What's your current morning routine like? Let me guess: You hit the snooze alarm at least three times. You originally wanted to get up early, but you stayed up way later than you expected after you fell down an Instragram hole stalking Whatshisname, for God knows what reason (but it seemed super important at the time). You finally succumb to your alarm, grab your phone and — without even thinking — head straight to what I call the "Morning Circuit" (aka the order in which you check each of your social apps). After what feels like 10 minutes (but is usually a half hour), you check the time, realize your late and do your best "Home Alone Airport Scene" impression to make it to work by the skin of your teeth.
How'd I do? I'm not psychic. This was my morning routine before my detox.
Before you put your feet to the floor each morning — heck, before you've yawned and stretched, is your attention going straight to your social feed? Before you've mapped out your day or thought about your one, five or ten year goals, are you getting pulled into the time and energy suck of social media?
When my clients go on their week-long social media detox, I ask them to create their own personal rules and guidelines for how they will and won't use social when they come back online. More often than not, NOT checking social media in the morning — or at the very least before they've had their morning coffee — is a prescription they write for themselves. But why?
I believe there's something special and sacred about mornings, a time when the world hasn't asked anything of you yet. There's a stillness. There's a breath before we have to take off in the marathon of our day and its demands. (I think night owls experience this too, only their clock is set a few hours ahead. Instead of 5, 6 or 7AM — their stillness is at 1, 2 or 3 in the morning.)
As still and as sacred as mornings inherently are, there is nothing that has made them more magical than when I've been in the practice of Morning Pages. For those of you who don't know, Morning Pages are an exercise developed by Julia Cameron as part of her book The Artist's Way which I recommend to anyone who's hit a creative block (or doesn't see themselves as a creative to begin with). Morning Pages are so simple, but they yield the most phenomenal results. But you don't have to take my word for it, simply google "Morning Pages" for personal account after personal account of its power.
Morning Pages are a writing meditation that is to be done long hand, first thing in the morning, and enough to fill three pages. That's it. Write about whatever you want. Write your grocery shopping list. Write about your eye allergy. Write yourself a reminder to take your car in to be serviced. Just write three pages and don't look at them. Let them go and see what happens.
During the periods of my life when I've religiously done MP I've had bursts of ideas and inspiration, as well as great clarity about my life. I launched projects and watched things fall into place. (It's not too dissimilar with people's experiences with regular meditation.) During the periods of my life when I've had the greatest resistance to restart MP, it's always been because I was too afraid of what would come up for me in my pages. There were things I just wasn't ready to face about where I was in my life and what I would have to do to get unstuck.
I offer Morning Pages as an alternative to your current morning routine (especially if it involves a "Morning Circuit" of checking apps) because I truly believe people often run to social media for the same reason I would avoid doing Morning Pages: many are afraid if they had a moment of stillness in the morning, they would have to face what they are currently unwilling to face.
This week, I invite you to grab a notebook. I'm sure you have an extra one in your office, or maybe you'll buy a fancy one (HomeGoods has the best ones for the price, in my opinion), or simply grab one from the Dollar Store. Then, leave it on your bedside table and watch what happens when you reach for it in the morning. Pay attention to what starts to shift for you and what opens up in your week when you shake up your usual routine.
Drop me a line and let me know how it goes.