Morning Pages: Peaceful life, clearer mind & lasting change with your morning routine
How my Morning Pages evolved over 3 years
Morning Pages can revolutionise your life. True story. They can reduce stress & anxiety levels and inspire you to do things you thought were impossible for you.
Morning Pages are not a 5-minute task, but the amount of time they can free up in your day can surprise you.
Do they really work and are they worth the time, though?
I’ve let my Morning Pages speak for themselves. When I compare what I’d write about in the past and what I’m putting down on paper these days, I’m certain: things have changed and I’m glad they have.
In this post I’ll describe how my Morning Pages evolved over 3 years and how they’ve calmed my mind attacks.
What are Morning Pages?
“Morning Pages” is a concept created by Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way)
According to the definition, Morning Pages are 3 pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages: they’re not high art. They’re not even “writing.” They’re about anything and everything that crosses your mind, and they’re for your eyes only.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and synchronise the day at hand. Do not overthink Morning Pages: just put 3 pages of anything on the page…and then do 3 more pages tomorrow.
Morning Pages bring about changes
I’ve read a lot of stories about how daily Morning Pages have transformed human lives.
By simply writing in the morning, we give ourselves a chance to tap into our inner selves and intuition: something that tends to be overlooked by people. Writing Morning Pages can bring about amazing changes, but can also remind us of tough choices that we need to make.
One of the most important decisions that I made on my Morning Pages was deciding to buy a flat. After moving from place to place and from country to country for years, it was difficult for me to stay in one place without thinking of where to go next.
Apparently settling down was something that I wanted most, but my decisions didn’t reflect my desire. I discovered that I was afraid of responsibility and entering a territory that was completely new to me. Being on the move was my norm so years went by and I was still flat-less.
Losing my freedom was one of my biggest fears until I discovered that I didn’t have so much freedom anyway. I was unable to create my living space in a way that I wanted and sharing flats seemed to have limited my freedom more than potentially applying for a mortgage.
On my Morning Pages many illusions started shattering. My excuses didn’t seem legitimate any more.
So one day, I simply visited flat developers and went to the bank to check my credit scoring. The flat was purchased within one month.
The rest of this post will be about how my morning writing evolved. Now I can see clearly that my mind has slowed down and as a result now I’m feeling more peace of mind on a more frequent basis.
#1 Morning Pages Evolution: I slowed down
The first time I started my Morning Pages routine, I was in a big rush. Every minute felt so precious, especially that I wasn’t even sure whether I was doing something worthwhile. My mind was super transactional (as usual) and I could hear an inner dialogue that went something like this:
What’s in it for you? Writing for the sake of writing? You’d better get down to something that brings money or at least get some extra sleep instead!
For most of my life, the only thing that I wanted in the morning was a few minutes of extra sleep. It seemed to be so counterintuitive to wake up earlier just to keep writing and then chuck it (that’s how I do my morning writing: write it, tear it & chuck it).
So for me it felt like a race. I was trying to write as quickly as I was thinking, and over 3 years ago my thoughts were spinning in my head. I was also convinced that by writing quickly, I would save time in my insanely busy life.
These days, roughly 3 years into my Morning Pages adventure, it’s way different. One morning I had a revelation. While I was writing again at a break-neck speed in the morning, it struck me:
- Why am I doing it?
- What or who am I chasing?
- Who is chasing me?
- What exactly do I need those extra minutes for?
- Do I really need a race first thing in the morning?
Am I open to the possibility of spending the same amount of time on my Morning Pages, but writing less in a calmer and perhaps more insightful way?
I then realised that my morning writing time was for me only. I saw clearly that I was on autopilot, and I didn’t even know why I was doing it. I was sure, however, that writing as many words as I could first thing in the morning was not my goal.
Self-inquiry and having my Inner Self write was. Or in fact, I didn’t have any specific goal, this was not a corporate Excel spreadsheet after all!
Since that time, I’ve never been in a rush when writing my Morning Pages. My morning writing time feels truly blissful now. This is my sacred space and the highlight of my morning.
The fact is that I have plenty of time during the day and I don’t need to fight for a few extra minutes in the morning.
Paradoxically this approach has freed up a lot of extra time in my life.
I can also sense that now I’m a much slower thinker. My mind is calmer most of the time. Now I can’t imagine living without my morning ritual and my mind has stopped convincing me that Morning Pages are a waste of my precious time.
#2 Morning Pages Evolution: my handwriting got nicer
Originally, when I wanted to finish my Morning Pages practically within minutes, my handwriting was hardly legible. After all, I was trying to catch up with my spinning thoughts!
When I slowed my writing and thoughts down, I discovered the magic of making slow movements and paying attention to how I operate the pen. I also liked the sound of pen on paper. I still find it very soothing.
My Morning Pages got pretty mindful and it was much easier for me to detach from my thoughts.
All this allowed me to better understand many destructive thought patterns that had an impact on my well being on a daily basis. As now I’m more aware of them, it’s much easier for me to recognise destructive thoughts in my daily life, question them and choose more supportive ones.
#3 Morning Pages Evolution: I went from “them” to “me”
Originally, on my Morning Pages I’d write a lot about external events, situations and other people. How they affected me and my life. At that time I’d often see myself as a victim of circumstances or actions of others.
Then I realised: that person’s behaviour had NOTHING to do with me, my situation or how I should feel about it. I’ve read a lot about it in self-help books, but it was on my Morning Pages where I slowed down my thinking and realised how I let other people trigger me.
I’d often recycle the same thoughts over and over again. How unfair somebody was and why this was happening to me. That way of thinking and the feeling of victimhood wasn’t serving me at all. (Btw, I still do it at times, but it’s way less disempowering and destructive than it used to be.)
So I realised that instead of giving my power away, my job was to claim my power back and see my own contribution to whatever was going on in my life. Blaming and feeling victimised would keep me feeling stuck and helpless, which I didn’t want.
Now I often catch myself when my way of thinking is unproductive. It’s not like those old thought patterns changed overnight. I’m still challenged by them, but realising it’s my old conditioning makes life far easier.
How about you? If you practise Morning Pages, feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below!