isabelle thye

Morning Pages: A surprising way of getting out of my head and its many benefits

In the past 3 months, I’ve written more than ever even though I haven’t put anything out in public. While I feel like an imposter as a writer, somehow, I knew that I wasn’t in the right place to create anything meaningful.

In the midst of a transition of lifestyle, identity and priority, everything inside me was in chaos.

At the heightened state of anxiety and ‘lostness’, I ventured into Morning Pages and began a surprising journey getting out of my head.

An introduction of Morning Pages

Morning Pages is an exercise created by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’. It requires you to write three full pages by hand, first thing in the morning, about whatever comes to mind. It is a way ‘inward’ that helps people unblock their creativity, according to the author.

After a friend introduced me to this exercise, I tried once but gave up immediately when I was stuck on the first page. ‘It was too much work!’, I thought.

Somehow, when the whole ‘getting married’ fiesta finally came to an end, and I came back from honeymoon not knowing where to put my next foot, I was desperate enough to turn to Morning Pages.

It surprised me that when I had so much noises blasting in my head, turning those noises into words filled up 3 full pages in a swoosh!

Observe and question my own ‘story’

My biggest discovery in the first few days of Morning Pages exercise was that my messy thoughts were transformed into tangible words that I can read and interpret. I was able to observe my thoughts and see clearly how I was lost in my own story.

In the process of writing, I developed a pattern of questioning myself like an ancient Greek philosopher. I began to ask: is this true? Why do you (I) think this way? What can you (I) do now? What really matters now?

Most of the time, I have my answer for everything. I slowly work my way out of anxieties and thoughts that could otherwise spiral down to depression.

Break my thought pattern

Another interesting observation was that I got sick of my own thoughts when I wrote them down in Morning Pages day after day.

I believe that those non-serving thoughts will go on and on in a loop if I didn’t put them down in words. When I wrote about it day after day, I wonder why I was still thinking about the same thing and questioned myself if it was the best I could do.

And then, I moved on. I broke my thought pattern because I was able to see it, get sick of it, and I was amazed by such a simple tool that did the heavy lifting.

An absolute safe space

After months of Morning Pages journaling, I began to appreciate having a safe space to figure myself out.

I felt like I could take on anything in life because I have my pages where I can express my fear, worries, and hopes.

The 3 blank pages are just there; it is precious and yet so simple and affordable. The only things it asks for are my time, energy, and commitment.

Self-compassion

The rule of morning pages, if there’s any, is that you just write down whatever comes to your mind. Without the logic mind assigning labels of good or bad and right or wrong, I learn to accept myself rather than fixing myself.

Yes, I wasn’t feeling good, I felt flustered, I felt unworthy. It is okay to be a normal human being who feels a full spectrum of human emotions.

Being human is never about feeling good and happy all the time, but to keep going back to the center of peace and love no matter what happens.

A writing meditation

As time goes by, Morning Pages becomes an inward exploration just like meditation. It is an observation as well as a release. The thing about thought is that it stops haunting me once I am able to name it and face it heads on.

With enough pages done, I’ve experienced many different states of being when I write. There were times when I was frustrated with hours spent on ‘useless’ pages, when I was distracted by everything around me, when I was rushing to get it done; but the best is the time when I feel present and flow with my thoughts, allowing time to craft each word properly.

When I flipped through the pages, my handwriting tells a lot about my state of being on a particular day — they are all different and they are all me.

Keep writing

I’ve always felt that I owe it to Morning Pages to get out of my head when it felt the hardest.

Through Morning Pages, I learned to embrace a new state of being and do the work to make the best out of every day, from moment to moment.

As life unfolds, it is mesmerizing when new things happen, to discover that the plan I had was not as big as the plan the universe has for me.

For now, this present moment matters more than a big goal ahead, and I will spend all my energy to live fully in the present, to feel the abundance of the world, to know that I am enough.

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