Thursday, May 30, 2013

the morning question

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” 
― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

i'd like to open with a simple question: how do you spend your morning? no really, i want to know.

if you'll allow me, i'd like to go back about two years and tell you the typical start to my day:
open eyes angrily. roll over and immediately check the smartphone for the ten million INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT things that have occurred in the 8 hours i wasn't connected. scroll through the initial barrage of emails and check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr. feet finally hit the floor. go into the kitchen and immediately turn on the news to see the big headlines. pour a giant cup of coffee (with milk and TWO spoonfuls of sugar, thank you very much). stumble into the bathroom to jump in the shower, texting the boss as i go.

and BAM, just like that! i'm already at my mundane little day job...and i haven't even washed my face.

so now, let's paint a different picture. what if your morning was quiet and without disruption? what if you had a moment or two to begin your day with thanks? what if you acknowledged the incredible miracle of life that allows you to open your eyes and take your next breath? how would this impact your day?

for me, the morning practice carries incredible priority. over time, this routine has taken many forms that have changed and morphed and will continue to do so: i pray, i sit, i read, i stretch, i write. i can always sense an acute difference between the Morgan that is rushed out of bed and into her task (screaming and kicking the entire way), and the Morgan who begins the morning in quiet gratitude and meditative joy. i have come to cherish this time of day. it is here that i connect with the Divine, thus paving the way for peace, regardless of what circumstances may arise.

one particular exercise that i find useful is the "Morning Pages," taken from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. this exercise allows the very first part of the day to be spent writing, stream-of-consciousness, longhand. anything that pops into your head is acceptable, from "I need to get a gallon of milk," to "How will we afford the mortgage this month?" i find this form of journaling incredibly therapeutic, as it allows me to completely empty my brain of all the thoughts accumulated while sleeping. i am then able to move into my morning with literal peace of mind, which always puts one ahead of the game. i mean, seriously: how can you pray for someone else when you can't get your own crap out of your head? if you're interested in morning journaling and looking for a place to start, it's here.

don't get me wrong. there are many days when it doesn't go so smoothly for me, when my "ideal morning ritual time" gets cut short by some circumstance or another. most times i'm able to adapt somewhat successfully. but there are those days (typically once every couple of weeks) when i can't get past the world. when, for whatever reason or another, my brain starts yelling at me from moment one, and i can't get the train back on the tracks.

and those days are ok, too. we need the lows to fully appreciate the highs.

what i know for sure: my day can veer rapidly off course when i roll out of bed and am connected to my phone from moment one. this brings me to a goal i'm setting for the next week: no technology for at least the first hour that i'm awake. wish me luck!

so now i beg the question: how do you start your day? honesty is appreciated! if you have a morning practice you would like to share, please post any tips or recommendations below. if you don't have any sort of routine, but are willing to start with even 5 minutes each day, please share, too. whatever it is, i encourage you to talk and get it out there. transparency is the first step to healing and change!

i'm grateful for everyone out there reading this! thanks for the love.
xo, morgan

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

art for the bedroom

this week i've found myself on a creative jag. school out and no rehearsal? let the art commence! i wanted to create pieces for two spaces in my home: above my desk in the studio, and over the bed in our bedroom.

i began with blank 8x10 canvasses and some spare frames i got FOR FREE from my sister-in-law. didn't feel like mixing, so i picked up a couple of pre-made colors that matched the bedroom (Academy Acrylic, "Yellow Ochre" and "Burnt Sienna.") the only thing i knew was that i wanted to play with painter's tape and the freedom of splattering the color.

here's what i came up with for the bedroom:

here are all three pieces in their frames.

and here they are, hanging over our bed! i am so happy with the results.

i am working on the art for the studio. stay tuned for the results!

xo, morgan

Friday, May 24, 2013

the obligatory first entry.

"At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is still pounding in your head, all suddenly becomes quiet within you.
Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment you have the conviction that you contain all the power in the world. That you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precious moment in life than this, the white moment, and you will work hard for years just to taste it again.
- Yuri Vlasov

typical exchange for me recently:
me: "i'm thinking of starting a blog."
the other person: "what's it going to be about?"

stick with me, dear reader. we'll get there.
first, some history.

the past three years have been chock-full of life for me. after grad school, things kicked into overdrive. i was able to keep the ball in the air for ego was definitely having a great time. in truth, however, i was putting patches on a dam that was about to burst and flood my soul with the biggest reckoning i've faced so far.

almost two years ago, i experienced the tragic loss of a dear loved one. her death shook me to my core. this explosion to my little world was a force that was cataclysmic at the time. it was ugly in me; dark, and murky. painful. full of tears and anger and regret and guilt. inside (and on the bathroom floor), i screamed questions about everything: my faith, my relationships, my sanity. my work started to suffer. my husband didn't know me. we were broke. suddenly, i had fallen more deeply than ever before. i couldn't see out. some days, i didn't want to.  i had become comfortable in the muck.

in hindsight, the funniest part is that i was in deep denial about it all. it's like i was asleep.
Mistress Misery rode my back throughout the days, like a giant black leech of despair and grief, threatening to suck the life out of anyone who stood in her path. she became my new identity, melding almost seamlessly with the selfish, controlling, diva persona that my ego had spent the previous twenty-six years crafting.

then one day, in one holy instant,
i woke up to life.
and everything changed.

i've been told more than once that the third decade of a life is all about figuring it out.
well. i suddenly find myself at the tail-end of my twenties, really awake. maybe for the first time.
i'm looking backwards, forwards, and all around. i feel no closer to knowing who i am. i don't know if i ever will.

and this is strangely ok, because i think i'm finally starting to understand who i'm not. 
i'm not the ugly part of me that's been in so much pain. i'm not the part of me that inflicts pain on others.  i'm not my body. i'm not even the myriad of emotions i feel, or the vicious thoughts that often race through this brain. in fact, none of us are any of those things. that way madness lies.

for the past year, i have been in relentless and passionate pursuit of happiness. i'm eating well. i'm sleeping. i'm painting. i'm exercising. and i'm reading...voraciously. i'm putting together the puzzle pieces of this life to figure out what causes me to be filled to the brim with serenity and joy.

which leads us to this blog. what will it be? i have no clue.
what i can say for sure is that i find myself craving a vehicle to connect with others through words. a little cyber-corner of comfort; a place to ask the big questions, tickle the funny bone, inspire creativity, share art, nurture self-love...and who knows? maybe a DIY tutorial or two. ;)

so, here goes.
may the Force and Gods of the Blogosphere be with me!

xo, morgan