I love February because all the hearts come out. Everywhere I look, hearts hearts hearts. And it’s not because I’m married and have a “valentine” that I love the hearts. I’ve always loved hearts. And if you know me or follow me at all you know I see hearts everywhere I go. <3
For many years in college and after college, I remember that I didn’t have a “valentine” but I was always happy. Well, almost always happy. There was this one year in college when my friend and I declared each other our Valentines and made plans for our big night out together. I was very excited. I was planning to wear my red shoes with the little kitten heels… Oh, we had each other and that’s all that mattered. But then my friend got asked out at the last minute and Bam! No Date. I have to admit I was really bummed. I think mostly because she didn’t apologize. She just said, so and so asked me out so I have a date now. It was kinda like if a guy came along, naturally that’s the better choice. Well, I was feeling pretty let down but luckily I decided to reinvent my day. I didn’t have a big night out but I did end up watching tv with some friends and that was good enough for me. Honestly, that is the only sad memory I have of February 14th because I decided that day that I was gonna have fun loving myself up no matter what.
Valentine’s Day is not just for couples! And this year, let’s make it about loving ourselves first. How? Well, you may have some of your own ideas. One of my favorite little ways throughout the years in February is to sprinkle my days with love by treating myself to some heart cookies. Who doesn’t love a heart shaped cookie or candy or chocolate? This year I picked up some heart bowls at Williams Sonoma. These are ways I love myself externally. Fun! But more lasting is loving ourselves on the inside. I’ll tell you how.
Last month I decided I would commit to doing “morning pages” for 30 days. Do you know what morning pages are? I first learned of morning pages from one of my favorite books of all times, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I read this book about 13 years ago – GAME CHANGER ALERT!! If you haven’t read this book, this may be your act of self love, read the Artist’s Way. Anyhoo, I am going to tell you how I do my morning pages. It has evolved since when I did it 13 years ago. My son was a baby when I first began morning pages. I did not have any time to myself so I thought but I made a commitment to myself then and I did do morning pages for a long time. Mind you sometimes I had to scrawl out my pages in the bathroom because that was the only time I was alone.
Morning pages are ideally done in the morning but sometimes you don’t have time in the morning. No problem. Just do them when you have a chance. Do what? Get out some paper and start writing. An easy guide is 3 pages of notebook paper or 10 minutes… (If you have time and want to write more, do and if you’re short on time, write less) Grab a pen and go.
What to write about? Anything that comes to your mind. There is no right or wrong way to do morning pages. You are just letting your mind speak and this is why I chose morning pages as a way to express love to ourselves. When we express what’s in our minds, we are giving ourselves time and permission to speak and to be heard. Isn’t that beautiful? We give ourselves time to speak when we write and we also hear ourselves when we write. Oh, by the way, this is a process meant to be done long hand. Not by computer but handwritten. It allows us time to process what we are writing.
When I’m done writing, I usually just crumple up my papers and toss them unless there was something I wrote about that I wanted to save like when I wrote out what the first episode of my channel Luann’s Corner was going to be about in my morning pages. That was a fun surprise.
Here are a few guidelines:
Do keep your morning pages private. They are your conversations with yourself. Though I sometimes will share a portion of my pages. In fact I intend to send my friend Annie a portion of a page I wrote about her. Little nuggets, you know?
Don’t reread your morning pages. If you want to save them to reread later, read them later later to see your growth. I had intended to do this many years ago but when I got around to it, I didn’t want to revisit the past so I tossed them all. Felt good actually.
Do be gentle with yourself. #nojudgementzone No one else is reading your morning pages but you. Morning pages are a good place to release that annoyance you have with so and so… You’re human. Allow yourself to be. And sometimes it’s the perfect place to write about all the things you don’t want to tell other people. The papers can just go in the trash anyway when you’re done so release away!!!
I’m now past my 30 day commitment but I love this practice so much and I really feel the difference it’s making in my life so I intend to keep going…
I invite you to commit to journaling in February – a day, a week, a month or indefinitely… I affirm you will love spending time with yourself, letting yourself be yourself and celebrating YOU!
Happy Love Yourself Month!