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I Am Creating… Tonight’s Journal Writing Exercise

female hands with pen writing on notebook on grass outside

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

beautiful woman writer is inspired by nature

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
2. Beauty
3. Inspiration
4. Fun and adventure
5. Peace
6. A healthy and vibrant body and mind
7. Joy
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).

In Peace,
Debra

Deb3

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

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I Couldn’t Live Without…. Tonight’s Journal Writing Session

Girl at the park writes in her personal diary

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?

Let’s see…

I couldn’t live without:

1. Love
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
5. Music
6. A safe and beautiful neighborhood and home to live in.
7. Sunshine
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
15. Books
16. Animals (particularly my cat, Mew).

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Your turn, my friends. I hope your evening is as lovely as this one we are having right now in North Florida.

Happy writing!

In Peace,

Debra (and Mew)

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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

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Springtime Blessings

Beautiful spring nature scene with pink blooming tree

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)!

aimeeandmommy

Your turn, friends. Enjoy your writing and the many blessings that come with Springtime.

Cheers!

Debra

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” ~ Robin Williams

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Quieting Your Mind For Sleep, Part 2: Letting Go of Worry

Man Lying Awake in Bed

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.

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Sweet Dreams!

Worry is a misuse of imagination. ~ Dan Zadra

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Quieting Your Mind For Sleep, Part 1: Letting Go of Judgment

Young caucasian woman standing in art gallery front of  paintings

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!

Sleep, insomnia, night.

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.

thinkingwoman

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.

In Peace,
Debra

Bb calme et serein

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

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Five Prompts For Pen and Paper: a Midweek Spring Journal Writing Session

female hands with pen writing on notebook on grass outside

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?

Debbbie

As I sometimes do, I will write a bit of what my journal entries would look like, and then you go ahead…

Let’s, see:

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?

Gold heart falls into hot chocolate

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

white water rafting.

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.

Love,

Debra

woman meditating on the sea sun beach

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The Five Most Important Minutes of Your Day

Reading In Bed

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.

Young woman suffering from insomnia in the bed.

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.

Sweet Dreams!

Loving mature man and woman lying in bed

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake ~ Henry David Thoreau

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My Favorite Places To “Do Nothing”: Il Dolce Far Niente Part II

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Last post, we talked about the Italians’ practice of Il Dolce Far Niente or the sweetness of doing nothing. This is a lovely ritual that invites us to give ourselves permission to let go a bit (of the need to be doing) and to just be… yes, be. Just the idea of this makes me want to sigh a breath of relief and relax into whatever moment I find myself in!

Tonight I wish to share with you three of my favorite places to just “do nothing”.

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1. My back patio and duck pond which I can really enjoy now that my evening light is back (I love to write out here in the early evening before it is time to go in and cook dinner).

2. The beach, which I am fortunate to live just a few blocks away from…

jongen mediteert op het strand aan zee

3. The mountains of North Carolina

Montreat, NC

Montreat, NC

Where are your sweet spots? That is, the places you love to just “do nothing”?

Feel free to share with us!

In Peace,

Debra

Debwriting4

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Il Dolce Far Niente and a Good Night Sleep

Colazione italiana in splendido paesaggio della regione Marche

So, I have been doing a little armchair traveling lately and reading about Italy. Visiting Italy is definitely on the top of the old Bucket List. My husband is a DiPietro and it is time to see where he (his family comes from). A theme that gets my attention as I research the Italian way of life is something called:

Il Dolce Far Niente which in english translates to:

“The sweetness of doing nothing”.

What I have learned is that the spirit of this “doing nothing” is not about being a lazy sloth, but rather taking in the simple pleasures of life and not worrying about anything except the present moment. It is customary in Italy to take naps, or sit on a park bench with friends, or enjoy a coffee or glass of wine in the afternoon…

I love this idea of doing nothing but it is hard for me to do. The pressures and calling of being productive, my work, and other responsibilities keep me going, going, going…. I think this is true for many of us here in America where the 9-5 work day is the norm and for many of us we work more hours than that.

What if we gave ourselves permission to take a break, and “do nothing”?

woman meditating on the sea sun beach

What would that look and feel like for you? If you actually did it, how would that affect your life and sleep at night?

I invite you to get out your writing journals and dream just a bit. Consider, the sweetness of doing nothing. What would you do (or not do with this sweet window of time”?

For me, my journal entry would look something like this:

The Sweetness of doing nothing…

1. Sit on my back patio and enjoy watching the ducks on the pond and listening to the birds and neighbor’s laughter

2. Enjoying a coffee at a nearby Starbucks without my computer or phone…

pausa pranzo

3. Taking a nap.

4. Going for a leisurely walk either by myself or with my husband.

5. Going to a park, museum, or beach and just sitting and taking in my beautiful and peaceful surroundings.

Pregnant woman sitting on a bench warm weather

Your turn friends. Here’s to Il dolce far niente. To a sweet life and sleeping restfully at night. Cheers!

deb22

There is no wealth but life. ~ John Ruskin

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What I Am Excited About and What Brings Me Peace: Tonight’s Journal Writing Exercise

beautiful woman writer is inspired by nature

Tonight in your journals, I invite you to write about what is currently exciting you and also what brings you peace now in this time of your life.

Like all things in life, there needs to be a balance. We can’t be all excited or jazzed all the time for we would burn out. There are times that we need to come to earth and be grounded and centered in peace. It is also necessary to have energy and excitement to propel us forward to achieving the life of our dreams. This is a very fun and rewarding writing exercise. Ready?

If I were to begin my own entry it may look a bit like this:

What am I excited about?

1. My children growing up and figuring out their places in the world
2. An anniversary trip that my husband and I have planned later in the month to Virginia and Washington DC.
3. The Warm Milk Journal and my various writing projects
4. My day job as a social media specialist
5. Living in beautiful and sunny North Florida

Debra happy and carefree at St. Petersburg Beach, Florida

Debra happy and carefree at St. Petersburg Beach, Florida

What brings me peace:

1. Not trying to please everybody
2. Writing
3. Reading
4. The support I receive from my family, friends, and colleagues
5. Knowing I am doing the work I was intended to do. I have found my purpose!

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Your turn, Dear friends.

I wish you a day of living the life of your dreams and a restful night tonight and every night.

To wonderful you. Cheers!

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To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make. ~ Truman Capote

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