I was chatting with my Dad this morning about the great time he had at his in-laws yesterday. He told me how he was wiped out, and wrote “As much as I usually fight it because of the circumstances, I agree, I need it once in a while.”
“…once in a while.”
In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the morning pages. You will do the pages daily through all the weeks of the course, and, I hope, much longer. (page 9 – The Artist’s Way)
Our chat also brought to mind the many articles, clippings, etc. I’d read, about how stress from/at work, and the lack of work-life balance can, and will, kill you. Stress, our wonderful, self-incurred poison.
So…starting tomorrow morning I will be waking up to pen and paper, and going back to my 3 pages of morning pages (brain drain or memory dump).
What are morning pages? Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness: “Oh, god, another morning. I have NOTHING to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah, blah, blah . . .” They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.
There is no wrong way to do morning pages. These daily morning meanderings are not meant to be art. Or even writing. I stress that point to reassure the nonwriters working with this book. Writing is simply one of the tools. Pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included.
The morning pages are not supposed to sound smart– although sometimes they might. Most times they won’t, and nobody will ever know except you. Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages except you. And you shouldn’t even read them yourself for the first eight weeks or so. Just write three pages, and stick them into an envelope. Or write three pages in a spiral notebook and don’t leaf back through. Just write three pages . . . and write three more pages the next day.
Although occasionally colorful, the morning pages are often negative, frequently fragmented, often self-pitying, repetitive, stilted or babyish, angry or bland–even silly sounding. Good!
All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity. Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover’s eye–this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days. Get it on the page. (pages 9-11, The Artist’s Way)
I wanted to share this with my father, which is probably the main reason for writing this post in my blog, but I thought I’d share it with whomever is reading. It also helps me, to read these words again, and to see my commitment “on paper.”
Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. ~ Ingrid Bengis
I will also be attending yoga twice a week (my think time), and swimming for 30 or so minutes three times a week (think time, as well, as exercise). In July, I’ll be walking the beach again, taking in the salt air and letting the sound of the ocean bring that wonderful calm to my mind.
These tiny bits of change will bring about HUGE change within 6 weeks. How do I know? Because it’s happened in the past. What stopped it, if it brought such change? I allowed the client and work I was doing, at the time, get the best of me. I won’t let that happen again, it’s self-destructive.
Another excerpt from the book The Artist’s Way:
Morning pages are nonnegotiable. Never skip or skimp on morning pages. Your mood doesn’t matter. The rotten thing your Censor (you’ll learn in the book that your Censor is your internal critic, your logic brain, “the perfectionist”) says doesn’t matter. We have this idea that we need to be in the mood to write. We don’t.
Morning pages will teach you that your mood doesn’t really matter. Some of the best creative work gets done on the days when you feel that everything you’re doing is just plain junk. The morning pages will teach you to stop judging and just let yourself write. So what if you’re tired, crabby, distracted, stressed? Your artist is a child and it needs to be fed. Morning pages feed your artist child. So write your morning pages.
This way of thinking can go with anything you need to incorporate in your life. I’m going to take this mentality and put it to yoga, swimming, walking the beach, and my photography. I’ve let far too much sit on the sidelines, while I wait to “make it.” I’m going to start living the life I’ve wanted now!
During our chat my father made other commitments, to himself, and for his wife. I can’t wait to see the positive change in the coming weeks. Yes, weeks! And I can’t wait to get back the energy, mental clarity, balance, and vibrancy! Some routines are never meant to be broken or discarded. Time to take my life back!
You can purchase The Artist’s Way on Amazon.com (affiliate link).
My Yoga Instructor (in Orange County), she practices traditional yoga, not the commercial yoga that’s out there today.