Today’s journal writing this Sunday is a simple one. I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and breathe, feeling thankful for this beautiful Day and this time to rest and renew. Before doing this exercise myself this morning, I went to youtube and watched and listened to MercyMe’s I Can Only Imagine video. This is such a beautiful and heartfelt song. Wynonna Judd did a beautiful version of this song too.
When you are ready, get out your journal and write: “I am imagining this today or right now I imagine”
Then get to writing.
My entry looked like this:
Right now I am imagining:
A peaceful world where everybody is fulfilling his or her dreams by day and sleeping restfully at night.
We are all loving and listening more
We all feel safe
My children are finding their way and learning some important lessons right now that will serve them well in the future.
My husband and I are living in a new and beautiful home where we have a beautiful office for me with a view to write in and there is plenty of workshop space for John to enjoy his woodworking. We are close to the beach and we are in a quiet neighborhood on a large lot with a mature canopy of trees surrounding us.
I wrote more, but I will stop for now so that you may begin. Have a blessed day!
There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. ~ G.K. Chesterton
These days, I am almost afraid to turn on a TV, look at the internet, or get my newspaper from the driveway in the morning… from Paris, Brussels, Orlando…. and many other news stories that we see each day, is it any wonder that many of us find ourselves with anxious minds at night when we most need to sleep? Our hearts are breaking for people around the world who are hurting right now. What can we do?
I know it is not possible to bury our heads in the sand. Besides, we wish to be engaged and present citizens. I won’t pretend like I have the answers but this is what is working for me:
1. I focus on the beauty around me.
2. I come from a place of love and gratitude as much as I can.
3. I take care of myself.
4. I pray.
A few questions for your journal writing tonight:
1. How is my community a place of love?
2. What did I do today to help someone else and what am I going to do tomorrow?
3. What made me smile today?
4. What are the three things in this life that I could positively not live without?
And now to close with a prayer:
May we as your children learn to love one another. May every child feel safe and loved. May we all live out our lives openly, freely, and joyfully because we are accepted for who we are and we know deep down that we are safe and perfect just as we are.
Thank you and
And she gathered the children of many races into her arms,
And said, “Hate dies here—be brothers and sisters.”
~ Harriet Monroe, “America,” in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, December 1918
Whatever we focus on is what we will experience in our lives at any given time. For example, as you were driving to work this morning, were you worrying about a deadline quickly approaching and feeling irritated with the traffic and the person driving in front of you who is driving the speed limit (the nerve)…
Or, as you were making your drive in you thought of how lucky you are to enjoy riding in comfort inside a vehicle which works and you have _______ (you fill in the blank) to look forward to today.
Whatever you happen to be doing or no matter what time of day it is for you right now, I invite you to take a break and get out your journal. Then simply ask yourself:
“What am I paying attention to right now”?
It is early evening as I write this. I have dinner (teriyaki chicken) baking in the oven. I am sitting outside on my back patio on a warm and beautiful North Florida evening. The squirrels have just discovered the extra fancy bird seed blend we filled in our bird feeders a short while ago…
What am I paying attention to?
1. I am feeling content. I had a productive day and feel refreshed from a long holiday weekend.
2. I am noticing the flowers in my garden that are thriving and the plants that are looking a little thirsty.
3. As I look into the sliding glass window of my home, I see my 18 year old daughter working hard on school work in the living room and my handy husband working on repainting a chest drawer in the living room. The two of them seem to be at peace with each other and there is a nice energy (I can see them talk from time to time).
4. My cat Mew is of course nearby. We don’t let him outside but if I am sitting out here, he is right on the other side of the glass door…
5. It is very still tonight.
6. I am calm and feel a lot of creative energy within me tonight.
I think I will continue this journal writing journey privately and give you the space to start your own.
I wish you a restful and beautiful night.
The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~ Norbet Platt
Our mission here at The Warm Milk Journal is to:
Live the life of our dreams by day and to sleep restfully at night.
You will find writing prompts and journal writing exercises here quite frequently because writing is a great activity to:
1. Help us to relax and unwind at the end of the day
2. Get centered and focused at the start of our day
3. Have fun with language and just see what creativity comes out of us
4. Record events and thoughts that are meaningful to us
5. To help us to stay focused on what is important
Tonight, I invite you to get out your journals and simply write at the top of the page: “I am creating…” – and just see what comes out. Remember not to think too hard on this or self edit once you begin to write. The idea is just to write.
I think I would like to do this one…
My entry may look like this:
I am creating…
1. Purpose for my life
4. Fun and adventure
6. A healthy and vibrant body and mind
8. A loving home
9. A loving life
10. Myself (each and every day).
Your turn, my friends. Cheers to you and all of the good that we have within us that wants to come out (journal writing is a great outlet for this- hint, hint).
I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener
Writing in our journals can help us dream and make dreams come true. It can create clarity where there once was only a blur of thoughts and circumstances…
Writing for ourselves is a pathway (like meditation) to really listen and be open to what our lives are truly about.
Tonight’s exercise is a simple one. Simply list down things that you could not live without. You may be affirmed on some things or surprised by what comes out. What you will find are components to life that are essential for you. Ready?
I couldn’t live without:
2. Writing and the ability to be creative
3. Good coffee, wine, and food
4. Spending time outdoors and being exposed to natural light and fresh air and the sounds of wildlife
6. A safe and beautiful neighborhood and home to live in.
8. Purposeful work
9. Good health
10. Supportive people including family, friends, and colleagues.
11. My faith and the knowledge that life is good…that things will work out.
12. Having an adventure to look forward to.
13. Exercising my body.
14. My freedom
16. Animals (particularly my cat, Mew).
Your turn, my friends. I hope your evening is as lovely as this one we are having right now in North Florida.
Debra (and Mew)
The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~ Norbet Platt
This is a wonderful time of year and I simply invite us to get out our journals and write a few things that we feel blessed with right now during this Spring season.
My entry may look something like this:
I am blessed with:
1. A beautiful home here in North Florida.
2. The weather is perfect right now: warm with slight cool breeze. All is green.
3. My family is healthy and happy.
4. We are safe and live in a quiet wonderful neighborhood.
5. I am surrounded by love.
6. I feel respected and valued.
7. I enjoy good coffee, wine, clean water, and food every day of my life.
8. I have a great gym, Bikram yoga studio, and numerous parks and the beach close by to walk on.
9. My daughter has decided to go to college (yes)!
10. My (18 year old) daughter is enjoying spending time with me and wants to talk with me (Yes. wow)!
Your turn, friends. Enjoy your writing and the many blessings that come with Springtime.
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” ~ Robin Williams
We are working on letting go of judgment to get a better night’s sleep. Now, let’s look at something that keeps many of us awake at night: worry.
Ugh. The thing that makes many an insomniac dread going to bed at night. There is no need to despair however. Worry can be conquered.
Here are some tips for you to tackle worry before bedtime:
1. Any worries, you may have, write them down (preferably earlier in the day).
2. Dale Carnegie suggests that we consider the absolute worst outcome (of something we are worrying about), imagine and feel what that would be like, then you only can go up from there.
3. In actuality, realize that 99% of what we worry about does not come true. Even when it does, it is seldom as bad as our minds had blown it out to be.
4. See if you can catch yourself when you begin worrying. I find it helpful to say to myself something simple like “cancel”, and then get present and find something to be thankful for in the now.
5. Take a walk if you are feeling anxious.
6. Spend time outdoors. There is something about fresh air and greenery around us that gets us grounded and feeling peaceful.
7. Instead of worrying, focus on your breath. Inhale to a count of ten. Exhale to a count of 10. Do this at least five times. You will feel much more calm.
Worry is a misuse of imagination. ~ Dan Zadra
My worst nights of insomnia usually involve an overly active mind. It might be anxiety but it also just might be thinking too much about all kinds of things… When I am in this state I just want to tell my brain to “shut up”! I have even briefly fantasized about getting a lobotomy (like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and the peace and relief that such a procedure would bring. Morbid, I know… but when one is awake in bed stuck with the monkey mind for company rather than enjoying a good night sleep, one tends to have these rather desperate thoughts. I know there are many of you who can relate!
I am happy to introduce a new series here at The Warm Milk Journal where we will be discussing quieting the mind in order to get a good night sleep.
Tonight, our first post in this series, we are going to talk about judgment. One of my favorite authors, Deepak Chopra, in his wise little book, Creating Affluence, takes us throught the A-to-Z Steps to a Richer life. On page 40, he focuses on the letter “J” which stand for judgment. He says that our “internal dialogue begins to quieten when we shed the burden of judgment”…
When we first hear of this idea of judgment, we might initially think of it in a negative way as in critical, gossipy, blaming type of thinking. Judgment in all its forms also includes anytime our minds attempt to label, describe, analyze, categorize, etc. I know I am guilty of this much of the time.
How often do you: label, categorize, or assign certain adjectives (good or bad) to a food you have eaten, a movie you have watched, an article you have read, a restaurant you are dining at, a concert you have attended, a person’s outfit you saw on TV or in your classroom?
We are (or most of us) are guilty of this type of judgment all of the time. On Facebook,Pandora, Youtube,and blog articles we are always evaluating a post or a song, video, or article… Thumbs up or Thumbs down? We can’t even go to an art gallery or attend our child’s school play without constantly evaluating or critiquing something.
I invite you to begin to observe how much you judge, evaluate, label, etc. If you can, keep a journal (I use my notes on my iPhone) and note whenever you catch yourself “judging”. Awareness is the first step. Once we become aware of a habit, we can work on changing our behavior. Just observe yourself…
I believe Dr. Chopra in that if we limit this habit of judging, our minds will be in a more quiet and peaceful state. What a gift that would be when it is bedtime, right? We can stop flying over the cuckoo’s nest and give the ole monkey mind a heave ho. Granted, it will take time. Peace of mind at night and falling asleep (and staying asleep) is a worthy endeavor, is it not?
I wish you a restful night of sleep tonight and every night.
And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
~ D.H. Lawrence
We are almost over the hump, but there are still a couple of more days until the weekend. How are you doing? How have you been sleeping? What is getting you excited during the day? Are you making big plans or taking care of the “little” things that just need to be taken care of? As we move through this week (can you believe it is April already)?, I offer these writing prompts for your journal writing time as you wind town tonight…
1. What was the most beautiful thing that you saw and/or experienced today?
2. What area in your life could use a little tidying up?
3. Dark chocolate or Milk chocolate and why?
4. Who do you love the most?
5. What are three things you must do before you die?
As I sometimes do, I will write a bit of what my journal entries would look like, and then you go ahead…
What was the most beautiful thing that I saw and/or experienced today?
The look on my daughter’s face when she saw that she can go to the college of her dreams today… it just takes a little organizing and planning (and then the hug I got for helping her – priceless).
What area in my life could use a little tidying up?
My books! I love my books and they are everywhere. Until we have a larger home and I have my dream library, I must go through and thin out my collection (once again)…
Dark chocolate or Milk chocolate and why?
Milk chocolate… sweet milky lush smoothness on my tongue…
Who do I love the most?
My husband, kids, cats, parents, brother and sister and law, God
What are three things I must do before I die?
1. Spend at least two weeks in Italy
2. Return to my beloved Oahu, my childhood home
3. Go down a Colorado river in a whitewater raft
Your turn, my friends. I think you will enjoy this one. It is important that we allow ourselves a little down time and this kind of journal writing can get us relaxed and inspired and connected with what is important in a matter of minutes. This is the stuff of living the life of our dreams and getting a restful night of sleep at night.
I wish you peace, happiness, and sweet dreams tonight.
In order to live the lives of our dreams by day and sleep restfully at night, it is important to begin and end our days well. This post will address that special little window of time right before we turn out the light and drift off to sleep.
You feel sleepy. Your consciousness is slipping into that subconscious state… what are you thinking about and how are you feeling? We can choose to feel stress, worry, anger, fear, or some other negative state. Or, we can do something better – we can focus on the blessings we enjoyed today and the things we are looking forward to about the next day. What sounds better to you?
One of my favorite authors, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about this window of time in his book, Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering The Art of Manifesting. He suggests that the last five minutes of our day before we go to sleep are the most important ones because that is when we are “programming” our subconscious mind as we prepare for sleep. We spend one third of our lives asleep and Dr. Dyer says that when we are asleep we are receiving instructions on how to live the other two thirds of our lives.
It’s our choice how we want to spend these last few minutes. I have learned from personal experience that feeling angry at my spouse, upset about the day’s events, worry about the bills or something else that my mind conjures up to fret about does not set me up for a peaceful and restful night of sleep. I often will have disturbing dreams and not wake up well rested. Then I start off the next day grumpy and it is not a good path to be on.
Like anything worthwhile in life, good habits need effort and consistency. Once they take root we have them.
To cultivate the habit of programming our soon to be unconscious mind for the life of our dreams, I recommend a few things:
1. Have a writing journal on your night stand and write a few blessings down on an ever growing gratitude list.
2. Write or read a prayer, poetry, or anything that is spiritually uplifting that gives you a sense of peace.
3. Take this time to write “I Am” affirmations about anything you wish to manifest in your life. Dr. Dyer suggests this and he stresses the importance of feeling as if you have the __________ already.
4. If you have kids and/or pets tell them that you love them. Give them hugs and kisses.
5. If you have a spouse or partner, look them in the eye and tell them something that you appreciate about them. Share something with them about your life together that you are excited about.
These are just a few ideas and you are welcome to add (and share with us) your own. Here we are in 2016 and yet in many ways sleep remains quite mysterious. We know a lot of brain activity goes on while we sleep. I don’t know about you, but I would like to have the odds weigh in my favor that this mental activity is percolating and manifesting good things for my life, the ones I love, and for the world.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake ~ Henry David Thoreau