Lessons Learned From Julia Camerons “Artist’s Way Morning Pages”

Lessons Learned from Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages”

Discipline

It takes willpower and discipline to wake up every morning early enough to write three hand-written long-form style pages each morning. It takes anywhere from 45–60 minutes on most days (sometimes more).

In order to do this productively I would; wake up at 5AM, drink a bottle of water, wash my face, brush my teeth, make my bed, write my 5 minute journal, make a cup of coffee or tea, do 10 push ups(at a minimum), stretch for 5–10 minutes, and then sit down to write.

With ambient sounds or acoustic music playing, I would gently flow into the art of writing my three lovely, sometimes irksome, morning pages.

The act of waking up early and focusing on important areas of my life has been and remains key to my joy each day.

I Can Write

Thanks, Jeff Goins. Check out his book, “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).

I wrote for years without much intention or purpose. A lot of which for personal growth, reflection, and education. It helps me find meaning in business, books, relationships, and life.

Then I started freelance writing and realized I had a LOT to learn. Grammar, copywriting, print, advertisements, email marketing; the list goes on and on.

I’ve written well over 400,000 words (maybe more, maybe less) this year which is an accomplishment I’m rather proud of.’

Much of this has been from my daily habit of writing. Thank you morning pages for the confidence to call myself a writer.

Enhanced Creativity

I never thought I was creative even though I always craved creation.

I enjoyed art, liked poetry, loved the design, and was a passionate writer. The problem was my lack of education to make things of my own.

Morning pages expanded my curiosity, creative capabilities, interests, and most importantly understand myself.

Use morning pages to plan your day, settle your emotions, think of new ways to work on relationships in your life, identify skills to work on, and unleash the power of your creative mind.

Be creative with your writing. Don’t judge your own work. Let yourself break the rules and do things against what you were taught in school.

Try writing in cursive, different sizes, do a bit of drawing, make lists, set goals, and anything else you can think of.

Try New Things

One of the best parts of the morning pages experience is the infamous “artist date”. An individual 2-hour exploration of a creative interest of your desire.

This can be a drawing class, yoga, meditation, painting, acting, a tour of a local attraction; anything you love to do and that will inspire creativity and new ideas.

Cameron says this is the most important aspect of rediscovering your creative interests. The only way to find comfort in creativity is to try new things.

The best artist date for me this summer was a chance to be on TV! I made it!

I appeared in several episodes of Good Behavior, a TNT show, as a club patron and pedestrian!

This was by far my favorite experience of the year and something I will be grateful for and remember for the rest of my life.

If you are interested in expanding your curiosity, creativity, or maybe you want a unique way to discover more about yourself; check out Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way!

Follow me on my blog or find more of my writing on Medium!

How Do You Find Joy In Life?

Skydiving on my 25th birthday. This brought LOTS of joy to my life =)!

How to Find Out What Brings You Joy

What pulls you from the comfort of your sheets each day?

Is it your job? Your family? School?

Maybe you’re tired of your job and it’s time for a change. The autopilot life can be tough to break.

Joy exists everywhere, much like gratitude and appreciation, but can require a bit of effort to discover (or rediscover for some of you).

The feeling of being stuck can prevent you from pursuing things you love; even those which make you the happiest. I’ve realized this is something that will continuously occur in life. No if’s and’s or buts. It’s out of our control.

You get one life. If you’re suffering, frustrated, or struggling to find joy, it’s time you invest in yourself for the betterment of your future.

Take Time to Reflect

Start with an honest reflection of your life. Evaluate the failures, successes, wins, losses, and the deeply personal details of who you are. If this is a bit much, try just 6 months, or a year.

Make a list of all of the things you are proud of, failed at, learned, and accomplished.

Understand what you love to do and the things that bring you the most joy. Maybe you always wanted to be an athlete, a writer, painter, on TV, a comedian, you get the point.

Find ways to explore your childhood passions with a childlike sense of curiosity. I loved video games as a kid but realized I no longer find the same fulfillment I did when I was young. Writing, reading, hiking, mountain biking, and music are only a few of the hobbies which bring joy to my life.

Evaluate your life and what fires you up! Do you want to write a book, travel to another country, learn another language, learn how to draw, practice an instrument?

What is it you desire to achieve or accomplish in your life?

What are a few of those things you could do today which would bring you the most joy? Don’t wait. Figure out 2–3 things you can do TODAY, at the latest tomorrow, to find joy in your life.

Then take action!

Time To Take Action

Don’t wait, don’t overthink it, and please, please do not complain and go take action. Life is a surplus of opportunity waiting to be discovered. As Jim Rohn says, “Doors of opportunity comes to those who continually knock”.

Don’t stop knocking. The ‘you’ which you haven’t met yet is waiting to be found. Go find him.

So many of us reflect on our lives and learn of what brings us the most joy only to fall short of ever taking the first step.

I struggle with this every day; I’m already fighting reasons why I shouldn’t publish this but I am anyway. Even if nobody likes, comments, or even reads it at all.

Try something new, if you’re struggling with ideas here are a few examples:

►Journaling, Writing, Blogging, Reading

►Yoga, Crossfit, Spin Class, Pilates, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Etc

►Programming, Web Design, Photography, Video Production

►Take a class; Acting, Dance, Film, Creative Writing, Programming, (Anything!)

The simple commitment to something you enjoy will bring you joy. Be proud of your commitment to self-improvement and FOLLOW THROUGH!

Serve Others

Find a way to volunteer for a cause you believe in, offer your services to a non-profit, or get involved in your community.

When you offer to help others with no expectations of payment or reward, magic happens. You take action in things you believe in with passion, excitement, and energy because otherwise, you wouldn’t do those things.

Indulge in service to others in a way which you do things with no expectations of anything in return.

There is no easier way to express joy, gratitude, and appreciation than the gesture to help others.

Ask around the office for volunteer opportunities. I’m sure a quick Google search of “volunteer opportunities near me” will provide ample results.

Find a cause you’re passionate about; a surfing charity, volunteer golf sponsor, offer advice in a field you are an expert in; anything along those lines.

Have Fun

Joy, much like love, comes from doing what you love and doing it with who you love most.

Meaningful connections with others engaged in the things you value most will make you happy.

Make the time for what you love. Give up some TV or other non-productive tasks for an investment in your personal joy.

Find a way to escape so deep into an activity so you achieve a “flow state”. Check out this TED talk on flow states. This is a deep state of focus achieved by athletes, authors, and many more. You become immersed in the moment without any thought towards any other aspect of life except what is happening right now.

What is your thing? What do you want to try or rediscover?

I write, meditate, practice yoga, mountain bike, hike, play golf, and spend time with loved ones to find my joy. How do you find yours?

Rediscover what brings you joy in life and enhances your life, you’ll be glad you did.

The Law of Attraction Strikes Again…

What is a coincidence?

I’m a firm believer in “The Law of Attraction”, and the idea that what you choose to think about is what you will become. This isn’t strictly positive thinking to help refrain from negativity, we all have that. With that said, I realized that I used to focus on things that were not constructive to the growth of my life. I needed to focus on things that I could control instead of complaining about my problems. I created my problems for myself.

Where I spent my time and who I spent it with was defining the person I was becoming. This wasn’t all bad, but much of my life was controlled by habits and routines that I couldn’t even explain. All I knew at the time is that change was necessary to make even the smallest of progress.

I want to share this story because for reasons which are inexplicable to me at the moment. People and ideas continue to come to me as I focus more and more attention on the problems, as well as potential ideas that I have in my life. I had a very unique experience over the weekend and I feel that sharing it may provide some value.

I’ll do my best to keep it brief.

My financial situation has been rather interesting since I left my job, moved to NC, and started a business as a Freelance Writer. Of course, I knew this transition would not be easy. I left a lucrative field in a thriving market to pursue a passion project… what in the hell was I thinking? The answer to that I’m still not sure, maybe I’ll go back soon…

Anyway – I sat at a local coffee shop running through my finances, debts, student loans, credit cards, etc… As someone who didn’t grow up wealthy, I’m sure you understand this is not a “fun” thing to do. It is necessary, however, in order to find ways to make the changes to improve my life. I made some phone calls, texted some friends, and decided that a Financial Advisor is a great option to help me with this decision.

But wait, what business does a Financial Advisor have with an in-debt 24-year-old college graduate? Not much…

I was fired up, ready to tackle the financial elephant of my life and take control. After finishing up my 2nd coffee and some work for the day, I headed to a driving range to clear my mind, hit some balls, and think about what I could do.

I happened to strike up a conversation with a guy on the range as I walked up, not unusual for me, but odd at first nonetheless. After a little small talk and some “closest to the pin” games, we talked business. Let’s call him Jim (his name wasn’t Jim).

Jim turns out to be a retired Financial Advisor who consulted for major organizations for over 25 years. Jim took a liking to me and since I had all of these major questions on my mind, I pitched him. A 30-second overview of my life, financial situation, and major life goals. I saw no value in holding back, who knows if I’ll see Jim again. Though I’m hopeful our paths will cross again.

The only way I can describe such an experience is divine timing. I trust that everything in life that happens to us happens for a reason. Today, I’m confident in saying that I have a goal plan to tackle my finances and focus on my business with a clear mind.

The poor decisions I have made and adversity I have faced have gotten me here today. I now realize the importance of seeing opportunity in adversity. Be mindful of your decisions, they will shape who you become, and there is a reason you are where you are today.

One Word Inspiration: Choice

Choice: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Our lives are compiled of conscious and subconscious choices which shape our existence. The one life we get is impacted by the choices we make, even more so as we enter our adult years. The choice to go to school, start a business, travel the world or whatever. These decisions will lead up to be the memories of our lives and who we end up becoming.

Who do I need to become to get all I want?

This question fascinated me. It enabled me to begin looking at my life from a big picture perspective. I made a choice to begin assessing my life. To think about what possible changes needed to be made for me to to get all I want out of my one life. What I desire out of my life. Who I want to become. What I want to accomplish. The associations I want to have. The impact I want to leave on others. The type of person I want to be known for. The skills I need to achieve my greatest desires.

These are choices. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year. The choices we make end up shaping a good portion of who we become.

Who are you becoming?

Our lives consist of habits as I learned in “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg. The beautiful thing about the human body and mind is our fascinating ability to change. To learn about our habits and disciplines. To apply the necessary changes to better shape the outcome of our life. How you decide to do this is up to you.

What are your habits? What are the choices you are making each day? Are you satisfied with them? Are you fulfilled on a daily basis? Are you maximizing your potential? Will you be satisfied with your life when it is all said and done?

We are faced with choices each and every day which makes up a majority of our lives. What do I wear today? Where should I stop for coffee? How am I going to get there? Should I take the train, bus or drive? This is why productive and successful people have disciplined habits and routines. They often wear the same clothes every day, eat the same breakfast, or wake up at the same time most days. You need to do what works best for your life. Be mindful of how the choices you make are impacting your life. If they are good, keep them up. If they are not, reassess how you can make small improvements in your daily life.

What choices am I making?

I will travel the world and write about my journey because it is the life I desire. A choice I will make to immerse myself in the world we live in and escape from the material world most of us are far too accustomed with. This is a difficult choice and requires a lot of planning, scheduling, organization, risk, and execution. I believe in my gut this choice will shape my future. I want to learn from life. There is no ‘right’ time make the choice you’ve been contemplating. We all say we want such a great life but rarely put the effort in to deserve it. I’ve lived the life of uncertainty while I was influenced by other people rather heavily. This is the change I want to share with you all. The ability to make conscious decisions to change your life through small disciplines, habits, and choices.

I’m in this unique stage in my life where I feel excited to be alive and grateful for another opportunity each day. This has enabled me to start thinking about investing in areas of my life that are of the utmost importance. Contributing more to society in a way which will help shape my future. I find joy in the little things each day. I relish in the opportunity to appreciate the people who serve me in my life and which I am fortunate to serve. I believe I’ve impacted some people in my life in a way has helped them change their life forever. For this, I am grateful.

We all make choices. Make sure you are making the right ones for you. For your life. For your purpose. Be yourself, and don’t settle for mediocrity.

Here is an article from Tim Ferriss that helped me to understand that regret is past tense decision making. We all have regret. Take control of yours today and don’t wait to make important decisions in your life.

Take action to get what you want!|Mel Robbins – “The 5 Second Rule”

Hello everyone – I need to share the insight I’ve gained from such an incredible book by Mel Robbins, “The 5 Second Rule”. I added it to my Audible library after it was recommended to me at a book publishing seminar where I was lucky to meet some truly inspirational people last weekend. I made a decision and showed up! I won’t get into too much detail, but I will summarize the book and my thoughts on how the book could help so many of you that have suffered as I have. Check out her site and page for more details. https://melrobbins.com/the-5-second-rule/

We are all the same in the sense that we only get one life and like many I’ve also experienced loads of stress, anxiety, fear, regret, and more – you get the picture. The concept is opposed to waiting, thinking and debating what could possibly go wrong or right with a decision, to count backward from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and go. Take action, physically move your body to take the decision from your subconscious mind to your prefrontal cortex. You begin the process of creating new habits that will indeed change your life whether you realize it or not. Listen to her book for more scientific research, evidence, testimonials, studies, and more around how applying this rule or ‘tool’ can and will benefit your life. What I found most interesting in her research and explanations was how a 5-second decision has been responsible for some of the greatest discoveries in the world. This includes businesses, ideas, products, services, books, relationships and so much more. The decision to talk to that girl at the bar or at the coffee shop. The decision to eat healthily or raise your hand with an idea in a business meeting. We’ve all been there. I’ve been the guy sitting there, palms sweating, heart racing, waiting to share my great idea or insight with the company. Only to wait until the meeting is over, tell a colleague that I had this idea and wished I said something, only to regret not speaking up. Life is about showing up and making decisions. Don’t let life control you, take control of the decisions you make and put yourself out there, you’ll be glad you did!

Also, I’d challenge you to attempt her 90-day challenge. 90 days of getting out of bed when your alarm goes off! No snooze, no waiting, no falling back to sleep, just get up and go move. I’d recommend using her tool to move your body first thing in the morning. Get the blood flowing through your body and mind, awaken your spirit and get ready to take charge of your day. As Jim Rohn famously said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” Research and studies have shown that the most productive hours of the day are the first three hours after you wake up. Make those hours count. Don’t waste them in bed, watching Netflix, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or worse, watching what all of the people you follow on Snapchat did the night before. This won’t help motivate you. This will provoke negative thoughts of jealousy, envy, regret, anxiety and more. Where you COULD have been or who you COULD have seen. Take control, make a decision, and most importantly SHOW UP!

Most importantly, this book has worked. I’ve met 5 CEO’s and Business Executives specifically at Starbucks in the last 3 days from the application of this, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ‘tool’. It has helped me engage in conversation with strangers while eliminating any doubt my mind might throw at me. When your heart starts racing, chest beating, palms sweating, that is the time to count down and leverage the excitement that is building opposed to letting your mind convince you otherwise. Follow the inspiration of life and when it feels right, don’t think, act. I’ve engaged woman way out of my league and had a date with someone incredible using this ‘tool’. Have you read or listening to her book yet? If you have I’d love to hear how it has helped you. As Tony Robbins said, “At any moment, the decision you make can change the course of your life FOREVER.” It is in the key moments of making decisions that your destiny is shaped. If you have even slightly struggled with decision making this book will dramatically benefit your personal life, career, relationships and more! So get out of your own head, follow your inspiration, your gut, and most importantly take MASSIVE ACTION!

Innovate Adapt or Die

InnovationYou want to change the world? Recognize the fact that innovation does not exist without the interaction of people. You want to inspire the world and surround yourself with leaders and create a way to approach them in a way that they cannot say no. Provide them the help they did not know was needed or existed. Is there a reason that our society is lopsided with 1% of people having the greatest wealth? Are they happy? Maybe they are, but to me, I find the inspiration in the journey towards personal success. It’s only when personal victories are met that we can begin to strive toward successful interdependence. If you want to be in a position to innovate, inspire and change the world then do it! Put words to your mission in life and begin establishing action items to fulfill your purpose… Two books that dramatically impacted my life are “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen Covey, and “How Successful People Think”, by John C. Maxwell. There were many crucial takeaways for me from these books, including how to understand and apply new information into my life. One, you CAN change your thinking. Big picture thinking is step number one. To conceptualize your life and define your vision is an absolute must but this does not come easy. The ability to do so will then lead to other ways to think differently, this includes focused thinking, creative thinking, reflective thinking, possibility thinking and more. The difficulty was in changing the way my brain thought about almost every aspect of my life. I had disciplines and habits that were deeply rooted from childhood. It was time to change these habits once and for all. I did this through continual and repeated testing and learning of each different mode of thinking to put these concepts into action. I will be doing this for the rest of my life intermittently or until I find true success and feel confident in my mission in life.

Incorporating the habits of effective people Stephen Covey describes changed my life, “Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first” being the first three. These habits, in particular, helped me evaluate what I valued most deeply. I learned how to focus on doing what is truly important over everything else. I would recommend clearly writing, revising and defining your personal mission/vision in life whenever you feel it in your gut that it is time to change. Write it down and speak from the heart when writing it. You may realize your time and effort each day may be spent towards actions that contribute little to your personal bottom line. Your success in the one life you have. These actions may be preventing you from taking yourself to the next level and to become better at what you’re already great at. Are you an artist? In real estate? An investor? A recruiter? Or maybe you’re a mountaineer. It does not matter. What matters is that you are in control of your life and that each and every decision you make reflects your character and how you are viewed by society. I’m not saying to act as others would expect, act in a way that truly reflects who you are and what makes you uniquely valuable in this world. This is not easy, but with discipline and a desire to change you can achieve great success. As Nicholas Sparks said, “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”

As I divulge into lifelong personal development, I understand this journey will be forever demanding. We all have a unique strength that when enhanced will change the world. To me, the greatest achievement in one’s life is to become increasingly more useful to the world. I strive to be the 1%. The 1% that never back down from a challenge to be the best at who they are. If you feel you need more direction and clarity to your vision, read “How Successful People Think”. Use this book to help promote personal growth and understanding of your own journey and path in life. I’d then recommend “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to expand your mind and apply the new ways of thinking about life. There is no such thing as coincidence. To me, it is merely a result of wise decisions over and over again.