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Posts Tagged ‘Morning Pages’

December 2016 - looking out into water
(Note: If this is your first time you are stepping into my Elul Reflections 5777, please read the Introduction to this series at http://wp.me/pthnB-2NA)

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“What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.” 
~ Brené Brown*

I love fiercely; I hurt deeply; I feel joy with every fiber of my body; I am what I am.

For the most part, the outside world sees me as reasonable and grounded. Maybe I am. AND I am also extraordinarily emotional that I have to remember to breathe into any emotion.

Loving life as I do comes at a cost. Intensity and passion run through my veins. This means that those that love me (including myself) have to  navigate minefields as well as pure exhilaration. I feel with my entire being. And when I feel comfortable, I literally share my whole self.

The minefields are probably the hardest to navigate. Sometimes I wonder what the hell just exploded inside me. At the same time, I love that I can take a ‘time out’ to catch my breath and become more reasonable. While my outbursts tend to be quick, the furious nature of them aren’t easy to navigate.

When my spirit soars, it is really quite enchanting. The electrifying energy is so life affirming and contagious. I absolutely love when my positive energy touches those around me. Sometimes I wonder who feels better after these exchanges; I love that it seems to be mutual.

I don’t remember always being able to honor my feelings in this way, but I sure do feel blessed to feel comfortable enough inside of myself today.

As grateful as I am that I walk through the world as I do, I also struggle. Feeling with ever fiber of my being has a cost. Every morning, I open my eyes and have to remind myself to breathe deeply and trust in the universe. I also have to do everything I can to quiet my mind so that I can better move through the day. On most days, I do this with ease. I get up, I journal so that acknowledge the fullness of where I am, and then I embrace life with open arms and an excitement to see how my personal life will unfold.

This doesn’t mean I forget the world I live in. I never forget that Trump’s venom is sitting in the White House and Netanyahu’s government poisons Israel. I never forget that climate change may destroy our world and that human slavery is alive today. And every continent has horrific disasters that literally destroy life at every turn.

Life’s many moving parts are a reality.  I will always be aware of them and do what I can to make a positive impact while also feeling as intensely as I do. I will also forever feel grateful to my sons who accept all of me (and mostly) accept how I wear my emotions. And I have a few dear friends that are totally present for how I show up. I love that I am (mostly) loved for who I am. That’s pretty awesome considering I can’t be anyone else. 🙂

embrace my scars live my passionAs I was wrapping up this blog, I was notified by Facebook that I shared the following hope card* last year when I posted about My Morning Pages/Writings. I love how this card showed up now.

 

Accepting my own humanity as I try to navigate my many imperfections can be really daunting.  I tend to be really hard on myself especially when anger or deep sadness pour from my soul. At the same time I am embracing the fullness of who I am. I am beautifully imperfect, I am what I am. I am me.

Note:

  1. Quote was from audiobook by Brené Brown from Men, Women, and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough; 2012.
  2. Courtesy of Bone Sigh Arts and Terri St. Cloud. These Hope Cards have been a gift. Find them: https://goo.gl/uVc1lc
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it-is-up-to-us-to-create

Hope Cards answer so many questions that fill  my heart! http://www.bonesigharts.com/store/hope-cards

As I opened my eyes this morning, I quickly became aware that I was in the midst of some sort of  a spiritual metamorphosis. As soon as my pen hit the paper for My Morning Pages (journal), I felt  like a huge shift was on the horizon. I went from moody to grounded with each written word, but it took a lot of deep breaths and inner-work to go from Point A to Point B.

The most empowering transition seemed to come when I compared the a few of the moving parts of my life that have either jazzed my soul and/or crippled my spirit. Sometimes I feel like these two seemingly different concepts are actually ‘two sides of the same coin’.

Taking A Step Back
Two weeks ago, I took a bite of real bread and then another and another. As I was sinking my teeth into the first bite and then the second bite, I found myself thinking that this panini tasted so authentic, so real; the only problem was that it ACTUALLY was and I got really sick from eating it. As someone with celiac disease, eating a gluten filled panini was a disaster. History had taught me time and again that I would be sick for as long as three months from eating the panini.

The good news was that I understood what was happening and I had recently found some amazing health practitioners to help me strive for better health which meant that they were there to help me face my latest crisis. The bad news is that every fiber of my being hurt.

Over the years, I have learned that when I am most despondent or sick as in this case, I dig deep into the soil of life to figure out what is really hurting and how I can best heal.

Digging Deep
This morning, I allowed myself the time and space t go inward. It probably helps that I started waking up at 3:30. Within My Morning Pages, I admitted to myself that I felt off. My body hurt, my mind was struggling, and my spirit wasn’t up to par.  As someone who seems to rally at an intense level most of the time, I was aware that I needed to explore the thoughts racing around in my head.

What I found initially stunned me? And then, I allowed myself some space to re-frame the darkness and turn it into light.  I needed to knead the thoughts to allow them to flow.

Realization #1
I had a momentary fear that I was simply never going to reach my dreams.

  • If being healthy is a non-negotiable then why aren’t I further along in my health journey?
  • Why is it that I haven’t created my new blog called My Second Foundation in which I will be interviewing and writing about survivors of trauma?
  • Have I done enough or anything to make the world a better place?
  • If I truly want to have more time to do the things I love, why haven’t I done more to simplify my life?
  • Am I doing enough to develop my writing?
  • And when will My Second Foundation, my nonprofit, have wings?

All of these questions/thoughts challenged me and will continue to challenge me.  And while I wish I could be doing more of what I love, I am blessed to be on a path that I love.

Breathing deeply, I need to do a better job of celebrating what is as I strive for each and every one of my dreams.

Realization #2
As I focus on becoming the healthiest me that I can be, I need reconsider how I see this process. I am on Day 3 of what I will now refer to as My Journey Towards Life. With 122 days until my birthday, I have the ability to do the holy work of taking care of my body, my mind, and my spirit. I am on the journey to make my life the best possible life it can be. My hope is that on Day 124, I may stop ‘officially’ counting, but I will count all the days of my life. 🙂

While I love life and I love my life, I want to better engage in living more consciously, physically moving and keeping my heart pumping. Being healthy is so much bigger than I realized. My body, my mind, and my spirit need to be cared for; I am a package deal.

Over the last few days, I have been doing a lot of the practices given to be by my Aryuvedic Practitioner and acupuncturist, massage, drinking cleansing teas, walking, and writing. I have also been spending time with my sons and connecting with friends. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, I have been sleeping and napping a lot.

It feels good to make taking care of myself a norm.

Realization #3
I love deeply and I am spiritually committed to those I adore. And yet, I nurture relationships that are safe instead of seeking connections that can bloom into partnerships.

Perhaps that is what is right for me, perhaps not. . . I think it is time for me to delve deeper so that I can discover what I really want.

I need to face the myriad of feelings and trust what insight follows.

Wrapping Up
At the end of my very soulful writing time I asked myself some guiding questions.

  • How can I connect more deeply with that which I am and that which I want to be?
  • How do I create a world that honors the holy trinities (per Glennon Doyle Melton) of body, mind, & spirit?
  • How do I navigate my sadness over some deep losses.

Picking Cards
After I ask guiding questions of myself, I often pick cards from different decks.  The beauty of picking these cards is that each of them usually answer the very questions that I had originally asked for guidance. Today, all three of my card choices did! It was mind blowing!!!

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This I believe
The insights that come during the early morning hours have the power to change you if you have the inner-strength to listen.

May the seeds that were planted this morning sprout with beautiful growth! May I become even MORE ALIVE!

Thank you for taking time to listen to today’s rambles.

Onward with love, light, & blessings,
Chava

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There are few coincidences in life.

This morning, I woke up with a spring in my step. It didn’t matter that I am sick, what mattered is that I am being greeted by My Morning Pages.

For the last month, I have been finding my voice through what Julia Cameron refers to as Morning Pages. Each and every morning (ok, nearly every morning), I have woken up to write 3-6 pages of stream of consciousness writing.  By writing first thing in the morning, I refrain from filtering my thoughts; instead I allow my thoughs to simply flow without editing each sentence before it hits the paper.

This morning felt a little different that previous mornings because I found myself literally celebrating the power of what my morning pages have done for me and how I have grown since I started writing them a month ago.

Here is the synopsis:

  1. One month ago, I started writing my morning pages – after many years away from this practice.
  2. Two weeks ago, I added the practice of ending my morning pages by asking myself questions about how I would move forward from whatever I was navigating during a specific day. And then I would pick a Hope card (from BoneSighArts.com) and an Angel Card. On most days, the card I pick allows me to soar while feeling more grounded.
  3. One week ago, I had the inner strength to let go of a friendship that had broken my spirit and shattered  my heart. Somehow I found the grace to release the bond that had been holding tight for way too long.
  4. Since the beginning of writing my Morning Pages, I have been really sick three times. Through finding my authentic voice, I am finally being able to purge the toxicity that has been festering inside my body.
  5. On at least three different occasions, I have asked friends for what I need. And wow, I have felt so loved and supported.
  6. I am healing in ways I didn’t even know I needed to heal.
  7. Each morning, I start my day by drinking a couple of glasses of water and sometimes a smoothie. I love that I am nourishing my body at the same time I am nurturing my soul.

So while I have navigated some really hard stuff, I have also found a healthier place to live.

With each passing morning, I have found that I am taking better care of myself in more ways that via my writing. I have been painting furniture, cooking good food, taking longer walks more frequently, and chanting.  I am also allowing myself to go inward more and accepting that I can’t talk to everyone, but I have been sending cards to my beloved friends.

Conscious reflection is adding so much more to my life. I am taking time to see the gifts and the challenges. And more often than not I am finding the gifts within the challenges.

There are many mornings, when I have started my Morning Pages with deep pain at the core of my being, but ended my writing time with a calm and peaceful heart. They are grounding me and allowing me to literally grow my roots and become spiritually stronger.

While it may seem that I am more raw or sick more often, in actuallity I am allowing myself to be more of what I am.

The chameleon in me has slowly stopped fitting in quite the same way; I have learned to say what I need and what I want. I have learned to share my deepest dreams, my hopes for the future, and my innermost thoughts.

Sometimes my thoughts and feelings are embraced and sometimes it is obvious that friends and community would rather I stop approaching the world with such an open heart. But what I have come to learn is that I am so much happier being transparent. I don’t have to walk alone and close my intensity off from the world.

One of the best parts of this transformation is that I am not sure that I need anyone’s approval now. Maybe I am only able to say that because I really do have several different pockets of friends that value me for the person I am. With that reality, I have come to a better place and I am having an easier time.

Oct 20 - sunrise Pantano Wash
I love where I am now – professionally, spiritually, and personally. And I am a work in progress; I am a seeker. So I am constantly stretching, growing, and navigating new paths. And with each new path, I am surrounded by beloveds.

My Morning Pages journey has helped me to find  more calmness and inner peace with who I am. I am living by the values that I so strongly believe. Confirmation came to me when I found  these two wonderful saying in the last few days:

To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin
to love yourself,value yourself. And that’s
political, in the most profound way.
June Jordan

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and the universe listened. 
Terri St. Cloud

There is a huge shift taking hold;. I am AWAKENING in every way.

Politically, I speak my mind.
Spiritually, I share my soul.
Consciously, I live my life.

I have found my voice and I now live in a world that I can be me – totally me.
How awesome is that?!?!?!

Onward!
Now & Always,
Chava

Note: OK, I do bite my tongue when I find out someone likes Donald Trump or Binyamim Netanyahu because I have decided, for the most part, that anything I say would not penetrate their skull. If you like either of these two characters, chances are you are probably not part of my inner circle. So, why spend too much time trying to enlighten you. I don’t need to talk just to hear myself heard.

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At this point, my beautiful village is probably wondering why I would ever have called myself a loser, but I am. Or at least I have been and sometimes it is still my reality.  The good news is that I do some very holy work; I am always trying to become better person and more healthy too. What I know and trust is that I am definitely a work in progress.

Reflections:
You see I have been known to love the wrong person, to value a connection that has outlived it’s benefits, and to hold on to beliefs that stopped serving me well. My guess is that we all have these moments, but lately I seem to be feeling it more intensely than I have in a while.

  1.  A few mornings ago, I awoke early and found myself reading a new Julia Cameron book. In each of her books, Cameron inspires her readers to begin writing what she refers to as Morning Pages.  Morning Pages are stream of consciousness hand-written writings to help jump start your spirit and often allows you the room to work through some of your own garbage without a need to filter each word. (Who has the wherewithal to filter what you are writing first thing in the morning?)

    This morning, I found myself processing the wounds that my original Morning Pages brought me years ago when someone I should have been able to trust went through my writings. I never quite got over that open wound even though that person is no longer part of my life. But it is time and today, instead of writing the three mandatory pages I wrote six pages of long hand writing and released some of the pain that has been getting in the way for years.

    Taking the time to write Morning Pages helped renew my spirit and give me balance.

  2. Holding too tight to Barbed WireAnd then later in the morning, my friend posted the following photo on her Facebook page. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spend a lot of time making it.”

    Wow, this saying forced me to consider all of the ramifications of not only the challenging relationship that took away my love affair with my original Morning Pages and the relationships that were crushed from that betrayal. That experience  literally changed the course of my life.

    Regardless, my job is still to move forward. Being stuck for years did not serve my future writing, it did not allow me move forward from the relationships that I saw as being non negotiable parts of my life, and it didn’t allow me to build trust with new people who would value all ot even most of the moving parts of me.

  3. One of my more significant challenges has been how I care for my body through food, exercise, and sleep.  This is one of those areas of my life that I need to build a stronger practice of self care. And in truth, I am doing the work, but I have so much further to go.

    Sleep and exercise seem to be faltering behind, but my eating habits are improving by exponentially.  The last few years I have made a ton of changes for good and now I am making more. Except that I am humbled by how often I backslide.

    Even this past week when I was really sick with a virus, I made sure I had some Coca-Cola nearby. As a child and into adulthood, I have always believed that drinking the caramel flavored ‘stuff’ could make anyone better. It is OK to laugh at me now. . . we know:

    • Coca-Cola can corrode a battery.
    • The sugar in Coca-Cola is a huge contributor to obesity.
    • For me, Coca-Cola causes urinary tract infections or UTIs and it feeds into my sugar addiction.
    • Coca-Cola Company has questionable business practices with many human right violations.
  4. How many times have I created friendships with people that I Believe what People tell yousimply adore even though they have told me something that should have been a red flag. I really should embrace Maya Angelou’s insight, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Had I embraced these words, I may have saved myself so much pain over the years.

    A few years ago, I had a friend who I loved deeply.  She used to voice that she felt like she was living in my shadow. She would say things like, “Chavale, you are so strongly rooted in ethical choices”; I don’t know how you do it.  She seemed to love my strong spirit, but in the end she voiced that it also made her feel  inept in some way. One day, she closed the door and ended a friendship that I believed would last a lifetime. Today I realize that I am happiest when I surround myself with conscious individuals who live by their values.

Going Deeper
May I surround myself with those that inspire me to be a better human being as they seek to be the best they can be too. Let me also remember to live with integrity always and to strive to be authentic as I walk in the world not only for myself, but for the world I live.

Life is full of many moving parts. Individually, each part can appear to be overwhelming and if I don’t watch myself, I may see myself as a loser. My job is to look a little deeper, if I do I will most definitely see myself as the work in progress that I am.  Conscious living means giving myself the space to stretch, to grow, and to evolve.

May I always be blessed to see the world clearly and not clouded by my own spiritual low – Keeping perspective and remembering to take one step and then the another. There is always more work to do.

 

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Morning Pages BinderI love to write.

If given the opportunity I would write all day long. Some days I actually do!

Today was no different then any other day.  I woke up in the morning.  I stretched a bit and drank a little water.  And then, I did what I always do, I took time to write what Julia Cameron, creativity author, calls Morning Pages.  On most mornings, I take 15-45 minutes in order to write long-hand. Some of you may have forgotten this beautiful art-form; it is when you take a pen in hand and write on a old-fashioned piece of paper.  Now some of you may remember how to use the penmanship you learned in 2nd or 3rd grade, but for others, like myself, I write with a combination print and script.

Morning pages are like sunshine to me; they turn me on and get me ready to take on a new day.  They nudge me awake and literally light up my life.  Each and every time I take time to put pen to paper or even fingers to keyboard, I fill up with light.

During the morning pages, Cameron urges her readers to write at least three pages of stream of consciousness writing.  Today, I was able to sit down and start writing from the deepest part of my soul.  On some days, it may take a few minutes to navigate to the essence of what is on my mind, but not usually.  But, when I first started this practice years ago, I would start by writing my daily affirmation 100 times or perhaps make a shopping list, a to do list, a friends list.  You get the idea.  Today, if I am really struggling, I find one of my most beloved sayings and start writing about it. What normally happens is that the saying inspires me to write that which is weighing on my heart.  I always write that which is on my mind.

While reality may be that I’d love to write from morning to night, with eating or stretching breaks along the way.  I can’t.  I have responsibilities, work, chores, and sons; I have a ton to do.

In all practicality, the Morning Pages would not be described as beautiful prose (although sometimes it is), they are the words of someone  who is literally puking out what is on her mind.  When I do that fully, I am then ready to move forward in my day.  Subsequently, this routine leads to more solid and actively engaged writing on my computer because the cobwebs that were in my head are now on my Morning Pages.

Anyway, just because I have taken time to get the cobwebs out of my brain doesn’t mean I am really conscious.  This morning I was so in another world that I ended My Morning Pages with “it is time for me to get to work and turn off my pen.” Oy gevalt. . . . Perhaps, maybe, I was still in a subconscious mode pouring out my heart and soul.  Or perhaps I just need to learn to turn off my pen. 🙂

Morning Pages Open

 

 

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