What came to be my daily journaling habit was years in the making. Recently I came across an online journal from close to 10 years ago. Just one entry.
Before getting married, I took myself out of the booze-soaked 4am night club business in 1992. While trying to find the sweet spot of leveraging my crowd building skill in the real world I found the Creative Problem Solving Institute. (cpsiconference.org). Here I found people that thought like the creatives in my clubs, but were bringing cool ideas and energies into business. I produced CPSI’s events and ran with it until 9-11 happened and all conferences took a hit. I was back to searching. Getting married and raising 2 beautiful daughters found me drifting away from the passion of creating. I was gaining weight and eating poorly. Just making the paycheck happen and keeping my family moving forward.
Around 2008-09 events I can’t remember made the blinking yellow light glow brighter and I began to inch into eating better and a home-grown set of fitness activities. One day a friend asked me if I wanted to join him in going through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The lessons and the deep uncoverings of what was leading me “away from the page”, as Cameron puts it, resonated and I worked my way through all 12 lessons. One “must have”, in order to keep the lessons going, was the daily Morning Pages(MP). The instruction was: fill three pages first thing in the morning each day. It functioned as a brain dump. A sort of Zen emptying of the vessel so I had room to fill it with free flowing creative energy and turn out outward for all the world to see.
I went in with the intent to get back to my creative writing. Now more than 7 years later I came away with so much more. Do I write every day? Almost. Do I do it first thing in the morning? Maybe 50% of the time. What began as “Get what was in my head out” led to writing about all kinds of stuff. So much else pushed to the surface. Doubts, fears, confusions, upsets and joy. So I now journal to get to the leading edge of my clearly defined passion. Along the way the MP led me to focus enough on completing my first 5000 word short story with another in the works. I also completed about 2 dozen blog posts and started a newsletter to get them out. Most important, I have transformed my passion to help people grow through creativity into a consulting practice.
I started the MP full of fear that I was about to lose the path to my passion forever. Today, I eagerly ask, "Where to next?" To those reading, I say whether you have a definite aim and clear motivation for your journal and reflection experience, or you have a wish that something will happen, or maybe you just want more clarity – get to the page! Doing it each day cleared the path for me to only focus – and stay focused - on what was important.
By leading with deliberate creativity, Anthony Billoni currently creates results-oriented capacity-building, marketing and advocacy programs for Tobacco-Free Western New York at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Over the past 30 years, he has done the same for the Creative Education Foundation, Art On Wheels, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, The Park School of Buffalo and Young Audiences of WNY.
His passion is community-building, the arts, wellness, cultural heritage and volunteering. He is a faculty member of the Creative Problem Solving Institute and holds a masters degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State College. As a founding member and President of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Rotary Club he values service above self.