Writing is my life. I get up in the morning while it is still dark, to have quiet time alone to write.
This morning however, I slept until 8! Still making the transition from Central Standard time to Paris time. The loss of 7 hours and inability to sleep on the flight over have my clock a little out of whack.
What I discovered however, is that in not getting up, not adhering to my normal routine, I am more out of whack than I was when I was sleep deprived. True, I slept for 9.5 hours last night. But I am sitting here now, at 10, still in my robe. And what is worse, this blog is the first productive thing I have done this morning.
Without the time to settle my thoughts, and the free writing i do to clear my brain, I ended up on Amazon shopping. All it took was one “ping” from a promotional email to de-rail me for 90 minutes. 90 minutes I can never get back.
This is not to say that shopping on Amazon is bad, or that sitting in my home office in my robe is bad. Sleeping for 9.5 hours is never a bad thing, well, unless it is induced by illness, but even then, the body is recovering. No, none of these things should be labeled bad. I can add work time on at the end of the day. I can certainly shower and put on clothes at any time. It is more the sense of ‘groundedness’ and clarity I am mourning.
Waking up with a direction helps me catch the thoughts that float like butterflies through my mind. For as lovely as it is to envision a garden filled with butterflies, if they are constantly flitting out of view, their beauty is lost. And so it is with my thoughts.
This is in working with clients I recommend a morning ritual, strongly suggesting that free writing or ‘brain dumping’ if you will, frees the mind to fully cultivate those things most precious. It allows for fertility in the garden of thoughts, nurturing the ones that are important, weeding out those that are not.
All it takes is 15 minutes, a quiet spot, a piece of blank paper turned horizontally (yes, in the landscape direction – if you want to know why, drop me a line) and your favorite ink pen. Coffee is optional, but if you are like me, just the smell of it invites a new day.
15 minutes spent this way every morning is an exercise for retrieving lost youth. If you doubt this, try it for 7 consecutive days. Get up 20 minutes earlier than normal, make a cup of coffee, gather your writing materials and go. If at first you have nothing to say, start with that. “I have nothing to say.” Just write, without an agenda, without formatting, for 15 minutes.
You may set a timer, if you like. The only rules are to keep the pen moving. No editing, no re-reading, just write.