By Pam Boyer
I remember the first time I picked up a book written by Julia Cameron called “The Artist’s Way.” It was one of those life changing books and I have continued to use the tools she created over the last twenty years. My favorite tool is one called Morning Pages.
Morning Pages consist of three hand-written 8 ½ x 11” pages created the first thing every morning. Hence the “morning” in Morning Pages. The beauty of the Morning Page is their simplicity. You only need a pen, notebook, a little free time and the willingness to write whatever comes up for you.
The pages are based on what journaler’s call a “stream of consciousness” format. That means you write everything that passes through your mind. You don’t try to make sense of any of it. You don’t worry about context, punctuation, what someone else would think or why you think what you just wrote. Everything that you think in the moment is written down.
Often the first two pages or so are just random thoughts leftover from the nights dreams, anxieties and frustrations from the previous day and your normal mental chatter.
Sometimes in the last part of the text you may start to see something else appear. Here’s where the good stuff comes up. The early part of the pages represents thoughts you think frequently, beliefs you hold and ideas you are very familiar with. At the end of the writing session some days you will have unexpected, maybe even startling thoughts or ideas start to appear. What may be happening here is unconscious material that is always below the surface of our conscious thoughts starts to come to the forefront.
"Why is this important? This material is frequently the cause of the issues and problems we are grappling with in our conscious lives. It can also be information from a higher or wiser aspect of ourselves that gives us creative ideas and solutions."
Often the pages will seem to be one long, whiny rant. That’s Okay. It’s what’s really on your mind and the longer I whined about the same thing the more I felt compelled to do something about it. The Morning Page process helps you get clarity and take action on what is most present in your thoughts.
Another benefit of the pages is a grounding effect. To create a morning ritual of writing is similar to one of meditation, except with the writing practice you describe the thoughts that run through your mind on paper. This Morning Page daily practice has become the most important part of my day and if I have to miss it I’m not really centered the rest of the day.
As we move forward, I will focus on a specific journaling technique each week offering you prompts for your own journaling. We'll be doing this via Facebook. If you haven't already, join us!
Don't wait for me. Give the ones that interest you a try and start a morning pages habit of your own.