My New Morning Ritual

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.

– Natalie Goldberg

I’ve finally figured out the rhythm for this project of mine. Did you notice a 10-day jump in time in between the last post and the one before that? This happened for a couple of reasons: 1. I don’t intend to blog about every entry, every day. (That would get tedious for both writer and reader.) 2. I dropped the ball… meaning, on quite a few days, I simply forgot to open my journal. Right after the morning alarm, the busyness of life would take over, and later at night I’d find myself drifting off to sleep berating myself. “Shit, Nancy! You forgot to read your damn journal again today.”

My 25-year-old journal. (Note the chic pastel floral design…ha! It looks more like great-grandma’s address book than a world traveller’s diary, but I honestly don’t think it looked as dorky 25 years ago.) Mark, my then-sort-of-on-a-break-boyfriend and now-husband, gave it to me on my 25th birthday.

But now I have a plan. (And it’s working!) I keep my journal right in the kitchen. First thing, everyday, over my morning caffeination session, I read the old entry. Next, I jot down my then-versus-now impressions in a brand new journal that I received as a belated birthday gift from my sister, Lory. I have been religious about it – I even brought my then-and-now journals with me on a girlfriends’ getaway this weekend and kept up my ritual despite plenty of distraction. Neither the non-stop cacophony and laughter of a dozen crazy women nor a mind-numbing hangover kept me from my plan. That’s dedication!

By the way, I love my new journal.
It’s simple and organic-looking with a single image of a beautiful leafless tree. (I love trees, as you might remember from the last post.) Interesting how the perfect object found its way to me at exactly the moment I needed it. My woo-woo friends insist that it was not really Lory, but in fact “The Universe” that sent this particular journal my way at just the right time. I’m trying to be open to the possible wisdom in this idea, but, you know, I do see an Indigo logo clearly stamped on the back cover of that book…  it seems my friends would have me believe that Indigo not only distributes books, stationery, and gifts, but now also offers consumers miraculous objects from The Universe. Hmmm. I’ll have to ponder that one. I guess anything’s possible …

My shiny new journal. Coincidentally, a 50th birthday gift.

My new journal. Coincidentally, a 50th birthday gift.

Either way, I’m really enjoying my new morning routine. What better way to start the day than with three of my favourite things: coffee, reading, and writing? The other cool bonus about this new ritual is that it has displaced my previous plan which was to exercise every morning. Ew. Ew. Ew.

One of the fun things I did in my old journals was to fill the inside front cover, in block print, with the names of every location visited. As you can see from my photo, I’ve already missed blogging about a good bit of my travels.

All the places you'll go...

Oh, the places you’ll go…

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading my entries these past weeks. I have been, and I definitely did plenty of reminiscing and ruminating on my own; that said, some friends who are reading along here have complained that they don’t know the exact locations of my travels back in 1990. So, to remedy the issue of these “gaps,” I’ll be occasionally posting catch-up lists that show where I went and when. My next post will be the first of these. Watch for it in a few days…

A last thought for you: if you’ve ever considered journalling every day, why not give it a try right now? I’ve only ever made a daily habit of it once in my life – while on my “big trip” – and I’m so grateful now to be able to look back on that time. Partly just for the fun of remembering it all, but also to learn from it. Two and a half decades later I’ve finally resurrected my journaling habit, and I’m surprised by how enjoyable it is.

In fact, as I was happily writing in my new journal this morning, I wondered to myself: Why did I ever stop?

Want to try keeping a journal, but think you have nothing to say or record? You are wrong! You don’t need to be on a trip like I was, or having an “adventure.” Once you start paying attention, you’ll realize that interesting things are happening around you all the time. Still unconvinced? Click here for a great article to give you some journalling inspiration.

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