I want to tell you about some major breakthroughs and interesting realizations and endearing connections I have made as a result of my morning writing ritual.
I hope you’ll be inspired by the breakthroughs I’ve had and consider finding a way of discovering your own breakthroughs! I really believe the answers you seek are inside of you!
True – Honest – Authentic
I love when I have a great writing session and I KNOW: “uh-huh.. I’m on to you!” when I see what I’m really thinking.. When I notice the true, honest, authentic thoughts that are hiding behind what I might assume are perfectly valid, rational, reasonable justifications.
My writing.. And my understanding of myself.. And of own human behavior.. Has gotten so much more real and helpful to me as I have dropped my ego and dropped my resistance and really been willing to explore and dig deeper into some of my less-than-flattering or not-so-empowering thoughts.
It’s as if some of these thoughts have a grasp or a clamp on my ability and on my potential..
And if I’m able to gently and carefully tease the grasp open, if I can loosen the clamp bit by bit, I can eventually crack it wide open, and then all that potential can expand and move freely – but it couldn’t while I had those resistant, disempowering thoughts surrounding and suffocating it.
This expansion is the value of thought work and self-coaching, in fact, this is why having awareness around what you’re thinking.. and getting coaching.. or coaching yourself is so valuable and worth the investment!
Some days are better than others – but all days are great (except the days I don’t write.. Those days are just good, or maybe ok). Sometimes I sit down on my purple couch after having prepared my coffee, lit a candle and chosen the morning’s perfect color and I’ll write “Morning Pages, the date and the time” and then..I’ll just stare at the page.
I feel like I don’t know what to write because I don’t want to write a mundane description of what I did the day before, and I don’t want to complain about the current topic that’s bugging me, so I wonder, what should I write about?
Often times, I’ll have a list of things on my mind – like things I want to get done that day, or tasks hanging over my head, and I’ll feel like writing those out.. Just to get them out of my head- but I don’t really want my morning pages to become a collection of To Do lists. Sometimes, I’ll daydream.
Whenever I can remember an actual dream that I had while sleeping, I try to recall it and capture it as much as possible in writing, because I really believe that is my subconscious and I’m so curious what weird, convoluted message it has to share with me.
And, it has been so fun to stumble across a dream description that I wrote months ago and completely forgot about- to read about it later is just so funny because the dreams are so imaginative and weird and I wonder- where did that come from!?! I’ve noticed, the more I write my dreams, the better I’m able to remember them in order to write them.
And the value of writing about my dreams isn’t really in writing a play-by-play of what happened in the dream, it’s more in what the awake me makes the elements of the dream mean.
Since I’ve started being more intentional about writing and interpreting my dreams during my morning ritual, and since I’ve started having frequent dream discussions and interpretation sessions with my muse, I feel like I’m getting better about understanding the subconscious clues and messages that dreams can provide.
Quick interruption.. Did you notice I just mentioned my muse!??! Yes, I’m lucky enough to have a muse in my life!
She is a real person who I know in real life, but she’s also like a beautiful, magical fairy who inspires me, and gives me ideas, and makes me question my own thinking, and shows me alternative viewpoints.
We have a really unique relationship that spans a lot of different categories – she’s one of my best friends, we’ve been coworkers, we are co-conspirators and collaborators, she’s been a client of my coaching and I consider her my muse because she represents the ideal woman I want to work with in my coaching practice and in creating content for this podcast and, eventually, we will be creating some other fun and interesting things together too.
So, just in case you were wondering.. I have a muse who I discuss dreams (and everything else) with and if you have the opportunity to have this kind of relationship in your life, I recommend it!
Just Start Writing
When I do sit down in the morning and want to have a good writing session, what I have found works the best is just to get started, write what I’m thinking, write what I notice and usually, it’s like “priming the pump” and once it gets started, it just flows right out of me. Sometimes, I can’t write fast enough so I’ll start a sentence with “there are 2 things I want to say about this”- just to try to trigger my memory to remember the second thing once I’m done writing about the first thing.
It’s so funny, sometimes I’ll think I have nothing to write about, I’m still waking up, nothing new or earth-shattering is on my mind, and I’ll just pose an innocent little question to myself that will blossom into an in-depth analysis of what I’m thinking. I love those moments. I love how the mind (or ego) is tricked into opening up to something my inner voice wants to get out.
An example of this type of innocent question turning into a whole thing is the time I had a writing prompt written in the margin of my journal. It was “”what’s my mood right now?” That sounds like it could have been a one word answer – but as I really dropped into myself to think of what my mood really was, I noticed it was “frantic.”
Interesting right? It was about 5:30, on a quiet morning, I was just sitting, calmly by myself doing my favorite thing, drinking my favorite drink, picking up on the light scent of my sweet almond blossom candle, and when I checked in with myself, I noticed I was feeling frantic.
So, then I got curious about what I could do with that feeling – which is interesting because normally I would have backed it up to find out what thought was causing me to feel that way, but on this day, I decided to accept, instead of resist the feeling and explore my options – and, the breakthrough was that I actually came up with a few ways to move forward in my frantic mood.
When I relaxed into that feeling with acceptance instead of fear, the mind in me started to relax because it realized there was no threat – so then it started to come up with solutions. Amazing!
Allowing instead of Resisting
Another time that allowing, instead of resisting what I was thinking led to an amazing breakthrough was when I noticed myself thinking some really unhelpful thoughts about myself. It was in the weeks leading up to launching this podcast launch.
I was recruiting friends, family and all my connections to join my Launch Squad to give the podcast the best possible entrance into the world. I was planning a Launch Lunch to celebrate the podcast’s launch (and really, just to have another reason to get together with all my favorite people – SHOUT OUT to you if you were a member of the Launch Squad and/or if you joined me for the Launch Lunch! Thank you so much!)
But, back to that morning’s writing.. One of the unhelpful thoughts I was thinking was: “maybe everyone’s just being nice to me and no one really believes in me.” My Self Coaching Training and practice teaches me to notice that thought, and notice the results that thought is creating and then intentionally decide to keep that thought.. Or replace it with a different thought.
But that morning, as I was writing, I had a breakthrough. I decided to allow that unhelpful thought to be possible, instead of resisting it.
So, as I released the resistance to thinking the thought “everyone’s just being nice to me and no one really believes in me”, I realized, Yes, everyone is being nice to me. That’s wonderful. I’m so lucky.
And then I asked myself “what does “Believe in” mean? Had I ever asked myself that before?
Did I even know what I meant when I thought that and judged myself (and, apparently others) with that thought (“no one really believes in me.”)? I translated “believe in” to mean “sure that this would work” (meaning the podcast) and I realized,
“of course I’m not sure this will work. This is trial and error. This is experimentation on my journey. This will lead me to the doorstep of what is next for me. “
And, in allowing that and realizing that, I also remembered that creating the content for this podcast has flowed so effortlessly and joyfully right out of me and it has been so fun and interesting and creative and enlightening- so, even before I had launched a single episode, this podcast was already “working” in giving me the energy and experience that I wanted.
What an amazing message.. And lesson!
Because, now I know that as my mind is offering me “less than desirable thoughts” I can just accept them to see what I can learn from them and realize from them instead of trying to resist them. What a breakthrough!
Don’t need a breakthrough every day
Some days do seem more mundane. And some days I notice myself mind-wandering more than writing. When I catch myself doing that, I try to capture what I was thinking about, but if it was external to me (like a work situation or things I need to remember to buy at the store), I try not to write those down. So even though most of my day-to-day writing doesn’t produce breakthroughs in the moment, I often find breakthroughs when I go back and re-read what I wrote last week, last month or last year.
Sometimes, with hindsight and perspective, and knowing how things ended up turning out, I can see where the initial seed of a thought was considered months earlier, or I can see my initial doubt, that turned out to be unfounded. It’s fun to read the novel I write about myself for myself!
A sampling of breakthroughs
So, for the rest of this post, I want to share with you a few more of the breakthroughs I’ve made during writing or reading what I’ve written. There have been so many and I’m sure so many more to come- so this is just a little sampling.
Some of these are minor breakthroughs, just things that made me go “huh.” and some of these were super inspirational in the moment and I’m so glad I’ve taken action on them and incorporated them into my life.
And overall, this entire podcast is a byproduct of all the mixed together breakthroughs I have had while writing my morning pages over the past few years.
I need to live it to learn it
The bumper sticker for the first breakthrough I want to tell you about is : I need to live it to learn it. This one came about when I was answering a prompt I had written for myself about an “unwelcome surprise.”I had been consuming a lot of business building advice, videos, blogs and webinars and my unwelcome surprise was that I thought they weren’t working for me as advertised. I thought the online gurus were either glossing over the important details or, maybe, I had selective hearing.
What that told me, what I realized during writing that morning, was that everything I need to learn, I really need to actively learn it for myself, in my own situation, with my own business. Not just in theory, not just conceptually. I need to live it to learn it.
That was a very helpful breakthrough for me because I like to consume and ruminate on what I learn. And it makes me feel smart- to have all this knowledge, but if I don’t try it for myself, and apply it, do I retain it? Do I understand it? Does it do anything for me?
So, as you can guess, one of the outcomes of that breakthrough is my podcast and this website. This is me putting into practice what I learned.This is me not just consuming content but creating it. This is me living it so I can really learn it.
Expectations aligned with Intention
Another break though I had during writing happened at the end of a month when I was re-reading what I had written at the beginning of the month. I was noticing that my writing and thoughts in those earlier weeks seemed to be centered around regret and “shoulds” and expectations. I didn’t have a lot of compassion for myself or for my thinking.
I have a habit of elevating my expectations and putting them on a pedestal, and if those expectations aren’t met (in the past.. And maybe still today) I make it mean terrible things. So, that morning I realized I could ask myself:
Is this expectation aligned with my intention?
What a beautiful, helpful question.
Oftentimes, my expectations are a result of default thinking habits, or societal suggestions. But if my current intentions have nothing to do with those old thinking patterns and if society’s opinion of me doesn’t matter.. Then are those expectations even valid? It’s a good question, right?
Here’s an example of that in case it’s hard to follow.
When I plan a party, I go all out. I have a theme, I plan a menu, I think of the tablescape, I research decorations, I curate a music video playlist. I do it all. It’s so much fun for me – until it’s not. I can definitely get into overplanning mode and that’s when I start to feel a little frantic – and that’s when my expectations are SUPER HIGH! For example, one New Years Eve, I had my husband make a special trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a Lazy Susan- you know one of those rotating plates you can put spices on in your cupboard. The reason I needed this Lazy Susan on New Years Eve is because I really needed the clock-themed centerpiece I was making to rotate since each side of it had a different New Years Eve greeting- WHAT?!??
I’m sure once the party got started, no one even cared that the centerpiece could rotate. If I pause and think, what were my true intentions with planning the party, it was to delight my guests, enjoy myself and celebrate one of my favorite holidays with the people I love. I wanted us to catch up and tell stories and make memories. Having a rotating clock centerpiece, that expectation, did not align with my intention.
My expectation (that was fueled by my franticness and all the cool decorating examples I found on Pinterest) was that every detail of that party be perfect and amazing. My intention would never be to force my friends to fawn over a rotating centerpiece.
That was the definition of my expectations not aligning with my intention.
Think about some expectations that you’re holding high right now.. Are they aligned with your intention? Are they really important to you?
Revel in Revealing the Resistance
The 3rd breakthrough I want to tell you about can be summed up as: “Revel in Revealing the Resistance”
For some reason this phrase has popped up for me in the past few days – to me it means valuing what I learn when I’m willing to be open and honest and interested in what I’m resisting.
This is inline with what I mentioned earlier about being curious about my “unhelpful thoughts” and allowing them and exploring them, instead of just resisting them.
One morning, as I was writing my morning pages, I decided to answer a prompt that I had skipped the day before because I had so much to write about that day, I didn’t even need a prompt. (and by the day.. I do sometimes wonder when that happens, if I’m secretly “avoiding a prompt and telling myself I’d rather write something else – but just noticed that suspicion and kept going).
So the prompt was: “What are my top 3 confident areas right now and why?”
This is a really good prompt because it reminds me (and you if you decide to use it in your own writing) to really seek out areas of confidence and notice the thoughts that create the confidence and try to capitalize on those thoughts and confidence in other areas.. Or strengthen them!
This is the whole idea of the Last Best Thing Model.
So, I was looking forward to answering this prompt. It was going to be so good! And then I noticed as I thought “ok, what’s the first area of confidence to explore” I heard myself think “yeah.. But..” Wow! I was negotiating my way out of my own area of confidence? SO INTERESTING!
In the past, my “positive self-talk self” may have shushed the “yeah.. But” voice in order to explore my confidence..
But, I’m a resistance researcher and I know I have so much to learn from my resistance.. So I asked myself .. “yeah, but what?” and I got so much information. The area of confidence that had immediately popped into my mind is that “I’m doing a great job in producing and posting this podcast each week!” Sounds pretty good, right? I am confident in this area.
My inner dialogue went like this: What’s the first area of confidence to explore? I’m doing a great job in producing and posting this podcast each week!”… and then, a sneaky little voice said “yeah.. But…”
And like I said- in other times I would have ignored the yeah but.. But this day- I needed to pause, to understand. The “yeah.. But” was that I don’t like how I “feel behind” in my writing and recording and editing schedule.
When I first decided to create this podcast, I promised myself that I would work well in advance. I would have an editorial calendar planned out. I would have my episodes written and recorded for an entire month in advance. I never wanted to feel rushed or be caught off guard by a technology glitch or getting sick or an emergency.
By the way.. That whole last sentence is translation for “I want to be in control of everything.” – that’s an interesting realization right? What does it mean if I think I’m in control? (Because, of course we all know.. None of us are in control of anything really- except for our own thoughts.. And then not even if we don’t have awareness of them).
So here’s me.. Getting awareness of my resistant thoughts.. When I thought I was about to have a little congratulatory love fest about all the things I can feel confident about! What a surprise downer! But not really a downer.. Because, I do love learning and noticing.. And I am so captivated by resistance right now, so this was actually kind of fun for me!
So, Surprise! I got to do some deep exploration of my thoughts about my rules for myself and this podcast, and what being prepared means, and how I’m prioritizing my time and my work..
And it let me question the value of having podcasts recorded a month in advance- in fact, that goes back to the earlier realization: is the EXPECTATION of having my podcast ready early aligned with my INTENTION for this podcast – Wow! That’s like 2 breakthroughs in one! So much to think about and wonder about and learn about, right?
So just to recap a few of the breakthroughs I’ve had as a result of my beloved morning ritual:
Accepting, instead of resisting a feeling leads to ways to move forward
Allowing an unhelpful thought to be possible, instead of resisting it leads to learning about myself
I need to live it to learn it.
Is this expectation aligned with my intention?
Revel in Revealing the Resistance
When I started writing this post, I had not planned out which breakthroughs I would tell you about.. And now that I’m summarizing the specific ones I decided to share with you, I’m having another breakthrough during writing- because these are so intertwined!
It’s almost like the message of allowing, and not resisting, and being open to learning is breaking through repeatedly with different lessons and in different ways. It’s showing me that I need to learn things and realize them over and over to really learn and internalize and believe them. Wow! This is something to pay attention to!
As I’m telling you about all these breakthroughs that I’ve had for myself, I’m wondering if this is meaningful to you – maybe not, it’s my learning and my realizations about my life.. What does it have to do with you? Am I telling you that you should write daily so that you can have these breakthroughs as well? Maybe so.. But more I think I’m trying to convince you of your amazing intellect and intuition about how you can lead your own life.
The answers for YOU are inside of YOU
I am a coach, so I do want people to hire me for coaching sessions. But, not so I can tell you what to do or tell you what’s best for you.
I truly 100% believe that the answers I need are inside of me. I know what’s best for me. And the answers for YOU are inside of YOU. YOU know what’s best for you. Why would anyone else be able to tell you what you should do, what you should think, who you should be or how you should live?
The biggest overarching breakthrough I have understood as a result of my daily writing ritual is realizing that I do have all the answers for myself.
I love research, I love hearing other people’s experiences and opinions and advice, not for them to tell me what I should do, just as a way of collecting more information so that I can decide for myself.
I love being coached because my sweet little mind is so tricky! It loves to dress up all my thoughts as 100% cold hard facts, and when I try to question if those thoughts really are facts, my sneaky mind assures me “Absolutely- this is a definite fact- no need to poke around.. No need to investigate!” So it’s helpful for me to have a disinterested 3rd party, like a coach, to question if those thoughts really are facts (because they aren’t) and then I can decide what to do with them from there.
My Hope for You
My hope for you (while not telling you what you should do) is for you to find a way to tap into your own inner knowledge.
I don’t know if it’s a daily writing ritual (but it probably can’t hurt) or picking up a Tarot Deck, or meditation, or interviewing your inner voice, or having a coach ask you questions about what you’re thinking – but whatever method you try out, please do consider giving it a try.
Please do consider tapping into your own inner knowledge and intuition to guide you, to answer your own questions and contemplate your next steps. It has worked out so well for me, and I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be helpful for you too.