My morning ritual starts with waking up before the sun, brewing some Masala Chai, and opening my journal to a blank sheet. The pen flows and my book becomes a sacred placeholder for thoughts, feelings, and to dos. Starting the day by clearing my mind has always left me more refreshed and more serene. It’s a habit I stick to without interruption. No matter what’s transpired in the world or in life, thinking, feeling, and writing with pen and paper just…works. Morning journaling is a sacred, creative, cleansing act. And if you’ve never started, now is the time.
Four months ago this morning ritual got a rude but transformational interruption. My wife came downstairs at 5am and killed the flow by dropping a copy of the “Monk Manual” down on the kitchen table in front of me. It knocked my pen to the side and wrinkled the paper in my journal. “What the heck?!….”
Initially irritated, I picked it up and caressed the warm, soft vegan leather cover. Flipped through the thick ivory pages. Pulled out the three silken ribbons, letting them dangle. And said out loud, “Whoa…what is this? It’s awesome…”
It blew my mind. It had in it everything I’d been doing in my morning journal routine, but more too. More space for reflection, and more space for structured time management. More sensuality as a tactile, tangible thing. It was a beautiful thing to touch, and a totally functional tool to support thinking, feeling, and planning my time. It was perfect. It had a feel and a flow that fostered a real rhythm for thinking and dreaming, and also for getting things done. Gratitude lists and task lists — both. And at day’s end, there’s space for contemplating what went well and what could be improved. And there’s an airiness to it that makes it totally “ok” to skip a day, a section, or a week – without guilt of feeling like you’re missing out. It’s ok to be gentle with its process.
The Monk Manual has a flow and structure that’s both a relief, and that creates total blue sky, free-form thinking. It’s a place to structure your time, and a place to ruminate on things you’re grateful for.
And it’s beautiful. Made of vegan leather, with thick, bleed-proof ivory paper, a beautiful print job, several ribbons for bookmarks, and it comes in a highly tactile package that’s an unboxing experience to itself. In our world of screens and digital everything, the tactile qualities of this journal are so humanly pleasing. Just holding it gets you excited for the coming morning. Regardless of what’s going on, you’ll look forward to waking up early, getting your pen out, brewing your morning tea and…reflecting and planning your life.
The Monk Manual changed my life for the better. If you journal, I recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. I’m not making commissions, or anything like that. I just love this journal. So go ahead, and skip your “to do” list. Just do it.