Monday #48: Personal Narrative



I am up and awake and going downstairs where I will begin to make my morning cup of tea (note to self: need to buy more milk later today)… the cicadas are buzzing and loud and I am wondering how hot it is going to be today. I open the backdoor to feel the morning temperature and I see one, red tomato on the spindly plant in my garden. The raised bed was a good idea but this place doesn’t get quite enough sun. I think I will eat this tenacious, little tomato later in my salad…

I was talking with a friend about how we try to begin a day on the right note and she was explaining to me the way she catalogs what she wants to happen in her day when she wakes up. She has a sentence that starts it off each day, almost like a meditation, before she makes her list: “In my amazing life I will…”  It reminded me of a preliminary credit report, those more positive-leaning lists of things we did do rather than an admonishment to our selves about what we didn’t do and I like the way this sets the stage for success at the onset of a day. Later, I had a conversation with a local rabbi’s wife who told me that she stops throughout her day and says a blessing to herself whenever something blessing-worthy occurs… a rainbow or a clap of thunder, for example. To me, this is a beautiful way of being present and grateful and I think keeps one focused on small but important things.

This all got me thinking about that voice in our head. The voice inside our heads gets a lot of air time. We are familiar with all the ways it can influence our behavior–being critical when we feel anxious or insecure, being encouraging when we feel brave and bold. But, what if sometimes it only played gentle narrator? I thought about how this type of voice might affect our days differently than the critic or the cheerleader and so I tried it this morning as I began my day.

Immediately, what I noticed is that it truly facilitates present moment awareness. When we actually take the time to think about what we do while we do it, we are instantly more present and more aware. And, being more aware lets us see the smaller blessings of our days, giving us more to fill our proverbial cup. A by-product of this type of awareness is a feeling of calm. Instead of letting our minds race to the next thing and the next thing on our agenda, we can exist more in the moment and this has a calming effect by virtue of simply stopping the mental to-do list from completely taking over our minds. Finally, narrating our day can be a constant, personal credit-report that allows us to see all the things we do and, in a world where we often first look to lack, this alternate view lets us look at our own abundance and really take in what doing kinds of creatures we really are.


I am posting today’s blog… it is my Monday ritual,  my weekly brain exercise, my public therapy session, my ongoing effort to live a life that attempts to inspire others and contribute to the world in a positive way…

TRY THIS WEEK: Let your narrator into your head.

About Dar Hosta James

I am an artist living in New Jersey. I write and illustrate children's books, paint, draw, blog, coach, teach and speak about creativity.
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4 Responses to Monday #48: Personal Narrative

  1. First day back to school vacation reality since we were away on family vacation last week. That means my husband is back to work, the construction workers are here working on our addition and I have to get creative in feeding the kids since I haven’t gone to the supermarket yet. Three friends are coming over soon to help in our shared garden in our yard. There’s lots of weeding to do as well as harvesting . . . maybe I won’t go food shopping after all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lovely Monday blog, Dar. I had my Monday semi-mapped out, until a phone call I received from my mother last night. I worried at first as it was a call that came a little later than normal. My worries were set aside when I found that all she wanted to know is if I wanted to go to lunch with her and a friend today. Of course I took her up on her offer. :). Rachel begins her theater camp today (of course she’s thrilled…it’s her “thing”), and my studio needs to be cleaned up so I can work on some projects I have in mind. My brain is also considering how I’d like my new classroom to look, and will begin its renovation next week. I’ve already taken care of the dogs, gone for a short walk, washed (but not yet ironed) two loads of clothes, emptied the dishwasher, and spruced up the kitchen, and made 2 necessary phone calls.. I do believe I’ve earned that lunch today. Enjoy your day everyone!

  2. New reader/follower here. I enjoyed your post!

  3. k kish says:

    Hi Dar,   I’m so glad you got the card. Thank you for my greeting back; I just opened it. My checking email has been pretty inconsistent recently.   Yet, another fabulous post…I’m really working on being fully present in the moment too. Thank you for the reminder.   I got my hands on the Kaizen Way. Thank you!!   Hope this finds you well. Look forward to meeting again soon.   XO    


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