Holy cow, summer went by so quickly! I was lucky enough to spend a month of it down on the beautiful South Carolina coast, working on a beautiful show with beautiful people – and taking a trip or two to the beach when time allowed. The day after the show closed I flew out to California and made my second epic cross-country road trip of the year, hauling the rest of my worldly possessions out to NYC to make this crazy city my full-time home. During that trip I submitted a video audition for a staged reading of a new musical (and booked it, woot!) and took on another gig replacing a friend as the musical director/pianist/conductor for a fun musical revue up in the Catskills. There have been auditions and callbacks, coaching sessions and classes, apartment hunting and “survival” job searching. Whew! How was your summer?? Probably looked a bit like mine.

Being a professional performer is no joke. Submissions, auditions, meetings, classes, workshops, rehearsals, performances, job hunting, side job hunting, networking, marketing…wash, rinse, repeat. There are a lot of balls to juggle every day, and have you ever noticed how still and focused a great juggler is? She doesn’t chase the balls or run around underneath them! She is centered, intentional, in flow. As a woman running two businesses (my performing business and my coaching business) I rely on a daily personal practice that keeps my mindset healthy and my vibration high, so I can be a great juggler, mentally and energetically at the top of my game.

My Morning Trinity

These days my morning practice has three parts; it’s evolved over time and will probably continue to evolve, but right now here’s what works for me:

Oh, wait. First, make coffee. Three cups of half-caff. I really love having three cups in the morning. Two just seems incomplete, right? Anyway. Make coffee. Then.

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MEDITATION: Some people have a very strict definition of what meditation is; others are more liberal. Siddha Yoga guru Swami Muktananda, widely credited with bringing meditation to the Western world, used to say that meditation is simply whatever happens after you close your eyes.

For me, meditation serves two purposes: attaining inner stillness and silence so I can hear my soul’s quiet voice, and increasing my vibrational frequency so I can easily operate from a healthy mindset all day. Sometimes I meditate in silence; most often I prefer listening to guided meditations: Summer McStravick’s “Positive Flow” is a longtime favorite (get it free here or buy my favorite compilation, Flowdreaming for Lots of Money, A Great Job, and a Luxury Lifestyle and cycle through all of the meditations), as well as Abraham-Hicks’ Getting Into the Vortex Guided Meditations, now available as an app of all things! You can also try one for free here. There are lots of options out there, and I’m planning to release my own set of meditations later this year so stay tuned for that!

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MORNING PAGES: In April of 1997 started writing morning pages, and nearly twenty years later they’re the anchor of my morning practice. This tool, made famous in Julia Cameron’s classic book on creative recovery, The Artist’s Way, is simply three pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness writing. Cameron also calls it “brain drain” because that’s what you’re doing – just letting anything at all pour out of your head and onto the page, for three pages. It clears out the mental clutter and makes space for creative, proactive ideas to flow. Yes, there have been times when I’ve fallen away from the pages, but I’ve always come back after a few weeks because I simply can’t stand to have such a cluttered mind anymore!

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DAILY PLANNING: Y’all, I just love a paper planner. I just do. These days I keep a digital calendar (Google Calendar, synced to all my Apple devices) so I know where to go and when, and a paper planner so I can see my day in front of me and set up a structure for GSD (gettin’ shit done). I’ve tried all sorts of planners over the years from Franklin-Covey to plain notebook paper. I’m being mightily seduced by the LiveWell Planner by Inkwell Press and will most likely get me one of them pretty 2017 models…but these days I’m playing with the Bullet Journal format and I’ve created a daily planner page that works for me. At the top I quickly jot down three gratitudes and three desires. Below that I write out my day by appointments, and my to-do list.

When I’m done, it’s become my habit to send up a prayer or intention of some kind: Let me be of service today. Let me follow the call of my soul today. Let me be love today. 

My morning trinity takes about 45 minutes (aka 3 cups of coffee) total, and by no means do I do it perfectly every day, but even if I’m running low on time I create some condensed version or else my day just feels a bit off-kilter. When I was working a job that started at 7am, most days I’d forego the extra sleep and wake up at 5am in order to have this sacred time with myself. It’s that important. When I tend to myself this way I simply have better days. I’m less likely to get reactive or down on myself. I enjoy auditions – yes, even 8-bar chorus calls! I come up with new ideas. I get sh*t done. I feel centered, tuned in, turned on, in the flow.

How do you start your day? If you don’t have a practice, what’s one thing you’d like to try on for the next seven days? Set aside thirty minutes for yourself; if that feels impossible, set aside fifteen. If you already have a practice, ask yourself if there’s anything you’d like to add or do differently – if not, that’s fine. I’ve tried lots of combinations over the years and I like what I’ve got going on now, but I’m sure it’ll continue to evolve over time. Share what works for you, or what you want to try, here in the comments!

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2 Comments on Self-Care Must: Create A Morning Practice

  1. Erin
    September 8, 2016 at 10:49 am (1 year ago)

    Love it! My morning ritual: Coffee (half-caf), morning pages with or without optional daily tarot reading for myself, go for a trail run in the hills (which I’m about to do). Rock on and thank you Maggie!

    Reply
    • admin
      September 8, 2016 at 11:16 am (1 year ago)

      Ah yes, movement! Julia Cameron adds walking as a practice in her book, Walking In This World, and Regena Thomashauer is a huge advocate of dance breaks. A trail run sounds divine! Thanks for sharing, Erin!

      Reply

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