I’m not a fan of sitting still. Which is why, as much as I need to quiet my overactive, worry-prone brain, I can’t meditate. I’m sure I could meditate if I really put my mind to it (hah!), but the act of sitting still with my eyes closed focusing on one thought gives me the heebie jeebies. Meditation just doesn’t suit my on-the-go, always busy, serial multi-tasking personality. I’ve been told that is exactly why I should meditate, but the fact remains that I enjoy it about as much as I enjoy chugging wheatgrass: it’s good for me but if I need to hold my nose to get it down, it’s probably not going to happen.
So what’s a girl who needs some stress relief to do? Enter the morning pages. I first learned about the morning pages many years ago, the first time I tried to complete the program The Artist’s Way. The Artist’s Way is an awesome 12-week course in awakening your creativity that includes weekly reading assignments, exercises, something called the Artist’s Date (a creative date with yourself), and the daily morning pages.
While abandoning a lot of the other stuff due to lack of time and focus, the one part of the program I’ve been relatively consistent with are the morning pages. What are they? Essentially, they’re stream of consciousness journaling. According to The Artist’s Way, you should start each day by filling up 3 pages (longhand) with stream of consciousness writing; basically, just write whatever happens to be on your mind. The purpose? Brain drain; to get all the garbage that’s in your head out and on to the page so that you can quiet the noise and self doubt and stuff that’s getting in the way of the things you need to accomplish, and more importantly, your creativity.
I tend to write a lot and very quickly, so I often find that when I get to the end of the 3 pages, I still have more to vent. (I’m sure those who know me won’t be surprised by this. LOL.) So, instead of a page limit, I commit to a fixed amount of time – 20 minutes – to sit down with paper and pen in hand and just spew out whatever’s bugging me. It won’t be elegant – it’s not supposed to be – but I find that when I really commit to writing these pages, I generally have better days. Think of it like going for a mental run first thing in the morning: it releases endorphins and sets you up to feel better (and be more focused), for the rest of the day.
While there are no guaranteed results, if you commit to writing morning pages on a consistent basis, you may surprise yourself. After a few days of scribbling mundane junk like ‘I’m tired,’ ‘I don’t know what to write,’ and ‘my co-worker is so annoying,’ you start cutting through the crap to things that are more meaningful, like generating some cool ideas or finding a solution to a problem that’s been plaguing you. All through the simple act of putting pen to paper. So, try something for me, will you? Rather than rolling over and picking up your iPhone first thing in the morning, grab a blank notebook and a pen (and if you’re like me, a cup of coffee) and see where your thoughts take you. Your brain, and your newfound peace of mind, will thank you.
Until next time, friends.