Meditational Mornings – Writing to clear your clutter
I feel like I’m always heads down at my desk – literally ALL. DAY. LONG.
Although I work in a large, open environment office space, I’m not one of those people who spend a lot of time partaking in “water cooler” gossip or socializing during the day. Don’t get me wrong – I can be pretty goofy with my coworkers, but I like to be more focused during prime time (the core work hours after morning meetings and before end-of-the-day wind down: 10am – 4pm) so I can leave at an appropriate time and enjoy my life outside of work – work hard, play hard…right? However, as I’m obviously not a robot, I like to come up for air every once in a while after a hard 2-3-hour focus session to scroll social media pages for inspiration and let my mind rest.
I’m not sure how some people can make it through their day without incorporating periods of rest for their brain – Lunch hour? Afternoon break? Snack time? NAP TIME? (Don’t we all wish? Come back Kindergarten class and my paper thin, plastic nap mat – I totally took you for granted during all of those mandatory nap periods!!!) Although I believe in focused “block and tackle” time at work, I also strongly believe in letting your mind refocus several times per day, especially over lunch – but that’s another blog post entirely.
Anyhow, I ran across this LinkedIn post recently during one of my social media mental breaks at work. This article caught my eye as I love writing and am always looking for new ways to give myself a mental rest and clear my mind. Glenn Leibowitz, McKinsey Head of Communications and Blogger, wrote this post about Julia Cameron, Author, Screenwriter, and Coach, and her idea on how to clear your head by writing. As opposed to my breaks during several periods of my workday, she practices this mental refocus first thing in the morning. She calls them her “Morning Pages”, or rather her “Mourning Pages” as she says they should be more appropriately named as you are letting go of the clutter that was once in your head in order to free yourself from your mind’s distractions.
Basically, you wake up each morning and the first thing you do is write. Three pages. It doesn’t have to make sense or be worthy of publishing. You just write, letting your subconscious come out on paper and releasing your psyche of clutter and noise.
A couple of key takeaways from Julia's video:
1) Your “Morning Pages” might not always be pleasant.
I have a feeling my “Morning Pages” would be a grumpy mess as I’m definitely not a morning person. My personality / brain just doesn’t get going until 9:30 / 10am (after LOTS OF COFFEE, of course). Anyone else like that? A lot of online articles suggest that successful people are more productive in the morning, and while statistically that might be true, I don’t always agree. My circadian rhythm is such that my peak time hits in the afternoons / evenings, and I tend to accomplish more during that particular portion of my day. Maybe the “Morning Pages” exercise would help move my peak time pleasantries to the earlier morning hours by clearing out any negativity or subconscious worries? Worth a try! If anything, at least I will clear the clutter.
2) Write your “cloud thoughts”.
I like how Julia refers to this process as though you are meditating on paper. I LOVE meditation, but I’ve never had a documented account of the thoughts that pass through my mind while meditating – my “cloud thoughts”. Kind of scary to think about all the crap that crosses my psyche on a daily basis! Ha! I would love to go back and re-read my cloud thoughts on paper 1-2 months, or even years, later. It would be fun to journey my mind’s inner workings or maybe what patterns exist in my subconscious that I didn’t even know were there.
3) Have more consciousness as you pass through your day.
Do you ever feel like you just mindlessly move through the day? I have days like that where I feel as though I’m simply checking boxes and crossing things off my never-ending to-do lists – wake up, feed and walk dog, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, more work, come home, feed and walk dog, cook dinner, bed. Some days are so monotonous, and some of us – like me – can be so ingrained in our routines. Clearing my mind first thing in the morning using this exercise might allow me to be more present in my everyday life instead of just playing a role – really being aware and not allowing subconscious tasks to deter me from the things that would truly fulfill me as an individual.
What do you all think about “Morning Pages” to help your mind refocus? Is it something you would actually do instead of hitting the snooze button?!
What are some mind-clearing practices you utilize during the workday?
Although I do love my beauty rest, I think I might do as Julia Cameron recommends and “take my shadow out for coffee” when I wake up tomorrow.
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