Rituals & Routines are my theme words for 2011. They have been my touchstone for keeping me grounded during the valley days of fear & doubt. I've also found them very useful for lazy-can't-find-my-groove-motivation days. For all my love of spontaneity, it's the little routines that has helped facilitate my creativity & productivity. I thought I'll share a few of my little rituals to live & maintain a mindful, creative life over the next few weeks


This is my ideal view in the morning.

I make a coffee, make breakfast then I sit down to my little journal to do my morning pages.  I write whatever is in my head. A brain dump. At most I aim for three pages, otherwise I aim for a minimum of one page. I allow pauses for coffee & breakfast, but I don't start my work until this morning routine is done.


I still have to consciously put my morning routine into practice.  (It's called ideal cos hey! I'm not perfect - sometimes it's more brunch than breakfast...and don't get me started on weekends)Anyhoo...when I DO practice my morning routine, I've found that by carving out a little space (physically as well as mentally) to begin the day with a little quiet time, has been immensely grounding. As part of my spiritual practice, it means I touch base with God and begin my day with a quiet & connected spirit (from prayer & meditation). I find it helps combat the overwhelm monsters & fears. For my creative practice, all the brain dump & space, the settled mind & spiritual connection allows room for creativity and ideas to prosper. I've also found it great for maintaining momentum with motivation & flow. At first the writing felt impractical, my monkey-mind kept chattering with distraction. As I've done it more regularly, my mind has been able to dump all the negativity, the fears, the whingeing & I begin the day with more focus. Not to mention the basic health benefits of coffee AND breakfast! By treating this simple routine like a ritual has given it the priority in my mind to pursue the practice even on my not-so-good-mornings.

lessons to remember:

A routine helps your practice become a habit: having a daily routine, no matter how strange means you won't have to think too much about what you need to do next nor risk talking yourself out of it. Making it a ritual helps you talk yourself INTO doing it, especially when it's not a habit. It's extra special, important to you AND you get that special fuzzy feeling when you're done. Make it stupidly simple: All the elements are in place - so it's easy to do. The journal & the bible are sitting on the kitchen bench next to all the coffee/tea. I know I always make coffee - so there's no risk of forgetting. I just sit at the bar chair, pick up the pen, take a sip & start writing + I have a checklist I get to cross off when I'm done - so I get a reward in enjoying my coffee & breakfast + I get to cross something off my checklist!Be kind to thyself -- don't let this become another burden on you, or another reason for your monsters to use against your confidence and creativity. Make it easy to do, and don't set the bar ridiculously high. Just start with one thing.Just one! Sometimes I only write one page, sometimes I still feel flustered. As long as I've sat down to write & pray/meditate, even for only 10minutes, I get a tick in my checklist -- it's easy & kind to myself on the days when I need it most. xo brenda

what's your ideal morning routine?

Madison Whiteneck