In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends that people who want to get unstuck from creative blocks, do “morning pages.” Morning pages are 3 handwritten pages of stream of consciousness writing. They’re not supposed to be inspired or creative. They are not meant to be read by anyone else. They are just a place to dump out the contents of our minds so we can see what’s there.
I’ve done morning pages or something like them, for decades. I haven’t always done them daily, but I do them frequently. I’ve used them to stay grounded and clear. They are the primary way that I make time to listen to myself. Doing morning pages is like having a long conversation with a good friend, except they’re available anywhere and at any time.
In the past year, I’ve fallen into what I think is a common trap in LOA circles. By trying to feel more positive, I denied or didn’t pay attention to how I was actually feeling.
As soon as I noticed something bothering me, I would run to youtube to try to find an Abraham video that would help me feel better. Or I would immediately try to find better feeling thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with either of those methods for feeling better. I just missed the crucial first step of identifying how I was actually feeling. In an effort to not dwell on negative feelings, I avoided looking at my feelings at all.
This led me to an emotional crisis. Various stresses had come up in my life and my efforts to find better feeling thoughts, just weren’t helping. I was getting depressed and edgy. I was crying often and randomly. I was having some self-destructive thoughts.
Depression and self-destructive thoughts aren’t new to me. I spent years in daily battles, trying to overcome them. Now, I go years without feeling any depression or self-destructive urges at all. It shocks me when I do have feelings like that, because it is so rare.
Luckily, my past experience has given me plenty of tools to get out of depression. During my recent crisis, I picked up those tools again. I rested. I meditated. I did everything I could to take pressure off of myself. And I wrote.
The turning point out of this depression, was the long afternoon I spent writing “morning” pages and sitting beside a river. I wrote quickly, without censoring myself. I filled at least a dozen pages with my thoughts and feelings. At the end of it, I felt a new calm and had a better understanding of why I had been feeling so bad.
It took a few more days for me to nurture myself back to equilibrium. Once I was clearer about the thoughts and feelings that led to this crisis, I was able to use some of the LOA techniques I’ve learned to improve those thoughts and feelings.
So, I’m back to writing morning pages almost every day. It’s nice to have this old friend back. I’m feeling better. Life is good.