This week I was having lunch with a colleague and I was telling her about how I write as part of my mediation practice and she was intrigued. We all get stuck in our own juices. We are worried, have anxiety, have too much or too little going on and we have to learn skills to dealing with this. We can’t let us make us freeze or get stuck. One of the best practices I know is an easy writing process that doesn’t take any longer than 10 minutes in the morning or evening.
What My Meditation Practice Looks Like
When I say I meditate people, I think, think I’m sitting down in lotus position with chanting in the background and incense burning. That isn’t exactly what it looks like around here. I do a lot of sitting meditation, but most often in a cozy chenille covered chair in my office. I do a lot of mediation practice that is more about being present then being zen like. One of those practices is writing.
My Mashup Writing Meditation Practice
I use two very famous sources for my writing practice: Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Both are CLASSIC, MUST READ books if you are wanting to boost your own creativity or build some self care into your day to day.
Julia Cameron was the person who invented Morning Pages. The idea is to write three long hand pages on letter size paper each morning, first thing. You just free write whatever is in your head. It may just end up a big laundry list of the same worries over and over, but you don’t stop until you have the three pages. You put those in a manilla envelope to never really look at again.
Natalie Goldberg invented Zen Writing as part of her meditation practice. She believes in keeping your hand writing and starting with simple prompts. Things like: “I remember”, “I believe”, or “When I was _____” and just write for 10 minutes even if it means writing “I have nothing to write about.”
The Jackie Wolven meditation writing method is a mashup. I use a Composition Book (because I love them) and I start by using a prompt like “I believe”, “I think” or “I have to” and I just write three pages. I might only write one paragraph with the prompt and then start writing an angry letter to my insurance company, or a reminder to myself of all the things I want to do. It doesn’t really matter. I just write until the pages are filled. It is incredibly cleansing and a great way to start the day.
A New Habit is Hard
A new habit IS hard, but if you want to add a writing practice into your day you just have to make time for it. It’s all about self discipline, which most of us struggle with on a day to day basis. We have such great intentions, but actually DOING the deed is kind of hard.
My advice is to take a calendar and put an x on every day that you do the writing exercise (we are talking 10 minutes). Try Jerry Seinfeld’s method of not breaking the chain. After about 30 days you should have it built in like brushing your teeth.
The thing about any mediation practice is that it is a cumulative effect. If you just do it every once in a while you aren’t going to see the benefits. So finding a way to add it to your daily schedule is important. That’s also why my 3 pages with a prompt make it so easy to stay focused and put it into my day.
When Could You Write?
You could write in the carpool lane, at lunch, in the morning, while you are making dinner, when you hide in the bathroom from your kids/spouse, at your desk before you open up your computer, on your commute – really there isn’t a set time or place to add this EASY meditation technique. See, no excuses!
xo – Jacqueline, who believes that everyday deserves a little self care.