Do you follow any rituals? Do you have any daily routines that you love and never want to miss?I do. I have a morning ritual and it is the BEST Part of my day.
Creating, experimenting with and continuing my beloved morning ritual has helped me create the life I want for myself and it has helped me learn so much. So I want to tell you about what I do, to hopefully give you some ideas of what you could do.. Or at least to spark your imagination to come up with your own beloved ritual!
Over the past few posts I have shared with you how impressed and grateful I am for Brooke and Jess because of the amazing information and research they have done and shared with me. And in a few weeks I will introduce you to Aileen, who is probably the biggest motivator of this next concept I am going to talk about. My intention in sharing this with you is so you can get an idea of how you can tap into your intuition by slowing down, taking time and listening to yourself.
When I say listening it doesn’t literally mean hearing. But it does mean paying attention. It does mean noticing. It does mean having a way to compare your thoughts from before with your thoughts now.
How I started
A few years ago, my Mom read Julia Cameron’s book “the Artist’s Way” and told me about the suggestion to do Morning Pages – which according to Julia are 3 pages of handwritten stream of consciousness writing every morning. I’ve also heard that the pages are supposed to be burned after writing them so that you have the feeling of expectations or needing the pages to be a certain way – you can write freely with no thoughts of judgement because you know they are temporary.
I don’t do mine exactly like that.. In fact, I specifically value the opposite of the temporary, non-evaluated nature that suggests.But I love the name Morning Pages. So that is what I call my morning writing.
The 4 Cs
My beloved morning routine is the best and most anticipated part of my day. I am not joking. It’s the first thing I do every morning and it gets me out of bed with joy, curiosity and anticipation every single day!It’s fun. I laugh at myself. I learn. I realize things. I never know what I’m going to discover, remember and encounter as I read and write during my morning ritual.
My beloved morning ritual consists of the 4 Cs- because I love organizing things and I love alliteration.
So the 4 Cs are:
The first C of my morning ritual is candle, most mornings I choose a candle that has a “nice throw” of a scent I love and I light that as I’m gathering all my things. I don’t know if this means anything, but I light the candle with a match, not a lighter- so it does seem a little ritualistic.
The 2nd C is coffee- by the time I’ve made it to the kitchen, I hope it’s ready for me. I take cream, no sugar. I like using a cup with a lid so I don’t spill it and so it stays hot while I think, and write, and read.
I laugh at myself just a little because I bought a new coffee maker even though I loved my old one and it worked just fine but I needed the new one so that I could have a programmable coffee maker. I was imagining a life for myself where the smell of my coffee would wake me up in the morning, so I decided I would create that life for myself by buying a programmable coffee maker that I would set the night before. That way my coffee could be brewing for me while I brushed my teeth and washed my face. Or even before that.. some mornings I do love coming into consciousness from my sleepy state and sniffing the air.. And smelling the coffee – one of my favorite smells-.. And thinking, yes, that’s for me!
Getting this programmable coffee maker was a game changer for me because I don’t want any further delays or distractions from getting started on my ritual. Also, I love that as I’m setting it up for myself the night before, I am re-affirming to myself, on a daily basis, that I’m a person who does favors for her future self.
Have you ever thought about this? Are you a person who does favors for YOUR future self? If not, I definitely recommend you start! It’s so rewarding in so many ways! Let me know if you want to know more about that – maybe I need to do a whole post on favors for my future self. Let me know if you’d like that.But, for now, let’s get back to this topic.
We covered the first 2 Cs – candle and coffee.. The 3rd C in my morning ritual is a Composition notebook.
I’ve tried a lot of different notebooks and journals over the years, and I have to say, I love writing in a standard, 80-page composition notebook. Last year, I surprised myself by trying out a notebook with graph paper and I really loved it!
But when I finished that one, I had already purchased some more lined notebooks – in really nice colors (but I actually have a few different issues with those, even though I was so looking forward to using them, I’ll tell you about if we’re ever stuck in a traffic jam on a road trip and we’ve run out of things to talk about.. ) so I was so excited when I filled those up and decided to drop my “rule” that I had to use them as my journal when I didn’t really want to and I went back to graph paper – it’s what I’m currently using again.. And I LOVE it!
The 4th C is Color. I choose a different color marker to write with every morning.
I usually choose a few markers, knowing that I’m probably only going to use one, but I like having options, and I like to see how the colors complement each other when I choose them. Usually they are analogous, meaning the colors are right next to each other on the color wheel – sometimes they’re complimentary- meaning they are opposite each other on the color wheel (or at least far enough apart) to create a visual vibration. Remember, I’m an artist – so color choice is important to me.. And it helps to inform me of what’s going on with me.
I try to never write in the same color 2 days in a row, because I really like the days to stand apart from each other when I go back and re-read later. And sometimes, I do end up using multiple colors on the same day, when I pose questions to myself or my future self. I’ll write the answers to the questions in a different color.
For the past year and a half or so I’ve been exclusively using Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Medium Point pens for my morning routine. I LOVE these markers! I can’t imagine myself going away from them unless they change the formula or go out of business. I don’t have sponsors for this podcast yet, so this isn’t a sponsored ad – but if you know someone who works for Paper Mate- please tell them I love their Flair Pens! I would be the best brand ambassador ever!
In fact, for the Launch Lunch to celebrate the launch of my podcast back in January, I gave all the members of my Launch Squad gift bags with mini composition note books and paper mate felt tip pens. If you were one of those lucky recipients, now you know why and how truly appreciative I felt to give you one of my very favorite things, and I hope you’re enjoying them.. And, I hope you’re writing! Or about to start writing!
When I finally do sit down to write with the candle burning, the coffee ready and the color chosen, I open the composition notebook and I label the new entry “morning pages, with the day, date and time to start out every new entry. Sometimes, if I have an amazing breakthrough during Zumba, I’ll come home and start another entry with “Zumba thoughts” just to differentiate that entry from the morning pages from a few hours before with the same date.
Have you heard the song “Nightmare” by Halsey? Where she talks about the “record of the wreckage of her life?” I love that lyric, and I know that the best art sometimes comes from pain, but… My morning writing is in no way “a record of a wreckage.” I don’t know, maybe someday, but thankfully not now in anyway.
My daily writing practice is not to vent, or to confess like I used to do in my diary (although, when I do Thought Downloads, venting and confessing does come up).
My writing practice is more of a time to reflect, tease out ideas, answer my own questions, notice what I’m thinking, and look for connections from yesterday, last week, last month and sometimes, last year or even further back…
What do I write about?
So, what do I do during my beloved morning ritual?
I write whatever is on my mind,
I answer writing prompts that I had previously written in the margins of the blank pages
I make lists
I re-read what I’ve written before
I daydream or mind wander
and starting in Oct 2019, I sometimes do a thought download – usually about a specific topic that’s bugging me or that’s on my mind.
I frequently write out models during my morning routine – either a standard model to see what I’m creating with my current thinking.. Or a Last Best Thing Model to capture really good thoughts that I want to practice thinking. And one day every month I do a monthly interview with myself to capture a “big picture view” of what’s happened in the last 3-4 weeks. My plan is to use those monthly interviews when I do my end-of-year reflection.
Like I mentioned about the phrase “record of the wreckage of my life” – that doesn’t usually go into my morning pages, but it definitely belongs in my Thought Downloads- I need to see all my normal, human thoughts down on paper so I can see what I’m working with – uncensored- so I can decide which thoughts are true, which thoughts are helpful, and which ones I think are facts (but are really just optional thoughts)- sometimes it is hard for me to tell.
This whole process from wake up to closing the notebook after I have finished writing can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours, some days. I would say the average time of this ritual is about 45 minutes to an hour.
And once I’m done writing my morning pages, the next thing I usually do is check my finances in my Personal Capital app and I usually write my net worth in my calendar because again, I like to see -not the record of the wreckage- but the abundance. I want to take another tangent here to check in with you because I am so curious. I like looking at my finances daily. I like knowing exactly how much I owe and how much I’ve spent and how much I have in my accounts – but, I have heard of people who are REVOLTED by the idea of looking at their finances daily- so, if you’re willing to share- please let me know where you fall on that spectrum.. And why?
After checking on my finances, depending on my day I either get ready for Zumba or get ready for coaching or whatever other activities I have planned for myself that morning.
Connect with your Intuition
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I wanted you to get an example of how to connect with your intuition. And as you read how I describe my beloved morning ritual, you might be wondering how I can fit this all in before I start my day. Or what time I must wake up in order to have two hours of leisurely free time to sip coffee and write my pages, and read older entries and draw a little doodles in the margins and so forth.
The reason why I have plenty of time is because I have designed my life so that no activities really need to start before 11 AM for me. That’s what is working for me and I have consciously made choices to ensure I have this time for myself. I’m a morning person.
I know I do my best thinking in the morning- so I want to make sure that I give my best time to the most important person in my life – ME.
You may be thinking- that sounds like the worst! I get it. Maybe you’re not a morning person, or maybe the way your life is designed right now, this kind of ritual wouldn’t work with your current schedule. I’m not saying you NEED to do this, or that my way is the ONLY way to do this – I’m sharing with you what I’ve figured out works for me -and it works out SO WELL! I have to recommend it because I love it so much.
What I am saying you can do is consider a practice like this for yourself. Experiment with intentional ways to tap into your own thoughts and your own intuition. Maybe the best time for you is at night. Or maybe you do better thinking and writing in a place with other people.
Or maybe writing isn’t the best method for you. I don’t know, but I encourage you to try some things out and give them a chance, and see what you learn!And, in case you don’t like to write or don’t think you’re a good writer, again, I encourage you to give it a try.
I noticed my writing has improved SO MUCH over the years and I’m actually a faster writer now than when I started. My trust in my writing has skyrocketed. My trust in my self has skyrocketed.
I don’t know if I was ever 100% authentic and honest with myself before I started my daily writing practice.
For the first few years, I was trying to be authentic in what I was writing, but I was also trying to be positive all the time- to always look on the bright side. This served a purpose, and helped me develop the skill of looking for the bright side, and believing a bright side was always available, but it wasn’t until I heard an interview on a podcast give the advice that we should always be 100% honest with ourselves while journaling that I wondered if I was always being 100% honest with myself. And, I realized that I probably wasn’t.
So, sometimes as I write, I pause and ask myself if I am being as honest as I can be. And that’s when I dig deeper and learn even more about what’s going on with me.
It’s Going to be Good
Every morning, I wake up with joy, curiosity and anticipation because I know my writing time is going to be good, and interesting and insightful. I know if the words start flowing, there’s a good chance something smart, or meaningful or helpful is going to come out.
And some mornings, I do more sitting, and thinking and reading than I do writing. I find it fascinating to flip back to the same day of the month – so for example, the 20th – I’ll read back 3 months ago, then 6 months ago, then a year ago on the 20th just to see what’s changed and what has stayed the same. And the only reason I have this huge collection of previous writing to go back to and re-read is because I have made it a priority to write every single morning.
What do you think? Can you imagine writing every day? Can you think of a ritual that would make you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Do you prefer writing in a notebook, the old fashioned way, or typing, or narrating into your phone?
I wonder how many different ways people do this.
My beloved morning ritual has been such a gift to me, and I want to share this gift (or something like it) with you. I’m curious if you have your own rituals that you stand by and make time for and look forward to every day.
I’d also love to know if you have any insights, questions or doubts for yourself about a daily writing practice.