pages, too.

I am not sure if the pages I filled this morning quite count since I went through a few other morning rituals and then learned more about Morning Pages before trying it, but I think I might be hooked already. Morning Pages will be a great use for the journals which don’t really lend themselves to bullet journal spreads. I even pulled out and unwrapped a gorgeous leather bound journal which I had been saving for some special occasion or project (i.e. when I became a “real” or “serious” writer). It has sat on a shelf for at least a decade. It’s time has come. It will be a delight to write in it, so what better motivation to make sure I do Morning Pages?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Like many people, I could do with more exercise, and I struggle to work it into my life on a consistent basis.

A friend of mine suggested recently that I should just take a walk around the block first thing in the morning. I could always do more later, but I would be starting the day with some fresh air in my lungs. Sounds easy enough, right?

The view as a I start walking down my street

While I enjoy early mornings, I am not much of a morning person. I don’t wake up and pop right out of bed, ready to face the day. If I wake up to lovely music on the radio and feeling snuggly and comfortable in bed, I am not keen to change the situation, and if I do get myself upright in short order, it takes a while before I feel like getting dressed and really starting the day.

This bumblebee is more industrious than I am in the morning.

It took three days between advice and action, and the first action did not bode well. The temperature was not too hot, but it was quite humid. Exhaust plus humidity equals dank air which is not particularly pleasant to breathe. I did make it through a short loop through the neighborhood, and I have managed to do the same thing every day since. Today marks eight days in a row.

All sorts of flowers, wild and cultivated, grow along my route.

The key is to not think about it too much. I get up, put on appropriate clothing, have a drink of water if I think about it, pick up a house key, and walk out the door. I don’t take music or my phone. I don’t wear any sort of device which tracks where I am going or how many steps I take or how far I go or what my heart rate is or how many calories I am burning or compares one day to another. I don’t know how far or how fast. Sometimes more and sometimes less, varying the route according to the morning’s whim. I just walk.

There’s a river to my left as I walk this path.

While I am not sure how much it is helping overall (it has only been eight days), it has not been difficult. As the song says, I just put one foot in front of the other.

I was worried that it would be difficult to motivate myself without music or that the brain weasels would detract from the salubrious effects of these morning perambulations. If I feel as if anxious thoughts are taking over, I can sing a song in my head — make my own music. I pay attention to where I am going and what is around me.

A feather

Yesterday I took a second walk with my phone so that I could take some pictures. I would like to take more pictures, especially of some of the houses I pass, but carrying a camera gets in the way of the simplicity of the endeavor, and folks might not care for their homes being photographed by a random person strolling through the neighborhood, so I am going to wait and see on that idea.

Maybe I will give it some thought on tomorrow’s walk.

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