Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: morning pages

The Value Of Mornings

Since returning from Alaska / back-to-school time, I’ve been getting up early with H. His alarm goes off at 5:40am and by 6am I’m downstairs in the kitchen feeding Carter his cup of food.

I’ve switched up my morning routine because of the heat. Usually I wake, write morning pages, feed the dog, run with him, eat/shower/dress and leave for work. But that means I could be out for a run as late as 8am and it’s just too damn hot for that right now.

Exercise is a priority, both for Carter (an exercised dog is a tired, won’t-chew-your-shoes dog) and me. That runner’s high keeps me going all day, unties stiff muscles and generally makes me a happier person. But running in the heat is bad for both of us.

So this is our routine for now: wake, feed dog / drink water, go for a run, write, get ready.

Unfortunately, most days writing gets lost, but I’m working on that.

I had this thought since getting back into the work groove – why do I feel obligated to do the work of my job outside job hours, when I never allow myself to do my personal work during job hours?

Hhmmm.

I have so much flexibility in my time and energy that it can become overwhelming – too many options, not enough parameters. But I heard Heidi’s voice in my head saying that this conundrum probably had something to do with value – valuing my time, creativity and personal work.

I’ve been actively putting my personal work at the forefront of my free time and not allowing my salaried job to spill outside of office hours. More so, I’m accepting that this is exactly what happens, and that I need to make conscious choices about what is important to me and what I want to get done with my time.

So, I’m running with the dog before the heat flares up. I’m blogging this before breakfast. I’m tying up email loose-ends and signing off for the night. I’m jotting down a poem instead of checking social media. I’m going for a run without music or a podcast.

My mornings are mine – and it’s important I use them for me. It sets a habit for the rest of the day and it refills my well. Valuing my time, and what I want to do with it, is a new practice for me – even though it’s something I’ve written about before – it seems like one of those lessons I’m meant to learn over and over again.

And it seems that right now, mornings are an opportunity for my daily practice.

 

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6 of 52: Year of Ocean

Biked down to Venice Beach alone. Went to Menotti’s Coffee Shop for a latte. Walked down to the water, snapping photos along the way. Sat myself down on a beach towel, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and wrote my morning pages.

I welcomed this year by swimming in the waves. And I can see that this visit was a way to welcome in my thirtieth year, but I didn’t do anything symbolic.

In my writing, I noted that I am feeling better: Like I finally caught a wave after sitting on my board for a while. I have ideas, inklings, things I want to do + feel I have the energy for it.

And then I wrote:

It’s not that the fuzziness is gone, not that I’ve reached clarity or a higher consciousness. And def haven’t heard from God, but it’s as if I was in a dark and musty room. Cobwebs of regret strung between walls hung with failures and x-marks the spot of where I could’ve done better (can’t we always? but it’s not productive to dwell) It’s actually as if a door cracked open. That there is now a beam of sun, however weak, but warm, reaching through to guide me out. Beckoning me, that this time of darkness is almost over. And I will soon be able to see.

Cheers to the ocean, to writing, and to feeling lighter. Being able to see again.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

day 14: stillness

Slept terribly last night due to construction and Carter being up, not feeling well. Sleep is a major part of my self-care, so when I don’t get enough, I just feel blah and usually angry about it. Haha.

Glad to report that the day went along fine anyway.

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See all of my August Break 2013 posts here

Early Mornings With Carter

As it happens with a Sun sign changes, just last week I found my energy came back. I shifted my morning routine. Instead of getting up late, writing morning pages, and then exercising Carter, I got up earlier and exercised him first. This somehow created more space for me to do what I wanted and get to work slightly earlier somehow. The added bonus is getting outside before the heat gets to be too much.

And I just love me some early morning light on this pup.

Vigilant

Pic from last week when H was out for the night – I let Carter Cash sleep with me – and he spent the morning while I wrote obsessed with the door… waiting to be let out to go sniff at the bathroom where the bunnies live for now.

It’s giving him gray hairs.

This Grateful Season – Perfect Lattes

2012 can go down as the year I became a pretentious latte drinker. It started a year ago when I found my favorite latte in LA (so far) Espresso Profeta. My old love of pumpkin spice lattes do not even cut it anymore. ::gross:: I want whole milk, well pulled, one-shot lattes. I even have a weekly ritual. I’ve tried lattes in Boston, Hawaii, Vegas and San Francisco. My Boston go to was Espresso Royale. But, San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee was the best I’ve ever had (pictured).

The morning I sat writing in the beautiful sunlit of San Fran, sipping the latte pictured above, was awesome. I walked from my hotel in Union Square down to Mint Street and into a expansive coffee shop with floor to ceiling windows and a line out the door. Everyone seemed perfectly dressed in cozy layers, wire-rimmed glasses and tattoos peeking out, with the baristas working double-time to fill the orders. I loved it.

I sat at the bar, a window seat, and started writing my morning pages. A skinny guy with a perfect salt-n-pepper 5 o’clock shadow sat down next to me with his coffee and iPad.

“That’s pretty analogue of you,” he said, pointing to my handwritten pages.

“Well, I have an iPad for work and I can’t stand typing emails on it, let alone writing anything more.”

In response, he showed me a stylus in his hand and we laughed. He pulled up an app and showed me he can draw and write all of his notes as if it’s paper, but it’s all digital. Awesome. And as I looked at his notes, I saw sketches of toys.

“Are you a…toy… designer?” I ask.

“Um. Actually, yes. That’s exactly what I am,” he said. Hah. Amazing.

So we had a really engaging conversation about toy creations, my plans for San Fran, and then on to the space shuttle traveling through Los Angeles. Haha.

After we said our good-byes, I went to photograph a corner of the room where a white plate and napkin were waiting to be cleared. A barista came over to clear the counter and paused so I could take my photo.

“Are you a photographer?” she asked.

“No. Not really, but I’m visiting and I can’t get over how gorgeous the light is here” I said.

And she went on to tell me she’s a film photographer, old cameras, and she doesn’t have a website yet… but such a fun conversation too.

So, my trip to San Fran was awesome and landed me the best latte of the year. Grateful for the whole experience.

Here’s last year’s latte post (at least I’m consistent…?)

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

Intensity

“It’s like, all of a sudden life’s gotten really intense and it also happens to be 102* outside”

That’s what spilled out of my mouth to a friend on the phone while walking to my car in this stupid heat. Bingo! This is exactly what I’ve been experiencing the past few weeks. I’ve gone through three bosses via department restructuring, lost one professional support, added 7 flights and 5 events to my calendar, over-committed my time, escaped into books and generally felt out of sorts.

I’m not sure what changed today, but this is the first day I’ve felt good in a while. I remember feeling awesome on 9.14.12 but the rest of that week, hell the rest of the month, was a challenge.

Chock it up to transitions…?

  • H going back to work after summer
  • Us being back home after the wedding / honeymoon and that project being done
  • My work ramping up
  • My boss leaving + major changes in my department
  • Friends leaving LA, new friends entering my life

This is what clicked into focus this morning: Back to Work: 86 has Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin talking about Merlin’s schedule changes related to his daughter attending school and his wife going back to work. And he says that he thought the adjustment challenge was having a more constrained work day to accomplish his tasks but that now, after he’s in the transition, he sees that it’s the anxiety of the change and being more responsible for things related to his daughter that were freaking him out.

Spot on. For me it seems to be about managing my own anxiety / fears / hustle around this shift into a new stage – yes, there’s more work on my plate but there also seems to be an intensity around it. Yes the wedding is over and now I’m a wife, but conversations with friends have shifted to engagements / weddings / houses / babies – all big deal topics that make one question their own place in life. Add the general upheaval that travel can bring, a lack of routine, and a bouncing all over work, and you have a pretty good idea of where I’m at.

But for some reason, today the anxiety dissipated. I’ll thank my morning pages writing for some of this – I’ve noticed my writing has taken me to a deeper, more supportive place this week. And serendipity: a hug from H that smoothed out my mood, a random phone call from a former boss, a conversation with a colleague, a phone call with a friend I haven’t spoken to in months… and reminding myself that I’ve felt like this before and, while something may feel wrong, nothing is wrong with me, and if I’ve worked my way out of it before, I can do it again.

Mostly, I feel proud that I was able to gently coax myself into articulating what it was that was “wrong” and ask for what I needed (even in just a quiet thought) and the help started magically appearing. A hug, a phone call, a conversation, a podcast tidbit, an email…

So relieved tonight, & so blessed. xo

The Month of 10

It clocked in at 104* this afternoon at my office. It doesn’t feel anything like October.

We woke up to a dense fog, which was a relief in itself – moisture in the air, cloud coverage – but as it burned off during my run with the little guy, it became uncomfortable. I wore two outfits today – one to drive in the heat and one to wear in the office a/c.

I’m working to weed myself out of the disquiet that’s been on me all September. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever know the cause but I’m relearning self-care routines that help.

Morning pages help so much. My journaling of the past was full of berating and controlling remarks, but over the past two years it’s changed. As the voice in my head has become more loving, so has my writing. Today it was a life-line.

2 things are happening. 1. I am perfectly capable of determining what needs to be done and when and 2. I am totally able to accomplish the work that really matters. But what I’m doing, I think, is thinking of work as some crazy overarching pressured bag rocks that I’m crying around. That there’s not enough time in the day or that I can’t keep up. This is not true as I set the pace…

I just closed my eyes and took a quiet moment and thought, “I’m doing it”. There’s less to do than I think. And another mantra that I’ve already forgotten I do need to “tune in more. take a moment. tap into my wiser self.” ~except morning pages 10.1.12

And then, as I ate veggies and egg whites for breakfast, I read this blog post. It gave me pause.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful. Because it’s so easy to rush. To feel like one isn’t getting ahead, or even keeping abreast. What are the daily decisions that keep us happy? That keep us remembering the whole picture? Soaking it all in, soaking in the details even as they can overwhelm. Focusing on what needs to be done and forging ahead when some days I just want to curl up in bed and nap. ~brooke schmidt

It was a wink, an echo, a reminder.

So on this unseasonably hot day here, I am welcoming in the month of 10, a new transit and another opportunity to trust.

p.s. on cuteoverload.com they call it “tock-tober” – the pic is a Carter’s participation

Somehow, It’s All Enough

Home two weeks now and finally back into the swing of things. This weekend we ventured around LA, cleaned the apartment, and purchased new items to spruce up the house (including the paisley pillow above – which I’m in love with).

Yesterday I worked out and today I ran 3miles. Last night we went out to dinner with new / old friends. I’m putting a good bit of time into work and feeling out a routine. Tonight we actually watched a movie, which we hardly ever do. My digital sabbatical feels good and I continue to get up each day and write morning pages.

I don’t talk about this blog nor my morning pages practice with anyone. Until last night’s dinner, I don’t think I’ve really ever mentioned either to friends, not even besties. Even though it’s a huge part of my life – 3pgs long hand in the morning, quick blog post at night – I do it for me. As much as I like the idea of writing professionally, especially having a blog that speaks to and supports other people and the art of conversation… I don’t know.

Somehow, the writing is enough.

And so is walking my dog, being out in our neighborhood, riding my bike, running, cuddling with my husband, clean sheets, home-cooked meals, new pillows, a good day of work, an engaging conversation with friends, a phone call with my sister, a visit with my brother, a text from my parents, flowers on the table, a few sun salutations, a perfect latte and watching the ocean.

It’s all enough.

There was a time when it wasn’t because I wasn’t (you only have to go back through the last 222 posts to see my hard-earned progress). I didn’t think highly of myself, didn’t think I deserved all that was streaming past me in each day. How wrong I was.

xo

 

Morning

For 15 weeks straight, I’ve written morning pages.

For 11 weeks I’ve follow the Artist’s Way.

For 10 weeks I’ve been without therapy.

Each morning, whether my eyes drift lazily or snap open, I wake up. Sounds swirl – car horns, the dog stretching, showers running, and microwaves chirping. I stretch out my legs and then turn over, curling up on the side that I neglect because I share a bed. Like Byron Katie suggests, I try not to think too much about being in bed or, more importantly, how I “need” to get up. I’ll get up when I sit up, and I usually do, right on time.

My journal rests in a corner of the headboard. Maybe I use the bathroom before I begin. I smooth the sheets out and pile pillows behind my back. The dog stares at me most mornings with excitement, he’s ready for breakfast, but I leave him in his crate, asking him to “Rest your head & be quiet. Good boy”.

This was an important shift that had to happen before I could really give 100% to my morning pages. They needed to happen FIRST. Before anything else, besides maybe a quick pee / hand wash / sip of water, I need to start writing. No dog walks, no breakfast, and certainly no stupid technology. I leave my phone OFF. I have the luxury of usually being home alone, but if not, I don’t speak unless spoken to.

This is my morning ritual. This is how I greet the day. With therapy on hiatus, I am dependent on this 40min segment to hold my worries, rearrange my fears, give me perspective and light my hope.

“We have this idea that we need to be in the mood to write (create). We don’t.” AW

More importantly, we think that sitting still, doing a small action, and meditating are things that, on one hand we can somehow do “incorrectly” and yet, on the other, are “pointless” (aka I have “better” things to do with my time).

My MPs are neither pointless nor perfect. I do just what they say – I write 3 pages, long hand. And then I start my day.

It’s my practice. It’s not something I fret over or improve, not something I judge or critique. It’s just something I do that somehow allows me to feel heard. I write down my dreams, my complaints, my moods. It’s suggested that it could be seen as prayer or meditation. At first I found this too “woo-woo” for my liking, but now I really do feel it’s something deeper than just blurting thoughts onto a page, even though that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Just in the way yoga is more than holding down-dog for 5 breaths, morning pages are an asana for my mind and my spirit. And I’m not entirely sure how to explain it yet, but I think it’s opening up a space for me and God.