I have been “journaling” consistently for over a month – and I LOVE IT. I’ve always been VERY RESISTANT to journaling. One reason I’ve been consistent is probably because it is never referred to as journaling. I’ve been doing an exercise from The Artist’s Way called Morning Pages. (Does the Bill Cosby Picture Pages song pop into anyone else’s head when you hear Morning Pages?)
Julia Cameron defines morning pages exercise in The Artist’s Way as “The morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…Pages are meant to be , simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid or too weird to be included. Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages except you. And you shouldn’t even read them yourself for the first eight weeks.”
What do I love about them?
- Declutter my brain. It feels like my brain is cluttered with all of these thoughts and feelings and past experiences, and getting them on paper helps clear them out. After I’ve written morning pages, it is easier for me to get other things done. I can write these blogs significantly faster. From a Chinese medicine standpoint, it feels like it is resolving qi stagnation in the brain. =)
- Tap into my intuition. Sometimes I can tap into my gut instinct about a situation or question by posing it on paper and then seeing what flows. Warning – don’t expect this to always work. As my therapist Lara Veon reminded me, the timing has to be right. Sometimes you are not ready for the answer yet.
- Gratitude and affirmation practice. I use this as part of my gratitude and affirmation practice, instead of having separate practices…it’s easier to do everything all at once.
- Upping my meditation game. In meditation, I often find myself resisting my thoughts. Morning pages are teaching me how to acknowledge them without getting caught up in them.
- Uncovering the real me. Morning pages are a great way to explore what I get excited about, question my beliefs and views about the way things are and the way I am, and notice what is draining my energy.
- No expectations. There is no pressure or expectation about what I write…it’s whatever comes to my head. I’ve even let myself stop mid-sentence and start writing the next thing that came to mind, when my hand can’t keep up with my brain. There is no pressure to write something profound or respond to someone else’s journal prompts. It is all about whatever is going on with me in that moment.
Try it for a week. You’ll be hooked.