I am up at 5:00am for Miracle Morning. This morning is my power hour which means it’s my time to work on whatever I choose. Through heavy eyes, all I can think is another group of ladies: See Jane Write Collective.
I rejoined the See Jane Write Collective last weekend after being away for a couple of years. In an effort to be stricter with the household budget, I left it with the intention of coming back once I got my house in better order. I have and even though it’s only been a week, I already noticed a difference.
Here’s where leaving me up to my own devices to just sit down and dedicate time to my writing projects fails me: I never follow a specific writing schedule!
I have had designated days where I posted here over the years and moments where inspiration hit but never a specific hour where I said here is the time. Here is the quiet space. Plant thy buttocks in a chair and don’t get up! I also have been part of groups where we made spotty efforts to convene but inevitably, life gets in the way one too many times and the world shuts down because of a public health nightmare.
So what does See Jane Write Collective have to do with any of this? Knowing I was going to be part of a group of women led by freelance writer Javacia Harris-Bowser with access to online courses, webinars, coaching, virtual write-in and critique sessions was incentive enough to believe I can create the writing schedule I have long aspired to.
Last night was our first write-in session. It was comforting to speak openly about what I planned to work on, hear the other women share their plans and get to work! The hour I spent profoundly changed a few pieces I have been working on and I actually loved the quiet. My habit is to embrace the chaos of sound while writing but last night I opened myself up to the community of women, silently pursuing our writing goals.
As Miracle Morning came to an end, I thought about how much writing I will get to do if I stop getting in my own way.
Writing is not only a part of my work but it is sacred time for me to commune with creativity. I look forward to more of that with the women of the See Jane Write Collective.
I am not going to pretend I feel normal. Tuesday has been going on for a few days. I purposely stayed away from current television and scrolling through social media to avoid hearing any election news. I watched Half and Half and Sex and the City so I could fool myself into believing it was 2004. Not that anything was perfect then but the country’s allegiance to the notion of white supremacy wasn’t so boldly proclaimed, at least not from the White House. I also didn’t have to wonder if I had a sticker supporting my candidate of choice on my bumper that there was a chance I could be boxed in by maniacs and screamed at by people claiming to be “Christians.”
Maybe there wore more people willing to wear the mask back then. Maybe I prefer the mask.
After avoiding incoming results, I went to bed but was only able to sleep for an hour. My restlessness continued until my wake up call for 5:00am Miracle Morning. I considered skipping but I am glad I didn’t.
We ended up listening to Amanda Maynard speak about mental wellness. She guided us through a powerful meditation but what really resonated with me was the group exercise. We were broken out randomly into groups. Each of us was tasked with stating our fear and then the rest of us were to suggest a solution to combat the fear.
One of the other women struggles with the same fear as I do: The fear of being seen. This may come as a surprise because I don’t have a problem with my work being seen. I separate Kristina from Kristina’s writing. I can press “Publish”, post a blog on a social media site or share my latest work or soon class with the people in my life. But constant networking? Going live? Though it’s not true, it feels inauthentic to me, as if I am pretending to be an outgoing bubbly person for the world.
As if I really believe all the world’s a stage. Since I truly want to be more engaged and have work coming I will be proud to share with the world, I need to be comfortable with being seen.
That whole breakout group revelation was before 6:00am. I logged out carrying hope with me and was finally able to sleep before starting work a couple hours later.
I am glad I got the little rest I did because it empowered me to be present for virtual self-care activities. My friend guided us through yoga class which eased the tension snaking up my back to my shoulders. I also facilitated a writing session with my co-workers I soon hope to repeat. We all showed up with our vulnerability and willingness to share of ourselves. I was honored and humbled to lead in this way.
I know “Tuesday” is far from over but I am leaning towards hope and acceptance. I am inspired to be ready to do my part, no matter the outcome, to be more of an empathetic leader and an agent for change in the world around me.
5:00am is not an hour I tend to ever see. It has been the hour I need to be up by for a long drive or when I have dragged myself to bed after passing out on the couch downstairs.
I am a night owl. I usually write or get ideas for writing at night. I have been known to pick up a novel at 1am when I can’t sleep or just in the mood to know what happens next. I like to discover new movies, shows or insightful interviews late night, too.
I am trying something new for the month of November. I joined the Miracle Morning challenge created by Amber Aziza. I will be rising right before 5am Monday-Friday to log into a Zoom call for an hour and listen to inspirational speeches, business advice, workout, write, journal or commune with an accountability group. It’s mission is to provide education and support while building a morning routine for women. The group definitely leans toward entrepreneurial women which is not really the category I fit neatly into but I found it doesn’t matter.
I think what matters is if you can answer this question with a resounding Yes: Are you a woman with goals?
I am a woman with goals who would like to see what it’s like (even if only ends up being for a month) to gather with women from across the globe to honor what’s best in ourselves. To put ourselves first–not a spouse, a child or anything else.
Our first call is complete and I already have had the pleasure of meeting my new group and learned 3 ways to think about a journaling practice.
One thing I loved was Amber’s emphasis on giving ourselves grace and space. I know I am not alone when I say I am hard on myself when I don’t show up the way I need to every single time. This morning practice, in addition to building routine, is supposed to be a place where forgiveness lives.
I may not be in love with a 4:45am wake up time but I can get with any program that allows for that kind of grace.
As part of a Facebook group I belong to (Weekly Parady), the next challenge for April is to not complain.
She issued this challenge yesterday.
I failed yesterday. Oh, and today.
The difference was the moment someone asked me not to, I noticed.
Not only in my speech but in my thoughts.
Pursuing writing and striving to make a difference with my wellness invites all sorts of doubts. Because there are no guarantees with either, my mind tends to wander toward a negative place when something doesn’t go my way or I run into a problem that I don’t understand.
I am looking forward to seeing how being more cognizant of the nature of my speech affects my thoughts and actions, if it leads to any major breakthroughs with my writing and my weight loss.
Hopefully, it’s not just for the remainder of this month. I want a lifetime of consciously deciding against complaining, no matter how many times I slip up and fall.
Tonight, during my writing group, my friend and talented poet Hope, brought a green pen. She explained that the legendary poet Pablo Neruda only wrote with green pens because green is the universal color for hope. She went on to talk about how he was deemed the people’s poet and how he wept when his fans recited his poetry back to him.
It could have been a combination of her delivery of the story and my excitement of being with my writing tribe, but my synapses were firing. What must that be like? To write so passionately that you inspire nations, millions? To value hope so much that you cling to its symbolic color?
I may never have the impact of a Neruda but I can have the passion and the love of the written word of a Kristina. I cannot control impact. I cannot control who chooses to support or love me in my quest to fully devote myself to a life as a writer.
But I can control what I choose to acknowledge. I acknowledge the moments I had tonight with a group of women listening intently, brewing up ideas of collaboration with one another, expressing support and validation of our ideas.
This is what I have to offer this evening. All of my other goals talk can wait for next Tuesday. I know I have workouts to do, water to drink, essays to write and a submission to send off.