If you weren’t around last week, here’s a synopsis: My life was feeling bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I needed a safe haven for stillness, slowness, and reflection. I publicly committed to 30 days of what author Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages.
Julia says “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. [...] They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind--and they are for your eyes only. [...] Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Here, I’m sharing with you the insights I’ve gained from my first week of Morning Pages.
My promises to myself are the first ones I’m willing to give up
Even though I publicly made a “promise” to you all to do these 30 days of Morning Pages, the first person I made the promise to was myself. And, I’m outing myself here and now. I’ve already broken it.
I did my Morning Pages for 2.5 out of 7 days this week. Yes, 0.5 because I didn’t write three full pages today, and to be fair, I didn’t even write them first thing in the morning. I’m still working out why it’s so easy for me to break my own promises to myself but something I wouldn’t consider doing to Landen or my best friends.
One thing I know for sure is that I take on too much often, and I have high expectations of myself. Those expectations get tangled up with my black and white way of seeing the world far too often, and instead of doing something, I let my perfectionist nature win out.
That’s why I’ll also say that I’m proud of myself for getting in that 0.5 today. Because, even though I wasn’t able to get it done first thing in the morning and even though I wasn’t able to write all three pages, I decided to try to keep going. I didn’t let the fact that I wasn’t going to meet all 7 days mean that I had to stop at 2 days. And, for me, that’s progress.
Say it with me: Progress, not perfection.
Doing a brain dump in the morning helps clear my head for the rest of the day
The day before I decided to do 30 days of Morning Pages I had a doctor’s appointment, kind of a scary one. It was an appointment I had avoided for years and I was finally doing it. I was really anxious about it. Hamster-wheel thoughts-spinning feeling-nauseous heart-racing nervous. There was nothing I could do to stop it.
The next day and the first day of my Morning Pages, I had another doctor’s appointment. After the stress of the previous day, I was still feeling pretty high strung. One doctor’s appointment is bad enough, but two back to back? Forget it. And this one I was taking a Lyft to by myself, so I didn’t even have Landen for my emotions to bounce off of.
I sat down at the kitchen table and got out my baby blue leather bound notebook and started writing. Three pages poured out like a snap. I started and finished those three pages writing down all my nerves about my doctor’s appointment--with other anxieties sprinkled into the middle.
And, then something happened when I got in my Lyft. I felt calm. My brain felt still. I got to the doctor and I didn’t go over everything I needed to in my head as I waited. I was clear and firm with my doctor, asking all of my questions. I took my time and wrote down what I needed to. I came out with the referrals I wanted.
Maybe there’s something to these Morning Pages?
As much as I say I don’t care, I do care what people think of me*
*There’s a caveat to this because it’s still true that I don’t care what strangers or acquaintances think of me. But, my closest people? The littlest things they say and do mean everything. To the point that I think about it over and over and sometimes manipulate what I say or do because of the way I expect them to respond.
It’s alarming that this came out in only three pages, but it sure did. While I’m glad that my closest people mean so much to me, I’m giving them a little too much control over what I say and do. And, it’s interesting that the people that love me and support me the most are the ones I’m most afraid will judge me, the ones I’m most afraid will stop loving me and abandon me.
What it comes down to most of the time is me making up stories in my head and over-analyzing absolutely everything. I’m not sure if it comes from my anxiety or if it’s just how I’m wired, but it’s something I have to be very cognizant of or it can get out of control quickly.
Have you tried Morning Pages yet? Do you journal? I’d love to hear your own insights.
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