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Morning Pages

The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is something I call Morning Pages: three pages of longhand, morning writing about absolutely anything. They are to be written first thing in the morning, and shown to no one. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. I like to think of them as windshield wipers, […]


Clearing a Path: the magic of decluttering

With more time on our hands, we may find ourselves at home much more than we have ever been. Spending time in our homes, we notice the things we want to improve: the unfinished doorframe, the “junk drawer” in the kitchen that always seems to be jammed shut, the worn doormat that we’ve been meaning […]


Lowering the Stakes

All too often, when we think of writing a project, we think of writing the whole project, and we find ourselves daunted. “I’d like to write a novel,” we think, “but it’s so much work, and what if it doesn’t sell?” Thinking this way, we talk ourselves out of our creativity. We have set the […]


Using Our Time

It is all too easy to put undue pressure on ourselves and criticize how we use our time. We rush from this to that. We call ourselves “lazy” when we “waste time doing nothing.” We don’t have “enough” time or we have too much. We regret past uses of time— time spent worrying about things […]


Pain as Energy

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The truth is that turning our pain into energy for good can be one of the great assets of age. We can draw on stores of experience— and heal our wounds— as we work to create the life we want. Task: Pain as Energy Pain does use our energy, but we can consciously channel it […]


Honoring Our Stories

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Many people retire only to feel overwhelmed by their own space, a space they may have been blind to while they were distracted by the busy-ness of their work life. Sam, a Broadway actor, began working with the Memoir tool when he turned seventy. “I was still auditioning,” he says, “and still getting myself out […]


“Enough” Time

The hot, dry westerly winds are blowing through New Mexico. Along the highways, hundred-foot-high dust devils spin the hazy air. The heat creates an illusion: Time itself seems to be cooking in the hot summer air. Time is a primary concern in dealing with creative blocks. Most of us think, “If only I had more […]


Humility

When I am asked what is the biggest block to creativity, I find myself answering, “a lack of humility.” Dreams remain dreams, nothing more, when we insist on their being fulfilled instantly and perfectly. We measure ourselves against masters and we tell ourselves that we will never achieve our dreams. But masters began as beginners, […]


The Drought of Self-Doubt

It is important to remember, when we are suffering, that we are not alone. Every person experiences self-doubt at one time or another. In the throes of it, the prospects look dismal. We are in what feels like a drought, crawling forward, hoping for water, seeing nothing promising the horizon. If we give in to […]


Follow Your Bliss

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The late, great mythologist and teacher Joseph Campbell advised his students to “follow their bliss.” He told them to expect synchronicity, which he defined as “helping hands.” “Follow your bliss,” he taught, “and the Universe will open doors for you.” An octogenarian when he became famed as a teacher, he had decades of teaching experience […]