First Day of School
Years ago I took up the practice of Morning Pages – an exercise introduced to me by Julia Cameron in the book “The Artist’s Way”. It is a book I intend to revisit over the next few months, and was the catalyst for finding the confidence to pursue a career in writing. The practice is simple – write every day, as early as you can, with as little judgment as possible on what is being put on the page.
It is meant to be a meditative practice of sorts, prepping the mind for the day by allowing ideas to flow. To release worries from yesterday and reestablish a blank slate, or a new creative platform for the day that is not merely a repetition of the thoughts of the day before. The deep trenches of thought that are ploughed deep into the soil of our minds have a chance to soften, and new tracks made, when our minds are more malleable and unrehearsed in the quiet, unblemished hours of the morning.
I’ve neglected this practice for a few months now, and I can feel it. I’ve replaced it (not consistently enough) with sitting practice – quieting the mind and letting my “vibration rise” – but something is still missing. There’s a stabilizing that happens, for me, in writing. Something about putting thoughts on a page allows me to release them, knowing they are recorded. They are there. But they are out of me. I can move on, and feel like somehow something wasn’t wasted.
Today I am starting again. Today is the first day of Grade One for my eldest daughter. It is the beginning of a plethora of commitments I have yet to embrace with confidence that I can handle it all, or should be handling it all. After a weekend of illness that brought me literally to my knees begging for death, I am inspecting my choices to take on the World (as is my tendency), already leaning backwards toward the “quiet days of summer” where my schedule was much more flexible.
But things must evolve. That is the only thing I know for sure. Things are always in motion, and they are always in motion forward. And I move fast. Always have. So there’s no point in bucking the current. I just have to find effective ways of relaxing into it – of taking things one step at a time, pacing myself, appreciating things as I go, trying to be present. Things will get done. They always seem to. My desire to do everything perfectly needs to be replaced with a desire to do everything mindfully. Care about the things I am doing while I am doing them. Focus. One thing at a time.
Right now, I write. Then I pack lunches. Then I sit with my daughter and talk to her about the year ahead. Listen. Make space for it. And then make space for the rest.
And, in all truth, the most important thing for me to make space for is myself. I’ve let this priority slip away, as most mothers do. Most people, for that matter. Grown-ups, anyway. I care about my kids. I care about my work. I care about my husband, and my family, and my home, and my community. I care a lot, and somehow self-care doesn’t seem to factor in. And so I’m reminding myself this morning that it should. I’m taking a few unblemished moments to write. And then….breakfast.