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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve written quite a bit about coffee, so it seems fitting to highlight the coffee bar, it’s magic, and staying in that magic.
In the post Wide Open Spaces, the coffee bar was dismantled to allow room for a work related project. That was in September and the project was complete mid October, and then it became simply space. I’d walk by and try new things with it, but it always looked cluttered, and nothing seemed to fit. We didn’t know what to call it, and I’d refer to it as ‘what used to be the coffee bar’. That was a weird mouthful of words.
Then, one day my daughter referred to it as, ‘the coffee bar’, and I knew immediately what she was talking about. It was destined to be.
Reassembling it this week, I saw where I crossed the line before. What began as a coffee bar, fell over into a beverage bar and housed coffee and tea. Our hot tea collection has grown this year, so I left it in the kitchen on the tea cart. Everything on the coffee bar relates only to coffee, well, except for the flowers. 😊 The top level remains empty for creative space.
Life is tricky, and we need to stay in our magic. Tell me a magical part of your life. I missed the coffee bar whenever I walked by and saw it empty. Now, I get to stand there once again and feel the magic of the coffee bar.
Sitting on my bench early this morning, taking in a view of the yard, I made mental notes of what needed to be done to help it along. I’ve surmised the yard is my happy place.
I’ve been wanting a place to sit outside and connect with the morning. The bench highlighted in my previous post offers that space. What I like about this space so far is, it can be used solitarily, or I can invite people in and it will expand. Connecting with all kinds of people expands our thinking, and the heart, but they need to be invited in.
I’m practicing letting people in, and it’s not a simple practice. I had a neighbor stop by yesterday and we didn’t really connect. The visit began with my daughter’s dog taking a nip at her leg, and it all just went downhill from there. At first I was discouraged over our visit, but then concluded, it’s going to take more practice.
Keep the door continually propped open.
People are meant to cross our path for a reason and sometimes a season, but it’s rare that they stay forever. The only requirement from us is to let them in.
We’ve been talking about creating spaces. Whether it’s wide open for an upcoming project, which may mean dismantling something you love, or an outdoor space to soak up nature and be available to whomever passes by. This corner was one of the first spaces created and the inspiration came from a Team member of Fearless Warrior.
In this spot you feel at ease, and there’s very little thinking required as the space stirs up creativity itching to be released. Some mornings I walk by it several times telling myself I don’t have time to enjoy it, but I’ve learned if I don’t sit there, my day suffers from not taking the time.
Nothing fancy. It’s literally a corner of the room.
But, it’s mine.
The chair is one of my favorite pieces, and it’s comfy to sit in, but not relaxing. That’s important because I don’t want to dwell there for long. I pour a cup of coffee or tea, place it on the window ledge and then sit in the chair to reflect on possibilities of the day ahead.
It takes about 30 minutes, and it varies each day. Sometimes I need to read, or simply jot down a few ideas, and at other times it’s a full on page of journaling to empty the mind. The ottoman is used to spread out inspiration bubbling up from my artistic side.
Do you have a corner? If not, let me encourage you to create one. The quality of the day begins in my corner.
My Fearless community adds value to my life. On our Team call, I recommended the Morning Pages to a Team member, because I used to do them and saw value in them. Then I asked myself, “Why did you stop writing them Barb?”
My Fearless Team member ran with the idea, and has 3 weeks under his belt. He’s doing so well with it, he inspired me to start writing them again. The main reason I stopped was out of frustration. I couldn’t complete the 3 pages of longhand Julia recommends, but then I heard her voice say, ‘Grab three pieces of paper.’
I’d been using a notebook to write the morning pages, and it was uncomfortable to write in. It was bulky and larger than a regular piece of notebook paper. Eyeing the stack of notebook paper from my daughter’s school stash, I grabbed three pieces of paper and laid them on the table. As I began to write I felt my hand glide across the page and noticed it was resting flat on the table, not elevated by the thickness of the notebook. After completing page one, I went on to page two and then three!
Morning pages are to be written first thing in the morning, and it’s different than Blogging. These are thoughts not fully formed in the mind and feel scattered. Pen to paper helps pull them together and smooth them out. They are not to be shared with anyone, so you can say whatever you darn well please. I do this before anything else, even coffee, so there’s a commitment.
As soon as your eyes open you’ll need:
Three pieces of paper.
Your favorite writing utensil.
Staring out a window helps gather thoughts.
What better place to scatter words than onto an empty page? Be happy and well loved. ~Barb