Morning pages are an exercise recommended in a FABULOUS book called, “The Artist’s Way,” by Julie Cameron, that you may or may not have heard about. Well, you heard about it now, if not before. This book includes many helpful, actionable ideas for finding and expressing the creativity that lives within us all.
The idea behind morning pages is simple. Every morning, before you do anything else, you write three pages in a journal, stream-of-consciousness style. Sometimes, my thoughts are disjointed and I jump around from thought to thought. Other times, as on April 9, I seem to have one long flowing monologue that presents itself to me. Today I am sharing my thoughts from April 9.
I have been working with morning pages for almost a year. I have learned a lot about myself and started making many positive changes. Doing morning pages helped me realize that there were areas of interest in my life that I wasn’t pursuing. So, I started capsule wardrobing and creating outfits that I share on Facebook and Instagram. I started sharing my yoga practice. I started taking taking tango and ceramics classes at my local community college. Oh yeah, and I started a business! Syrian Home Cooking. How cool is that?
I also realized that I wanted to go back to college, and so now, I am enrolling at Portland State University. I will start pursuing my degree in English with a writing minor and studying Arabic, as I have wanted to do for years. Each day, I have new insights into myself and new hope for the future. Here are my morning pages for April 9th. I have organized my thoughts into paragraphs, although these words are otherwise unedited and in their original format.
“April 9, 2019 Stardate 14745.2 mark 7. Whatever. For some reason, that came into my head. How can I figure out “what to do?” Ask God to show you HIS will. Her will. Whatever. These morning pages are designed to help us open ourselves up to the will of the Creator. Meditation and prayer, likewise. But it’s so easy to spend that fifteen to thirty minutes, or even just five, if we’re honest, listening and seeking, then just go about OUR business, never really connecting what we’ve learned to the actions of our daily lives.
As I’m drifting, rudderless, in this midlife ocean, I find myself slowly starting to relax. Literally relax. My shoulders are at least an inch lower, my neck is unstiffening. My dreams are vivid and I’m beginning to remember them again. And I find them full of insight. So how can we “let go and let God?” I’m starting to realize that we can’t let God if we don’t let go first. All my busy-ness, all my running around. Gotta do this, gotta do that! Here’s a list of 20 things I “should” have done yesterday that I won’t even have time to do tomorrow. So I stopped.
What am I doing now? Whatever is in front of me. Directly, immediately in front of me. And space is opening up. My body is opening up. My mind is softening. My lungs are expanding. My breath has deepened. My spirit is beginning to unfold again. I feel connected to God again. I feel like I’m floating, untethered, really. I feel like I’ve fallen off a cliff and I’m laying down, arms and legs wide open as I fall to the forest floor below. And it’s weird and it’s scary, but it’s good. And meanwhile, all of life continues around me. I run a business, I make baklawa, pay my bills, brush my teeth… but something more is going on. I don’t really know what it is, but I can feel it.
Fundamental change is possible if we have the courage to open ourselves up to it. And if we trust in a power that is greater than ourselves. I’ve been walking in the woods again. Last night I watched a nature documentary and was reminded again of the sheer beauty and majesty of the world we have been given. Wildebeests, penguins, flamingos, and fjords. Magic. It’s all magic. In the woods, I see the moss and mushrooms. Hundreds of flowers cover the forest floor right now. Water is glistening on the fern fronds, tree branches, and even the stones that lay on the ground.
Life is all around us and we are a vital part of it, whether we are immediately aware of this truth or not. I want to walk through life wide awake. I want to open myself up to life’s possibilities. I want to move beyond fear of failure, insecurity, and unworthiness and embrace God’s gifts. I pray today that I may lay down my ego and will and open my eyes to whatever lays before me. And I pray for the opportunity to help someone today. I pray that I may be of service in some way.”