Good morning! Yesterday I hit my 100th post, and to celebrate I spent the rest of the day changing my blog theme and adding a guest blogger contact page (if anyone would like to submit anything). Today I’ve armored up against the week, however flimsily, with earrings, a t-shirt I’ve had since preschool, and the knowledge that I won’t have a two hour commute to get home tonight. It’s a start, anyway.
I tend to do that. Sometimes I armor myself with optimism, or with exhaustion, or occasionally a dreary “it is what it is so just deal with it” realism that neither worsens nor betters the situation. Often, I try to armor myself with rituals. A cup of tea in the morning. Meditation. Sunday gratitudes. Taking walks. Listening to audiobooks in the car. Remembering to floss. You’d be surprised how many times you might be able to tell yourself that you can handle anything just as long as your teeth feel clean.
It’s a toss-up whether or not most of this does any good. At least I haven’t had any cavities in a long time, and the meditation does help. I should do it more often — that and taking walks. But I’m always on the lookout for new good habits, just in case they are good and, importantly, just in case they’ll stick.
My latest find came from a e-newsletter run by The Muse, a site I signed up for while still job hunting last year. I keep the subscription active because it’s less about finding work (although there’s a pretty regular stream of advice about how to interview well) and more about being a motivated, healthy, clear-headed human being. Today’s is titled, “The Easy Morning Ritual That’ll Help You Clear Your Mind.”
The prescription is basically this: as soon as you wake up (or as close to it as possible), write three pages by hand. Just write whatever, unpolished, unfiltered, and most importantly unread. This advice comes from Julia Cameron, who the article describes as “a poet, screenwriter, creativity coach, and author of 40 books, including The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, which has become a classic among creative professionals.” As a writer, this list of qualifications appeals to me. I’m not sure about the whole spiritual path thing — I’ve found that there’s about a fifty fifty chance with any given occurrence of the word spiritual that I’m going to end up wanting to roll my eyes, because it turns out to be spiritual with a heavy dose of religious — but that’s neither here not there.
“Morning pages,” Cameron writes, “clear the psychic debris standing between us and the day ahead. Done consistently, they will alter the trajectory of our lives.” (x)
One of the gifts I received for my birthday was a personalized journal. I think this is what I’ll start using it for.
This will be a hard habit to solidify, but so was flossing. That was a habit I picked up in college when I tried a 1000 Day Challenge, which is what you might expect from the name. Set 1000 goals and try to meet all of them in the next 1000 days. I did not complete that challenge, but I put flossing down as something to try every day for 100 days (I checked days off on my calendar) and see if it stuck. It did. So you never know.
What do you think about morning pages? Is it something you would/already do? Any thoughts on how to solidify new habits?