Tag: Julia Cameron

Acknowledge the Good

A couple of years ago I posted about a gratitude jar. The jar I’d begun using became needed elsewhere, so I took all those little slips of paper, and placed them in an empty Voluspa jar. Last December, I sat down in the middle of my bed with the jar, and read each one.

I remembered cutting paper into strips, writing something I was grateful for, and placing it in the jar. The jar wasn’t very full, because walking by it isn’t enough. I have to pause long enough to write something down. It’s funny, but I was the most grateful for sunlight. The unfolding of each piece of paper and reading what it said, felt like a ritual. I refolded each one and placed them in a baggie for the jar to be used as a vase.

One of my most loved books by Julia Cameron is The Sound of Paper. I don’t know which I love more, the book itself, or it’s title, because I’m enamored by the sound and feel of paper. I want to experience that year-end ritual again, so I started a new jar, in hopes that by this December it will be packed full. The key is to sit it where it doesn’t fall into the background of the everyday, so it’s by my bedroom window waiting, every time I enter.

Empty Voluspa jar.

Here’s some examples of how often I see this jar.

  • First thing in the morning, while opening the drapes.
  • When I walk back in to make my bed.
  • Sitting on the floor, during meditation.
  • When I pet the cat who’s lounging in the morning sun.
  • To plug in my phone for charging.
  • While getting dressed, or anytime I retrieve something from the closet.
  • Anytime I’m in my room gazing out the window, the jar is there.
  • Running the vacuum through the room.
  • Closing the drapes at nightfall.

Some days I’m overwhelmed by goodness, while other days, I need a magnifying glass to see it. No matter if it’s a lot, or just one thing, there’s always something to write on a sliver of paper and place it in the jar.

Pause… breathe… and acknowledge the good.

I Am Second

“Did you write today?”

“Yes.”

“Then you’re a writer today.” Julia Cameron ~ The Right to Write

In a recent staff meeting with the Zen Habits Team, it was suggested for each of us to go through one of Leo’s courses like a student would. I chose his ‘Beautiful Mornings’ course. I love waking up early and seeing the first light of day, but to do that and feel rested, I needed to reel in my bedtime.

In the course Leo’s asks that we implement something into our morning to make it more beautiful. There’s a book that’s been laying on my bedside table for years. You can tell by the cover it’s been well used, and the pages aren’t as bright, white as they once were, but it’s been laying there waiting to be used some more frequently. I’ve re-inserted it into my morning and praying over my adult children.

Most mornings I wake up and my mind begins rolling through the day, but last year I promised myself I’d ‘watch the day unfold‘. Being in need of more practice, I’m sticking with it this year. There’s one thing I feel the need to do before anything else, (even coffee), and that is to spend time with God.

No matter how the day unfolds, or what I see on my plate, by putting Him first I’m trusting His plan instead of mine. When it comes down to it lovely, the only reminder I need today is, I am second.


Credits:

Julia Cameron~The Right to Write

Stormie Omartian~The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children

The Bottom of the Page

It’s still dark outside my window, and the house is quiet and still. I’ve already written my morning page, and I call it that because I only write one page. Julia recommends 3 pages of longhand, but that feels like work to me. It’s more enjoyable to pull out one blank page and fill in the empty space. I’ve been noticing a certain feeling toward the page of the bottom.

The halfway mark has a satisfying feel to it, and once you get there, ‘it’s all downhill’ as they say. The pen glides back and forth across the page, making it’s way to the bottom. I always pause when there’s only enough room left for two lines to be written. How do I want the page to end? Sometimes I simply wish myself a remarkable day and sign off.

The page is not about what you write, it’s just asking to be written. It’s become my daily disciple before the day begins. A certainty to be relied upon in this uncertain world. For the past few days there’s a feeling of accomplishment, or completion when filling in the bottom. My soul is at ease at the bottom of the page.

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.

Close the Door

This weekend my bedroom door fulfilled it’s purpose. I can count on one hand how many times this year I’ve closed my bedroom door. It’s been used, but not as a door.

I hang my winter robe on the top-left corner, so it’s readily available every morning as I walk through the door. The door handle is dripping with handbags that I’ve been wanting to sell or give away for months. Today the door stands clean and ready to be used as an actual door when needed.

Photo by Storiès on Unsplash

What prompted this revelation? Two dogs and a cat.

I first noticed it while responding to a friend’s Marco Polo. I get excited when I talk and my voice reflects it. While trying to record the Marco Polo, our cat would try to sit in my lap, or he would stalk me if I were walking while talking. It became a distraction and I’d lose my train of thought.

Over the weekend someone called and I was excited to hear their voice, but this time here comes two dogs and a cat, circling around my feet with excitement too! It reminded me of how kids know when you’re on the phone and will appear with the most urgent of need at that very moment.

These toddlers have four legs.

I retreated to my bedroom, but they came scurrying in. I grabbed everything hanging on the bedroom door and tossed it on the bed. Scooted their furry butts out of my room, and slowly shut the door. The door slid into place with a click, and a soft thump. I liked the sound it made when it shut. Click, thump and then silence. I’ll keep it cleared off so it can serve it’s purpose, and may we always know my darling when it’s time to close the door.

Writing gives us a place to say what we need to say, but also to hear what we need to hear.

Julia Cameron-A Right to Write

Space to Grow

I’m reading The Artist’s Way for a second time. This year my Kindle died, but instead of replacing the device, I’m replacing digital books with real ones. Julia Cameron was first on the list for replacement, and I found a whole stack of her books at a second hand sale. 🥳

The Morning pages and I have a longtime love/hate relationship. I still can’t write all three pages every morning, but one solid page is better than none. Maybe it’s something you have to build up to, like each stroke across the page is strengthening the muscle needed to go onto page 2 and then 3. I had to smile at Julia’s description of her Morning Pages in The Artist’s Way.

“In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the Morning Pages,” says Julia. That’s one of the things I fancy most about these spaces I’ve shared with you this week. Only one has a valid reason, and that’s only temporary. The other two are pointless, and have no solid reason behind them, but when you have no particular reason you stand before the door of possibilities.

This morning my corner wasn’t comfortable to write the Morning Pages, so I moved to the kitchen table. The first sentence said, “I don’t have much to say today,” but before long I was filling in the last line of the page. What Julia describes as an apparently pointless process, is where the magic in this simple practice is revealed.

At this stage of my life there is not a lot of reasoning behind the majority of what takes place. It’s not so much the actual space as it is allowing time within that space to grow.