How Making The Bed Every Morning Is Changing My Life!

First off, I guess I must confess that I rarely made my bed between sheet changes (sorry, Mom).

I spent a week at Cheerio Calligraphy Retreat in North Carolina almost 2 weeks ago. I went there to ‘make marks’ and have fun (which I did) but I came away with insights on so many levels it was almost overwhelming (in a good way!) thanks to the instruction (more like guidance) from Laurie Doctor and Steven Skaggs.

Recently I’d been feeling scattered and unproductive with my artwork. I found myself saying (to anyone who would listen) that I just don’t have time for my art. I believe I mentioned this in a prior post – that it began to ring false when I said the words. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time in the day to create, it was I wasn’t making the time! I wasn’t sure where the time would come from at first but I knew I had to do something.

Then along comes an opportunity to take a weekend workshop with Laurie Doctor with the Calligraphy Guild of Pittsburgh in October of 2013. I was somewhat familiar with Laurie’s work but had no idea then that it would lead me to Cheerio in 2015 and a new trajectory that I am trying to stay on!

Laurie’s basic mantra for the week was about creating the space (the time, the permission, the physical spot) in order to be a maker; a creator. We would eliminate all the distractions of the world (goodbye cell phones) and make a clearing “in the dense forest of our lives” (Clearing by Martha Postlewaite) to invite the muse in. We got tools ready so after we woke our bodies up with some physical exercises (nothing sweaty) we worked in silence for a bit. We all began to move with such intention in the room, it really did become a space of little distraction. I may go into details on the creative outcomes later, but I just needed to address some of the things I am trying to keep the ‘high’ I was on all week going. I know reality will call upon me with bills, work outside of the studio, etc. but I am determined to make my art part of the daily reality.

It occurred to me a bit ago when someone asks me what I do, I never really have an answer. Yes, I work in an attorney’s office, but I told really have a title. I go on to mention that “I do calligraphy” and if it doesn’t get a glazed over look, it takes time explaining what I might do (weddings?). But these answers to me always felt incomplete at best.

So, back to making the bed…

The first thing I did was set the intention of getting up early every morning. Set the alarm. Make the bed. This way I am closing the space on sleep (oh, my precious sleep) but it marks the beginning of opening the creative space I am so desperately craving. I put on some tea and head to my studio. I have been trying to re-create making a clearing just as we did at Cheerio. I hope to  reflect on some specific outcomes (keeping a regular journal/blog is one of my goals) but in general I have found that my outlook on the day has been so much better. I feel like I am starting my day with who I am and the rest of the day sort of follows in behind. I find myself actually excited about getting up in the morning knowing that the studio awaits! This is HUGE for me – since just passing by my studio would give me pangs of guilt.

Now that I am creating the mental space I can enter the physical space of my studio and create! This is step one. More steps are spinning in my head, but one at a time.

Here is Martha Postelwaite’s complete poem, Clearing, which I found so inspirational at Cheerio and have been returning to over and over in these past weeks.

On being a creator
On being a creator

Do not try to serve
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to the world
so worthy of rescue.

Until next time…Sally

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4 thoughts on “How Making The Bed Every Morning Is Changing My Life!

  1. Lots to glean from this. I need a better morning routine in my case, and hope to get in the swing of something a bit more structured. The blessing/curse of working at home is “Turn on my phone & go” as soon as I get out of bed. Sometimes I don’t hit the shower until the afternoon (eew), and that’s not always from being legitimately busy but from online distractions, too. Make yer bed!

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  2. Thanks for replying, Keith! I find this fascinating that this ‘creating space’ is really for anyone no matter your creative endeavor. I would do the same…wake up without an alarm (this of course is after kids were on their own), get ready for work ‘whenever’ and somewhere in the back of my mind say I’m going to create right after work or that evening. I thought the luxury of waking up without an alarm would be freeing. I thought real structure would hamper creativity but alas…the more structure I’ve given myself the happier I have been these last few weeks.

    Now…next time I might reflect on how I’ve been trying to move passed the blocks once I’m in the studio…things are working there, too, but I had to start some place. But I believe that if you really set an intention for your day (whatever it might be) and set aside that specific time for it, I think you will be amazed!

    If you wish – share. I’m thinking my blog could be a nice exchange of ideas…another ‘space’ I think I need to make!

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  3. Profound is the word that comes to mind. Not in the “save the world” sense, but in the “honor your unique self” sense. You can’t really honor it without making space for it.
    I found that on the days I get up early and walk with a friend and then come home and go directly to work on a quilt I am trying to finish are the days I feel best. I’ve accomplished something and enjoyed being in the “zone.” What a nice way to start the day!
    Keep blogging, Sally, please! They inspire me.

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  4. I think we do both! We do ‘save the world’ when we honor ourselves. Because when we honor ourselves, we are being a creative force rather than a destructive one – and I truly believe that has far reaching implications! I am happy that you have discovered that you need to make the space – and are doing so! Keep finding the zone! It also means so much that I know other creative-types are out there doing the same thing! Thanks for checking in, Pam, and I will try to continue. I think writing here is – at least for me – a way to focus on being a creator! And it is building a community (albeit a small one) that I am discovering is necessary (that might be next weeks topic!!). Peace, Sally.

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