Write Your Way to Presence

This simple writing meditation allows you to get present whenever you have a few free moments. 

Get a notebook (or a few sheets of paper and a pen), set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and let your thoughts flow on the page. Allow yourself to become present on the page simply by observing what's going on for you in this moment. Feel free to write whatever comes up or use these questions to help guide you. Be specific and tell the truth. You don't have to show this writing to anyone else.

How does your body feel?

  • Is your neck tight?
  • Are you shoulders shrugged?
  • Is a small headache brewing?
  • Are you sore from yoga class?

What’s on your mind?

  • Are you thinking about the conversation you had recently with your sister/best friend/family acquaintance?
  • Are you writing out your grocery list?
  • Are you worried about work or something going on in your career?
  • Do you wish others could read your mind instead of figuring out how to say what you mean?

How’s your spirit?

  • Are you having fun and engaging in soul-fulfilling activities this week?
  • Do you feel connected to the universe?
  • Are you craving more synchronicity and magic? 
  • How have you expressed your soul desires recently?

For more tips and ideas, check out this article I wrote about bringing more mindfulness to your writing practice. 

Make Your Own Matcha Latte

Matcha is a great alternative for those who may be sensitive to coffee. If you’re not familiar, it’s a highly concentrated form of green tea that usually comes in powder form and a nutritional powerhouse, packed with antioxidants.

Just one cup of matcha carries the benefits of 10 cups of regular brewed green tea, but thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid, it both increases alpha-wave activity in the brain while simultaneously relaxing you. People refer to it as an “alert calm.”

Try it in the morning or as a gentle afternoon pick-me-up. If you are super sensitive to caffeine, you may want to start with a very small amount (like in this recipe) or simply skip it and stick to herbal teas.

Ingredients:
1/4 teaspoon matcha
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup coconut milk (or your favorite kind of milk)
1 tablespoon honey

Put all ingredients into a blender that can handle heat (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth.

Learn more: 
http://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea

http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328 

http://www.tching.com/2012/03/green-tea-helps-you-focus

https://www.matchaocha.com/matcha-recipes

Morning Practices to Spark Your Creative Energy

If you are as voracious as I am about maintaining a creative life, then you’ve probably heard a few stories about how other creative people structure their morning, their day, their life, etc. It seems like we are all searching for the perfect routine. We want to know how successful creatives stay focused and invite the muse in.

I like to say that I’ve got to create a life that nourishes my writing life. Athletes train for their events, and writers need to stay on top of their game too.  

Did you know that Simone de Beauvoir would start her day with tea around 10 a.m. and work until 1 p.m? Then she’d take lunch with friends and go back to work from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Ernest Hemingway would write every morning “as soon after first light as possible… and write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again,” according to a Paris Review article in 1958.

Ludwig van Beethoven made a strong cup of coffee each morning, counting out exactly 60 beans for his morning cup.

Georgia O’Keeffe would wake at dawn to sip her tea in bed, then take a morning walk around her New Mexico neighborhood. Then, she would get to her studio and start painting.

You can read more about many creative geniuses and their routines in the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.

One super important note from his book: most artists throughout history have kept a day job, so don’t use the excuse of time to let your creative dreams go. Toni Morrison developed the habit of writing at 5 a.m. because it was the only free time before her kids would wake up and she’d have to go to work.

Ok, so here’s a version of mine. Please know that it is always subject to change. Some days I get inspired and write first thing, other days I get up and catch an early yoga class.

7 a.m.- 8 a.m. Wake Up
Linger in bed and try to remember my dreams, say a short prayer of gratitude for a new day, look out the window and see nature, remember it’s all really a dream. Drink water. Switch my phone from airplane mode to on and check Instagram—I love seeing pictures and inspirational messages first thing in the morning. Check email. I keep trying to break this habit, but I’m just too damn curious.

8:15 a.m. Morning Pages
I like to capture my thoughts first thing in the morning alá Julia Cameron (who I studied with in NYC for a year). Learn more about MPs in an article I wrote for Omega Institute.

8:45 a.m. Stretch, Breath, Meditate.
I don’t have a formal practice, but try to stay quiet and let any feelings or thoughts come to the surface that might need some attention. I like to practice alternative nostril breathing to ground and create balance in my body.

9 a.m. Move it!
I tend to take a walk, go on a run, or do a workout video in my office. Big ups to: www.fitnessblender.com, www.toneitup.com, and www.doyouyoga.com.

9:30 a.m. Joy Party Breakfast
I make a smoothie, fry a duck egg, heat up leftover veggies, or if I’m super lucky eat a “breakfast cookie” and make a matcha latte. I try to make my breakfast with a joyful exuberance for the day, so I might play music and dance around, make jokes with my boyfriend and be super goofy, or listen to a podcast. 

10 a.m. Work, Work, Work, Work, Work
I like to start my day with one project that can be completed in the morning time. I’m super competitive (yes, even with myself), so I like to begin the day knowing I can soon check something off my list. It can be as small as an invoice or as large as a writing or researching a story that’s due that week. Many times, it’s tackling a few emails that need replies. I tend to write at least 2 or 3 to-dos for each day and try my best to make them happen.  

Have the Courage to Write Your Shitty First Draft

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.” 

~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I like to tell my clients that they just have to find an entry point into the story. You don’t have to know where it will lead, but you have to have the courage to set a timer and commit to writing for a little while. Twenty minutes always feels doable for me. Take a walk without an end destination. Let yourself be messy. Remember to love yourself up through the process. Forget every beautiful word you’ve ever read and allow your mind to wander through the Neverland of your own delight. Focus on that one image or story that you’d like to tell, and don’t worry about how you will get to the next one. Call in the human collective, when you need support. We are all trying to figure out this thing called life and know that all the flaws and typos and strange sentence structures can get worked out later. Give yourself permission to dance on that page to whatever song is flowing through you and don’t stop until the music pauses. 

Breakfast Cookies

Who doesn’t love an ooey gooey homemade cookie fresh out of the oven? But if you're like most people, cookies are probably a mostly-forbidden food and certainly not fit for breakfast. Until now.

This cookie recipe is made with teff, a teeny tiny grain that packs a powerful punch. It's gluten-free, high in iron, and according to Dr. Oz helps strengthen bones, reduce PMS symptoms, and can even help you lose weight. What?! What?!

Plus, having cookies for breakfast is FUN. Starting your day with a treat that's made from a supergrain, healthy fats, and a natural sweetener is great fuel for writing or any creative endeavor. Try them and let me know! 

Teff Almond Butter Cookies

I love making these cookies because they are so easy to make. If you are avoiding nuts, try it with sunflower seed butter. Best of all, I make them in my Vitamix.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups teff flower
  • 1 cup almond butter, creamy
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, (slightly heated so it’s liquid)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to the blender and mix until smooth. Gently take a small spoonful of the mixture and roll in into ball and then squash it onto a coconut-oiled cookie sheet. Add as many chocolate chips as you like to each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes. 

On Creative Abundance

Here's the scene. I've just turned off the light on my nightstand. I'm snuggled in bed thinking about my day and drifting off into dreamland. My mind is relaxed. I feel the ease of another day done.

Suddenly, the best idea ever enters my mind.

Maybe it's a title for an article, a book idea, or the menu for the perfect dinner party. Many times, I get out of bed and write myself a note. Sometimes, I repeat the idea three times in my head hoping I’ll remember it the next day. Other times, I just relish this little moment of creative wisdom. I don't sweat it. You know why? I believe in creative abundance.

Yes, just as we can call in more love, more money, or more aligned friendships, we can also call in more creativity. I’m not saying I don’t treat good ideas with reverence. In fact, I have lots of little word docs in my computer full of ideas and scraps of scribbled paper sitting near my desk. But I believe that if one good idea came to me another is not far away.

Here's the thing. If you keep filling your well, you don't have to worry. This concept comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a method of self-preservation and nurturing that fills you up so that you don’t feel depleted by your creative work. You can fill your inner reservoir with whatever pleases you. For me, it’s time noodling around a bookstore or herbal shop, baking, doing some form of movement, pulling tarot cards, playing in nature and spending time with creative people who inspire me either in-person or through their work.

Ultimately creative work is not about the idea; it’s about you. You can bring your unique perspective and voice to anything you write about. If you Google any topic that interests you right now, you’ll find hundreds of articles that all use different words, styles and voices to explain that topic to you. We all have channels connected to us. Your only job is to tap that channel when you need it.

Creative ideas also come to all of us in distinct ways. Your inspiration may make nightly visits in your dreams or it may be more elusive and require some coaxing. You may get a burst of inspiration in the shower or at a party. Creativity does not wait for you to be fully dressed, fully awake or even fully self-realized. Your only job is to hold a wide net and be willing to catch those creative ideas wherever and whenever they appear.


Clients often say to me that they worry someone will steal their idea or that they must write their book right now before someone else does. A good dose of fire under the ass never hurt a creative project, but believe in your creative abundance too. Believe in divine timing. It’s all unfolding just at the right time.

I have friend who I’ve talked with about how writing is just one expression of our creativity. I fully intend to be a painter or sculptor at some point in my creative life. When I’m baking muffins in the kitchen or shaking my hips on the dance floor, I am expressing my creative spirit. I don’t rely on one channel of my creativity to give me everything I need. I believe in the abundance. 

Getting Started

Keeping a blog as a writer can be challenging, because I tend to prioritize gigs that pay versus writing for fun. I am so blessed to do what I love, but many times I get caught up in deadlines and forget to feel gratitude for my work or even just stop and enjoy it all.

Can you relate?

How often do we put off the things we love for all the "should's" or "supposed to's" in our life? 

Well, today is the day to get started. It doesn't have to be pretty or even remotely close to perfect. It's better just to put something on this digital paper. 

If you're just finding me for the first time, here are are few articles I've written about writing:

Stoned Crow Press: Write About Butter

Omega Institute: Coffeeshop Creativity

Omega Institute: Bring More Mindfulness to Your Writing

And because I love homework (yes, I'm a weirdo), here's a small assignment for you:

Start a small writing project today, even if it's just the first sentence. Set a timer for 10 minutes and allow yourself to daydream on the page. Write about something you feel super excited or passionate about. Or try complaining about something bugging you, like how you hate doing laundry, getting stuck in a crowded subway or the state of the world. Say it in a way that is unique to you. And if you like what you come up with, post it below.