from the bookshelves of educator and children's author
Barbara Jean Hicks
Writing "Morning Pages," an activity described in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, is by far the most impactful discipline I've ever practiced. The idea is to freewrite three pages, longhand, before you do anything else in the morning. Many of you have done or are still doing Morning Pages on a regular basis. It's an excellent way to get in touch with dreams and desires, and I've often used my pages to generate story ideas or work out story problems.
But they take me about forty minutes in the morning, and I don't always have mornings so leisurely I can afford forty minutes before I have to start the business of my day. On those days, my go-to book is a little volume with a big title: Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm & Focused All Day Long. Published in 2005 by New Harbinger Publications and authored by Jeffrey Brantley, M.D. and Wendy Millstine, this book provides short, simple exercises designed to help you "become more present, connect more fully, and enrich your life."
There is something sacred about being present in the moment--letting go of all regrets of the past and fears of the future, and simply being. It's not an easy thing. This little book helps me get there.
"Have you ever noticed how remarkable life is through a child's eyes? Everything is a wonder to be explored. Children often ask a hundred questions about the simplest and most complex things in everyday life. Imagine cultivating some of that wonder and amazement back into your consciousness. Life becomes full of questions, full of excitement and endless fascination.
"1. Take the next five minutes to fixate on something in your room or just outside your window.
2. Pretend that you are looking at it through a child's eyes.
3. Take notice of how a child might perceive what you're looking at.
4. Ask yourself very simple questions, like, 'What is that?' 'How did it get there?' 'What is it for?'
"When you can recapture your childhood innocence, you remember what is really important in life. You can recall the simple things. You awaken your deeply buried amazement, fascination, bewilderment, and amusement."
Practice being mindful in the morning. Let me know how it goes!