The Blank Page

It was 2019 when I first tried implementing the Morning Pages into my life, and it was a struggle. I tried and failed many times, but never stopped completely. In 2021 it finally clicked, and today, the page feels like mine.

Looking back I see it as playing with pages. You have to find the page that’s right for you. I kept bending the rules, but in reality there’s not many rules with the Morning Pages. It’s pen to paper, first thing in the morning, therein lies the name. One thing I always came back to was a standard size piece of paper, but today the page looks totally different than where I began.

It’s blank with no lines and it’s not in a notebook.

The blank page

I’d continually try different forms of paper and encourage you to as well. I’ve used journals and spiralbound notebooks. Notebook paper worked for months, but then I purchased some paper for a project at work. I only needed 25 pieces of paper to print out some letters, but the smallest sized box held 100 pieces. This paper is pale gold parchment, and if you’ve never held a piece of parchment paper in your hands, you need to.

Each morning I sit down at my desk, pick up a pen and let it glide across the blank page.

The Right to Write

You gotta write everyday and I just learned Morning Pages don’t count as everyday writing. Those pages are simply there to catch yourself thinking.

One of my most loved writer’s is Julia Cameron, and I’m going through her course, ‘The The Right to Write.” Listening to Julia’s sage advice is similar to listening to my Mother if she would’ve written. This course was given to me by my son for Christmas. He asked what I wanted this year, and I know how much he usually spends on me at Christmas, so I told him about the course. The course has more meaning as a gift.

I imagined sitting and watching hour long videos, but that was only in my mind. Julia is smart in making each video one minute or so long, and breaking each lesson into tiny clips, which leave you hungry for more.

Not everything you write is meant to be published. I believe that’s the beauty of the Morning Pages. I can lay exactly how I feel to the page. Julia expressed the importance of writing them by hand, instead of typing. She described typing on a keyboard instills speed and accuracy, but writing on a page by hand brings depth. Those ‘first thing in the morning’ thoughts run deep, which I’m grateful not to publish.

Everyone has a Writer in them, but writing wants to be released everyday. If you need a permission slip, here it is my lovely. You have the right to write.

Do Great Things

The commitment I made to my writing is to complete two writing practices a day, whether I want to or not. Most days it flows through the fingers, but today it didn’t. One practice is equal to 30 minutes which is comparatively a Pomodoro. If you’re not familiar with the Pomodoro technique, you can learn more about it here.

If you’re familiar with this plug-in already, my hope is you’re sharing it with everyone you know who sits in front of a computer the majority of the day. It wasn’t always a happy moment to pull up my browser window for work, but now I look forward to it. I see a breathtaking photo, and receive a poke of encouragement from my browser.

Google Chrome Momentum Plug-in

I posted this on our Fearless Slack channel as a mighty revelation! A man chimed in on the post saying he uses this on all his browsers. I wish he had shared this with us. Sometimes we assume everyone knows what we know, and we’re hesitant to share. I’ve received countless comments from the simplest of shares.

After the motivational phrase it says, ‘Good morning, afternoon or evening Barbara’, dependent upon the time of day it is. It asks what you want to focus on today, and if there’s a project that needs completion, I type that in as a reminder, but most days it’s on a more personal level like writing! A tiny box is over to the left, so at the end of the day I get to check it off and watch it receive a strikethrough.

Pay attention to the small things and let God handle the big ones. Out of all the tasks I do each day, keeping this commitment to my writing feels like a really great thing.

To Be Seen

“It’s better to be seen than viewed”, said the cashier at the gas station. That phrase has stuck with me for almost a year. We were just making small talk, and then those words fell out of his mouth as I headed toward the door.

The people who walk through our lives are important, and we need to pay attention to who steps in and what they say because most have a message.

When we first moved here, there weren’t many people walking this neighborhood. There was the occasional runner, or someone would zoom by on a bicycle, but no one just strolling the streets. A year ago I began a simple habit of walking to the end of the street as a friendly presence in the neighborhood. I’ve met a good many neighbors and been doing this for long enough now, when they see me coming they stop and talk.

The time or day doesn’t matter so much as the doing.

This is not considered exercise. I literally step outside in whatever I’m wearing and stroll the nearby streets. My daughter got tickled at me one day when I walked out the door and forgot to leave my glasses at home. I was wrapped up in my favorite cardigan and my glasses were still sitting atop my head as we strolled, but it didn’t bother me because I want to be seen for who I am.

A writer.

To be a writer, you need to release your words. To be a good neighbor, you need to keep them.

An excerpt from the book.

I enjoyed all of your fun comments on my previous post Embracing the New. Here’s a couple of photos I shared in my Fearless community taken with my new phone. I wanted to capture the tiny detail of the yellow flower blooming, and it did that, but it also but picked up every vein in the leaves. I love how the pot sitting below is blurry like it’s not supposed to be the focus.

Focused on the details.
The bigger picture.

We do not see our size. We do not view ourselves with accuracy. We are far larger, far more marvelous, far more deeply and consistently creative than we recognize or know.

Pg. 48 of ‘A Right to Write’, by Julia Cameron.

Here’s to showing up in true form and allowing ourselves to be seen. Much love-Barb.

A Beautiful Morning

I’ve been thinking about this, and had a vision I’d like to share. It took some thought and planning ahead, but it’s well worth every effort. The first thing I saw to do was to scrub the beach rug clean.

It’s odd, but in January hundreds of birds fly overhead all day long dropping red berries. My truck looks like it lost a paintball match and everything is covered in bright, red, splatters, including my front porch. That is where the beach rug resides.

The beach rug laying on the front porch.

For me this year, outside is where I see a sacred space. To sit Yogi style on the rug at sunrise, wrapped in a warm blanket, and tap into the sights and sounds of the early morning. I imagine it being like unguided meditation at it’s best.

What is a beautiful morning?

It’s about creating some space for meditation, reflection, movement, writing, or anything else you’d like to have room for in your life. And finding some space in the mornings for that, a sacred space that takes advantage of the quiet and beautiful light of the mornings.

Leo Babauta-Zenhabits.net

After posting a good night’s sleep I learned as soon as my eyes open, to sit up in the middle of the bed immediately. To sip a glass of water and give my body a chance to catch up with my brain. Sitting in the middle of the bed meditating in that quiet, stillness of the morning is beautiful for me, but recently I find myself gazing out windows often. Like my heart is nudging me outside.

The front porch is clean and waiting.

Let’s follow the heart outside and see what we learn by being present in the early morning light. I’ll let you know where this leads, but in the meantime I wish you a beautiful morning.

Download the App

I completed a ’30 Days to Better Sleep’ mediation, and it worked really well. I didn’t hear the end of several of the meditations, because I fell asleep. 😂

I enjoyed the voice and positive attitude of the man who narrated the meditation, so I looked him up. He was easy to find on social media. He was hosting a week-long meditation on mindfulness, and I thought about signing up, but there was a catch. The only way to participate was to download the app. I enjoy listening to him on Simple Habits, so didn’t see a need to download the app.

I’ve been thinking about apps, and have come to the conclusion, they are good if they help save time, otherwise, they eat up time. Case in point, I downloaded a banking app. Being home most of the time, it’s become routine to check everything via my laptop, including banking. I’ve been helping down at the pizza place when needed, so my paychecks have a tendency to pile up. I don’t want the owner of the pizza place to think his money isn’t appreciated, so once a week I drive to the bank.

No more. Barb downloaded a banking app and does mobile banking. My phone automatically takes a picture of the check, and it’s deposited into my account. Life just got sweeter, and for that, I will happily download the app.

A Quiet Life

Side note: If you’re reading this, it’s been in the draft folder since October. We’re down to four! 🙂

Everyday is Orchestrated

‘Take what you have and use it’. That was my first thing in the morning thought. My daughter went to college via Zoom, I went for my walk and that’s where I saw it.

I wasn’t using my meditation app as intended.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

It’s easy to envision mediation as the photo above.

It can be that way, but I enjoy walking and mediating. I’ve been using the free version of the Simple Habits app this year, but mainly for relaxation and sleep. I told myself if I upgraded to a subscription, I could download a mediation to listen to anywhere, anytime, and even while walking.

I rarely take my phone with me on a walk, but today I popped in one earbud, and left the other one out. Barb being Barb wants the best of both worlds. To be able to hear nature while listening to the mediation.

It was surprising how many of them began with, “Find a comfortable position, whether it’s sitting, or lying down.” I was halfway through my walk before finding what I need.

It wasn’t surprising that it was a prayer meditation by Westley West entitled, “Uplifting Morning Prayers”.

It was like being on a movie set where everything was perfectly orchestrated. As I turned the corner onto a straightaway, the clouds began to thin and the sun came streaming through. Stepping onto the street leading up a hill, I felt a light breeze and there was a spring in my step that made the hill less effort.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

By the time I reached my street, I was refreshed, energized and grateful for a new day. That short morning walk helped me realize, my higher power has everyday orchestrated, if I’ll take what I have and use it.

Breathe It In

Collette left a comment on The Beach Rug, “Maybe I should start being more intentional about the little fantasy that has danced around the back of my mind most of my life.” Right on darling.

That is why I began the simple habit of walking to the end of the street everyday. To become more intentional. It’s so simple I was sure I could do it without fail. The only time I didn’t accomplish it was when I ran out of day. Other tasks were placed before it, but then I had a revelation. Take the time limit off it Barb!

I have all day to walk to the end of the street. It doesn’t have to be any certain time. It’s the same with dreams and goals. Take the time limit off yourself, but do one thing toward it consistently.

I intentionally make my bed every morning. This morning, I noticed a little black book sitting on the bedside table. I’ve had ideas toward my daydream, but realized I’ve written them down in various places. This notebook hasn’t been used much and still has plenty of blank pages inside, so I gathered up all my notes and wrote them in the little book. Keep your ideas together.

Keep your dream close to your heart and don’t tell everyone. I’ve told 4 people and 2 of them gave me an odd look, but the other two who know me well are supportive. Be careful who you confide in. Some will try and talk you out of your dream.

You need to trust your crazy ideas.

After making my bed and dusting off the notebook I remembered a candle I saw a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea why I thought of this candle, (like I need one more candle), but felt led to follow the path. I grabbed my keys and drove to where I saw it. The candle was all soy and smelled divine is all I remembered.

When I walked into the shoppe, I didn’t see the display. A sales lady asked if she could help, so I told her what I knew about the candle. She lead me over to the display, which had been moved since my last visit. There were half a dozen fragrances and one of each on display, so I picked one up to smell it.

Ella B. Candles

I had no idea this was their label, but it coincides with the notebook. God knows the dream in your heart and wants to encourage us to walk the path of uncertainty. He’ll lay things right in front of us like the notebook and a candle always gets my attention. I brought one home, lit it and breathed it in.

The dream never leaves the heart, it just gets covered up with life, but it’s trying to get your attention. It can evolve over time, but every part of your life has prepared you for your purpose.

Light it up darling and once it’s lit, breathe it in.

One More Minute

I’m tired today, but I also know why.

To know is revolutionary. Knowing where I messed up allows room for improvement in that area, and there’s always room for improvement. The simple fact is…I overslept.

I know how much sleep my body needs. It runs with optimum capacity of 7 hours sleep. Looking back on my life, it varied and could run on less when I was younger. The body knows what it needs. All it asks is we pay attention.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

What you just read was written yesterday.

It’s a new day and I’m not tired. It’s 7:30 am and I’m listening to it rain as I type. My goal is to publish at least one post a week, and Wednesday’s at 9:00 am work best. I woke up an hour ago and sat up to drink from the water bottle beside the bed. Soaking up this morning stillness, offering up gratitude for a new day.

It would have been easy to stay in bed and listen to the rain, but I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. My body naturally woke up after 7 hours sleep and I know the key to success. Get out of the bed. If I lay there telling myself, ‘One more minute’, I’ll fall back to sleep and wake up an hour later feeling tired. That’s not a good tired.

This all started month’s ago while creating simple habits. I was tired of disappointing myself by putting things off. Laying in bed in the morning was one of them. I knew if I laid there long enough, the inevitable would happen. A simple habit is just that. Placing my feet on the floor and butt out of bed is relatively simple.

What a difference it makes waking up before dawn and watching the day begin. I get to start the day instead of oversleeping and falling into the day that began without me. My mind is clear, the body is refueled, and I think this is the first morning post I’ve written with no coffee in my body, which is terrifying.

Coffee will appear soon enough. I just wanted to share this special part of the day. I’m going to tag this post and schedule it for 9:00 am, so I can keep that promise to myself. I encourage you to give your body the sleep it needs, but not one more minute.

This is part of what seems to be the never-ending series of how to get a good night’s sleep. You can read them in order here:

1. A Good Night’s Sleep

2. Know Your Flow

3. Mama Knew Best