In my previous post I describe taking up the practice of writing morning pages. This post follows up on my promise to describe what I am gaining from the process.
I didn't know what to expect when I began doing morning pages a few weeks ago. Having put in some time with this process, I've come to recognize and appreciate that I'm experiencing positive ripples in my life simply from the act of writing out 3 pages.
I also, at the same time, feel some resistance to lassoing the positive aspects into a linear construct. I'm afraid if I do so I will want to ensure that I am "achieving" these positive aspects each time I write out my 3 pages. It doesn't work that way. Each morning brings a fresh new beginning. Some days an insight I need to hear will land on the page. Other days it's quiet and free-flowing. Clarity and meaning may not put in an appearance.
For me it's about trusting the process. Write 3 pages in longhand upon awakening. Period. Everyone's experience is unique, and I believe the process works for what each individual needs on that particular day.
And so, although I "list" these benefits as such, keep in mind that these do not exist in separate fashion. The process of writing morning pages creates a momentum of sorts, with one positive aspect begetting another. It's hard to tell where one leaves off and the other one begins. Imagine a positive cascading domino effect.
- Mental Clearing - Corralling my disparate thoughts and feelings onto the page acknowledges them. They no longer tug at me, like a crying toddler pulling on her mother's pants leg. It puts them into a place and quiets them down. In short, it immediately gets them off my proverbial back so that I am not carrying them throughout my day. Once that mental junk quiets down, words from deeper inside have room to come up, if that is what is needed on that particular morning.
- Spend More Time in the Present
Julia Cameron insists that morning pages are her form of daily meditation. I tend to see them in a similar way for me. Traditional meditation practices aim to help us quiet our mind, to allow us to be fully present. Writing morning pages does bring me fully into the here and now, AND I discover that I spend more time in the present throughout my day. It's kind of odd to notice everything around me with greater awareness, like folding laundry and kind of enjoying it, which leads to the next benefit:
It only makes sense that as I acquire mental calmness, my focus improves. I'm working on my marketing plan and allow myself to immerse into it. I water my plants, paying attention to each one's pattern of growth, instead of rushing through this "chore." Frankly the best part of spending more time in the present, with one focus at a time, is that I feel far less stressed and harried because I am not flitting about, scattering my energies as much. I still multi-task from time to time, but catch myself at it, and deliberately choose whether or not it's necessary to continue in that fashion.
- Ability to Identify and Take the "Next Right Step"
The ego judges the content of morning pages as a discombobulation - a slapstick of puzzle pieces randomly thrown onto the floor. In that puzzle I might include items for a "to do" list, or big plans that I don't know how to make happen. And yet, in sifting through the "mess," I find the next right step usually makes itself known. The next right step is simply the next step of action that moves me forward. I make my appt. with a new CPA to talk about my business expansion. I build in a time of rest in the afternoon on a day when I don't feel good. I dedicate the first hour of my workday to marketing.
- I Feel More Connected to the Guidance Within Me and Around Me
What I notice the most is that writing morning pages helps me connect to my essential nature more quickly. There is the sense that guidance is all around me, if I take the time to pay attention. It's amazing what happens when I cut through my own bs.
From a practical standpoint, I find it easier to work with my guides, to make specific requests for help, because I have more clarity. Last week, on the way over to sign a lease on office space, I asked my guides aloud for help with finding a parttime administrative assistant. In meeting with the landlady, we were able to get names of people she uses in her own business. I met one of them and worked out a contractual agreement with her. I felt elated at the person, who was very experienced, and at the rate we agreed to. This all happened an hour after I asked for help.
I'm less than halfway through my 12-week commitment to writing morning pages. I have the feeling I will continue them after the 12 weeks end. Sometimes I may see obvious benefits. Other times I will just need to do it and to trust the process, even when it seems like nothing is happening. But as we all know - something is always happening.