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Tag Archives: Julia Cameron

Before I pick up my pen- writing routine

image I was once told that Jamie Kirkland (one of my favorite painters), does not pick up her brush until she has reached a meditative state.  Given that my attraction to her paintings is for their serene quality, I believe this statement, whether true or not.

I have since employed the same technique before picking up my pen to write (or my camera to shoot).  I feel a heightened mental and sensory state occurs after a bit of meditation.  My words and purpose seem to vibrate at the surface of my awareness.  My work has greater clarity and concludes with greater satisfaction.

I’ve written before about writing and Morning Pages (see Julia Cameron).  I still employ the technique of daily, 15 minute, uninterrupted, stream-of-conscience writing.  However, as the mother of toddlers, I have had to modify the practice.

The idea of setting an alarm for before they awake, to write for 15 minutes in bed before anything else, is great.  The reality with toddlers is they wake up on their own schedule.  I recognize that this season of my life is dedicated to needs.   The needs of the boys, work, hubby, and my own needs.  I often need to sleep until they awake, to catch up on the missed sleep of previous days, weeks, years.  Yet the creative side of myself cannot be put on the shelf,  so I modify and find a space for creation in my life.

Writing Routine

My routine begins when I step into my studio for the day. First, I space clear (put away anything out of place).  Since I usually do this before leaving in the evening, this doesn’t take long.  I am one who has difficulty ignoring a mess.  I find the mind keeps returning to things left undone.

Second, I do a few yoga postures to release any tension and quiet my mind (reach my meditative state). Third, I set my intention for the day.  Typical intentions are: health, strength, listen, love, respect, calm, centered, open.

Next, I light a few candles (repeating my intention each time), turn on some centering music (Deuter and Takenobu are regulars), and set my phone timer for at least 15 minutes.

It is then that I pick up my pen and write uninterrupted until the timer goes off.  I write continuously, stream of conscious.  It is important to not self-edit, to not worry about a reader.  This way one can really see where they are and what is needed in ones life that day.

This morning, my entire focus was on sharing my routine with others.  It has helped me greatly in my life.  I share in case it helps someone else.  So here it is, Namaste.

Cultivating Intuition

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As a child I grew increasingly frustrated that there were so many competing rules in life.  I thought there had to be one ultimate Truth regarding how to live.  Shouldn’t we all be taught it and live accordingly?!

A lifetime of experiences has tempered that frustration. Thankfully.

I now believe we each have our own path and what is right for me in this moment, may simply not work for you.  I hope to share tools and insights I have been given that have helped me carve my path in the hopes it may help you (or allow you to share something different that works for you).

The last post focused on imagining the life you want to live.  To move from the imaging phase to the enacting phase, something is needed to guide actions and thereby create change in your life.  The most direct way I have found to enact intentional change is to cultivate intuition.

From Merriam-Webster:

Intuition: a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why: something that is known or understood without proof or evidence:  quick and ready insight

The quicker we grasp the right action and respond, the quicker we can move on to the next lesson or stage of our path through life.  Some of us will spend a lifetime reliving the same lesson.   I hope to remain open, learn from my experiences and cultivate the changes I intuitively know I need to make.

One of the great tools I have found in ultivating intuition is explained by Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way.  She calls this tool “Morning Pages”.   Essentially, one writes free-flow of conscience (no self-editing, no expectation to ever share the words with anyone).  Why I believe they work in creating change? It gets annoying to hear yourself say the same things every day.  At some point, you decide to change the script and change is born. Here’s how to do them:

  • Begin with a blank notebook or journal and a new easy-to-write-with pen
  • Upon waking (this is the best time to do this, however if you cannot possibly do this, take your first opportunity), set a timer for 15 minutes and begin writing
  • Do not edit your work (I even ignore punctuation as it slows down the stream of consciousness flow of thought to paper)
  • Do not lift the pen from paper until the timer goes off
  • Do not read your work
  • Repeat each day
  • For more insightful tools check out Ms. Cameron’s book (and accompanying workbook), it is truly one of the best books I have come across for awakening your creative self and unlocking your intuition)

Talk back!  Do you have a strong intuition?  Do you listen to it? What has happened when you don’t?  How has incorporating Morning Pages changed you, your life? Do you feel differently?  Do you see your life differently?

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