Writing morning pages each day is akin to taking a vitamin for my inner soul. Author, Julia Cameron, in Finding Water- The Art of Perseverance, says that "morning pages are like a spiritual chiropractor. They put us back on our spiritual spine." Finding Water is Cameron's third in a series that began with the well -known Artist's Way.
My daughter gave me Finding Water at Christmas, since I'm a huge fan of Julia Cameron. As the new year began, I felt drawn to adding a new spiritual practice into my daily life. As of this writing, I've completed week 5 of a 12-week commitment to morning pages that began on Jan. 21 of this year. The first time I made and completed a commitment to morning pages was 12 years ago, when I left a 20 year career and went on sabbatical.
I've noticed some subtle, positive aspects show up in my life, which I'll note below. But first, why morning pages, and what's the rationale behind them?
Upon awakening, (and after a quick run to the bathroom), I sit up in bed, purple ink pen in hand, and write in longhand 3 pages of stream of consciousness in a 10.5" by 8" notebook. Cameron explains that morning pages, done upon awakening, allow our soul to speak first, to align with our Creator, before our defenses are in place. It's a time when we are most open, honest, and vulnerable. It's also a time when we can whine, bitch, and list our gripes. For that reason, Cameron dubs these morning pages "brain drain."
By the way, the beauty of doing morning pages is that you can't do them wrong. It's best done by keeping your pen moving, without pausing to "think" (judge) about what you're writing. There's no end result, or anything to achieve, outside of writing the 3 pages. You can repeat yourself, write in incomplete sentences, use poor grammar, and misspell words. Best of all, your morning pages are for your eyes only.
I noticed, during the first week of writing morning pages, that I wrote fast and furiously. I had so much junk and minutia swimming in my head, that it just poured out and ran over. I completed 3 pages of longhand within 15 minutes that first week! I literally felt a sense of physical lightness. Apparently I had a lot of mental bush hogging to perform. Clearing space for future inner messages to be heard.
Here's an excerpt from my 2nd day of writing morning pages:
"Oh my, I am so tired. Why did I ever eat those blue cheese chips last night? My stomach still feels awful from them. I need a nap, oh me, oh my. I just want to go back to sleep . . ."
In the beginning I tended to focus on my physical state. Yet it only takes getting the first paragraph written (then and now) to pave the way for concerns, issues, fears, and emotions to rise up and dance across the pages. I experience an odd sense of relief noting these down, as if I am taming them energetically.
By the second week of morning pages, I notice it now takes me about 25-30 minutes to complete my morning pages (Cameron notes most of her students take 30 - 45 minutes). My feverish writing from the first week has died down, replaced with legible handwriting born out of a renewed sense of calm.
What I've come to realize is how writing the morning pages now feels like an easy and natural habit, after 35 days (a practice becomes a habit after day 21!). Coming to the morning pages feel like I am talking with a trusted confidante that I can say anything to. In this place of safety and acceptance, insights, revelations, and guidance slip in without fanfare, while negative energy dissipates.
In my next post, I'll describe how the practice of writing morning pages is creating ripples of subtle, positive currents in my day to day life.