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The Miracle of Morning Pages
I wrote this post in 2016 and was journaling already since 2014, I am reposting it here in case my medium blog disappears one day.
It would take you less than an hour to read this “mini” book. The Miracle of Morning Pages by Julia Cameron. You should read it, it changed me.
I have been writing morning pages for 1.5 years since
It’s a very easy habit to start. Just as you wake up, sit down with yourself and write a few pages of whatever comes to your mind at that moment. There is no way to write wrong since it’s just for yourself. There is not much thinking to do since you’re just writing whatever you’re thinking about. Just write. Easy. A few minutes a day. Do it as you clean your teeth every morning.
The first benefit for me was to be able to go back to my notes and read how I felt that day. The author, Julia, does not recommend reading yourself for like 8 weeks after you start. In the 1.5 years since I started writing those morning notes I came back reading a note or all of them a few times. It reminded me of so many things I forgot. It doesn’t feel this way but even if you remember something that happened it’s really difficult to remember how you felt at that moment. You were upset about someone or felt really close to him or her. You were in a good or a bad mood. You were feeling like you could change the world or on the contrary that everything was going against you that day.
Morning notes give you that access to yourself in the past.
Morning notes also let me look at my own life from a distance. I can now look at those 1.5 years and see what matters. I have more context. I remember more the important things that happened and what I want to achieve. Morning notes give me space every morning just for myself. I pause. I take a breath. I look at what happened in a broader context. It’s actually very different than meditation even though it works together very well with it. Meditation is about not acting and just observing yourself. Morning notes is about actions. It’s about what you did, you’re about to do and want to do in the future.
If something is important, Morning Pages will bring it repeatedly.
For me one of those important things was to start another business. It came back almost every day. I love building something that helps others. I love the feeling of creating something new. I wrote this repeatedly and then I wrote a constant flow of ideas. Finally the idea came. It was right in front of my nose for more than ten years yet I did not see it. Morning notes helped me see what I wanted to work on and understand that as much as I love kite-surfing and paragliding I needed to start working hard again. And I did just that.
I write my notes by hand. It feels like I’m slowing down. It feels amazing versus writing on a computer. Writing by hand forces me to pause. Think. I’m not writing for anyone else than me. I am not taking any risks and have no pressure. No one else will ever read them. Morning notes give me detail and the truth of how I feel emotinally. They tell me how I fell and a keyboard doesn’t give me that. My writing says much more. These feelings can feel uncomfortable but once I face them they can no longer sabotage me. They are in my notes. I am aware of them so I can control them. This is also very similar to meditation and a fantastic practice. I can see myself getting upset most of the time and avoid it. Same with the notes. I write down that I’m sad and I am not sad anymore as I become aware of it.
Morning notes are problem catchers. You always end up writing about something that doesn’t work for you. You work about it repeatedly and why without even being aware you’re writing it. Throwing random thoughts every morning is effortless but patterns emerge as issues and things you want to do keep coming back. It forces you to do something about it. It becomes unbearable to do nothing as it just keeps coming back. Morning notes push you into action.
Morning notes point to problems but also joys, friendships and help you keep an eye on your goals.
There is a censor inside ourselves that tells us “what you’re doing is bad” or “this work is terrible, you failed”. It’s that negative voice that frightens us and intimidates us. That voice that gets so loud we don’t start anything new or don’t have the courage to make decisions and change things. Morning pages help me declare my freedom. My freedom from that censor I have in my head. I start things and make decisions regardless of how that censor tells me I will fail.
“It is impossible to write Morning Pages without changing your life” says Julia Cameron. It worked for me and I will keep writing them.