The Therapy Booth

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My Miracle Morning (s)

Hello! In this post I will be telling you about my experiences with exercises from a book called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guarantee to Transform Your Life (Before 8am) by Hal Elrod.

During an extremely challenging period of his life, Hal decided to learn the habits of the most successful people around. He created The Miracle Morning routine by combining the six most commonly used habits he came across. Turns out they are congruent with a lot of things that happen around The Therapy Booth, but I wasn’t doing them all in one sitting.

123 days ago, I started taking Hal’s advice. Here’s a look at Hal Elrod’s six “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” and my first four months of using them:

December 31, 2017, I woke up in the morning sluggish and dragging, but I knew I had to get up and get going. I was about to clean a house where I’d been house sitting and move to a new location.

I went to YouTube looking for a certain book on audio to keep me company while I cleaned up and moved. The book I sought wasn’t available, but in a moment I can only describe as grace, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod popped up in the YouTube suggestions. (* Note: I just checked, and the book is no longer available on YouTube, but my library has both the audio and hard copy available to borrow, and yours probably does too. *)

I’d been struggling in the mornings. Not wanting to wake up. Feeling simultaneously overwhelmed by life’s circumstances and, at the same time, rudderless. I saw the book title and thought it was worth a go. I knew I could use a helpful shift.

Hal’s conversation resonated with me. He laid out the following activities with compelling arguments for doing all of them, first thing, each day. I’ll share with you here how I do my “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” as Hal Elrod calls them.

Before I introduce the S.A.V.E.R.S., a note:

Unlike many in The Miracle Morning on-line community on Facebook (about 150,000 members and highly recommended), I do not set my alarm for 5 a.m. and get up in the dark. I sleep until I wake up. It varies each day. If I do have something specific to be up for, I’ll set my alarm early so I can do my Miracle Morning routine. But as my schedule is my own, I have stayed with my natural rhythms. This is neither advocating for or against that, I just don’t want to misrepresent as an early bird, as that has not happened as of this writing.

Now, here are the steps that Hal lays out in The Miracle Morning that I have been following for 123 days, with great benefit:

S is for SCRIBE
In my Miracle Morning:
I have been a loyal writer of Morning Pages for many years, maybe ten.

Prior to beginning TMM, I was writing Morning Pages most days. For a year or so, I have also been including a “visioning page” in which I write the day as if it’s already happened, enthusiastically imagining how well things went. Then I make a simple doodle of how I’d like the day to go and write a short list of what I’m grateful for in the present moment. That routine takes me about 40 minutes. I’m sure the folks doing TMM aren’t all doing this level of journaling. You could use this time to write your plans for the day, hopes and fears, gratitude, whatever you like.

A is for AFFIRMATIONS
In my Miracle Morning:
I’ve been having a really sweet time with this one since I started doing them while looking in the mirror. I’ve been doing mirror work for a handful of years, and I know from experience that looking myself in the eyes in the mirror and saying kind and genuinely supportive things has a surprisingly infinite return value. It’s hard to explain, but I do recommend it. There are some subtleties to mirror work, and once you work out the kinks, it’s a gorgeous practice.

Nowadays I usually stop and talk with myself in the mirror right after I brush my teeth, kicking of TMM with love and sweetness. Examples: I love you, Carin; life loves me; you’re doing so great; I’m so proud of you; I know you’re feeling concerned about ________; and you’re doing so great, and I’m here with you; you’re doing great; I love you, Carin, so much. This morning I noticed I was feeling tense, and I relaxed and said, There’s always time to breathe. A good note on which to start the day. You can say affirmations however and about whatever you like. The key is just that you believe what you’re saying to yourself. Otherwise, it’s like you’re driving with the breaks on.

This section lasts me 2 – 3 minutes. Or more or less. It’s more just that I do it long enough to feel the benefit.

V is for VISUALIZATION
In my Miracle Morning:
This has been a surprisingly fun section for me. Like affirmations, genuine visualization is a muscle and there are subtleties to it. I’m having a great time daydreaming — something I’ve done since I was a little girl — and lining my body and mind up with what I’m dreaming of. I’ve learned to relax into super simple visions if I’m uptight and can’t get into a complex fantasy. I’ve learned to notice when I’m not really feeling it and shifting over to something that comes more naturally. The longer I visualize, the more wild and fun my fantasies become. I love to open myself up and relax and see what comes. In one of my favorite spontaneous moments, just before my little timer went off, I was dreaming that I was giving meditation sessions (resting sessions) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Patti Smith had come; and when my timer went off, Patti and I were just talking about getting together at a coffee shop to do a little writing. OMG drool. I’m into it. πŸ™‚ I visualize for up to 10 minutes, averaging about seven minutes daily.

E is for EXERCISE
In my Miracle Morning: Oh Hallelujah. I needed this.
A lot of times in my Morning Pages, especially leading up to starting TMM, I’d write that I needed to/should/even wanted to exercise and meditate, but I wouldn’t do it. Thanks now to The Miracle Morning, I’m doing all three! I do any of a vast variety of things for exercise. Today I only did about five minutes, but I did 100 sit ups! Many days, I move along with power walking videos on YouTube, or I put on a Dead and Company show and dance for 10 – 15 minutes.

Lots of times I take a walk. I was sick recently, and on the first few days, I just did legs-up-the-wall yoga pose. It felt great and was good for my immune system and counts as exercise, yes indeed. I’ve learned over the years that consistency beats quantity in establishing and keeping to a habit. Being flexible but consistent on the exercise has been super beneficial. I’ve definitely lost a few pounds and feel more confident, in general.

R is for READING
In my Miracle Morning:
This is a section I can say definitely wouldn’t have been happening without TMM. This s the section in which we read — for a few minutes each morning — something inspiring or in the realm of personal development. It so happened that I’d checked out such a book from the library right before I started TMM

. I can tell you with certainty that I would not have read past the first chapter of that book had I not had time set aside for it each day. I read the whole thing (Ask for It by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever) and have even found it coming in handy already, as, for example, I just sold my car and negotiated for more than I was offered. That was a pretty good win, I’d say, considering I’m still new at this sort of stuff.

I’m currently reading Walking in This World by Julia Cameron, and I feel so grateful each day when I get to read a little and do some of the exercises. Also, reading has led me to listening to more audio books, and I’ve listened to several lately that have been making a difference for me. I’m a stickler for reading with my eyes, so even if I listen to an audiobook, I still do my R section of the S.A.V.E.R.S. on paper (or on occasion, Kindle). Many people listen to audiobooks while doing their exercise. I read for 5 – 20 minutes.

S is for SILENCE
In my Miracle Morning:
I couldn’t be more thankful for a daily assignment than this! Anywhere from a few minutes up to a half hour, or more if I’m doing inquiry, I get this gift every day. And I get to radiate it into the world. There are few things that I feel more confident in than resting the mind. I wrote about it for a year straight and continue to throw that hashtag around on the regular.

Even one or two quiet moments are doorways to infinity. If something’s really picking at me, I take my time and self-facilitate Living Inquiries; a better use of my time, I do not know. Maybe playing music, or maybe it’s a tie. Either way, the gift is in the pause. As with each of these S.A.V.E.R.S. — the gift is the pattern interrupt, indeed a new-pattern-created, that is fully supportive of our individual well-being so that we may show up in the world fully ourselves and bring our gifts.

I could talk lots more about this topic, so if you have questions or would like clarification, make a comment! Also, as above, I recommend The Miracle Morning Community Facebook group! It’s one of the most genuinely positive spaces I’ve seen on Facebook, and I get lots of inspiration there.

Let me know if you decide to give it a try! It’s like creating your own Therapy Booth around you to take with you throughout the day. Awe yeah.

 

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Free Expression, Part 1: Morning Pages

β€œDon’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

― Franz Kafka

I facilitated an inquiry session today with a friend who was looking for what she named the misogynistic control paradigm. It was unfindable, as it turned out, but the topic remains of interest to me. My friend was talking about this subtle self-defeating language that we use, culturally, to make excuses or apologies for our present state, our loves, our longings, our snackings . . . She said, “[It’s like] we’re obliged to deny ourselves certain things.”

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about my passion for telling things exactly as they are – or exactly as they occur, right now, fully, one hundred percent, and completely unapologetically.

Then I realized I have so much to say on this topic and so many different ways that I celebrate as paths to full expression, that this would have to come as a series. Here’s the first entry.

I read the Kafka quote above on Facebook today and swooned. I have already loved his quotes for this reason and that, and, as a writer and a budding artist, these words are like sweet, sweet balm. They are the opposite of that self-defeating language my friend was pointing to today.

In the following posts, I’ll be sharing about the different venues I have – THANK GOD – for pouring out my natural, unapologetic unedited expression.

Let’s start now with the beloved Morning Pages.

Made famous by Julia Cameron in her creativity guide, The Artist’s Way, Morning Pages are simple: three handwritten pages of anything. They are uncensored, and, in fact, are a training against self-censorship. Julia writes that we usually start telling the truth around the page-and-a-half mark. I’ve been writing MPs for several years, and I’d say I’ve learned to jump right into that unleashed honesty, at least there on the sacred page. These pages are not shown to anyone ever, and, Julia recommends that we don’t read the Morning Pages, at least for two months after they’re written.

This writing is not meant to be good. It’s not meant to be something that you’ll publish. But, if you are a writer, you can enjoy the practice of flexing the muscle. Natalie Goldberg, in recommending at least twenty minutes of timed writing daily, suggests that this practice keeps us warm and healthy, so that when some official writing (whatever that is) is ready to come through, we’ve stretched and limbered up.

But Morning Pages and other timed writing exercises are NOT just for writers. In fact, Julia Cameron says that sometimes they’re harder for writers since we try to write well. Lucky for me, I don’t have that problem with my MPs. And you should see the madness that hits those pages!

Which brings me back home to the Kafka quote (“don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical”). Is it, in fact, madness, when it’s simply pouring through my heart, out my fingers, onto the page?

The first time I wrote Morning Pages, I started them with the hopes that they would affect my writing in a positive way. I got a huge surprise: I found my singing and music-playing transformed. As if through hypnosis or sneaking in through the back door, somehow I was singing in a voice I didn’t recognize. It was clearer, more honest, more warmly toned. I was like a sponge learning new songs and couldn’t wait to play them for friends who came to visit. I gave full credit to the MPs. This shift started about three months of writing them every day.

I don’t always do them first thing in the morning. Before bed is a nice time to do the clearing as well. Either way, or sometime in the middle of the day, I almost always experience a sense of relief and gratitude for the movement of the pen on the page. I’ve found the perfect kind of notebook and perfect style of pen for me, and I invite you to do the same. And, on those days when there isn’t relief, I’m still grateful to the pages for receiving my longing, my fears, my delight, my swooning love, my begging for mercy and relief, my dreamy contemplations and prayers for comfort, support and help.

Morning Pages have given me a jumping off point for this whole world of Telling It, and we’ll get to more venues soon.

Meanwhile, I invite you into your own private space where nothing but nothing is rejected. Be angry, be lustful, be dreamy, bored, desirous, delirious. Just get it out on the page.

And then see what happens.

Love,

Carin

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