Morning Pages – The Journey So Far…

Note: I used the word ‘journey’ because it makes it sound like I’m doing something worthy and impressive

I completely forgot that I’d started doing MP and a quick flick through my MP pad reveals my indecipherable handwriting on 96 pages.

96!

My appalling maths (OK, so I used the calculator on my iPhone) calculates this as 32 days worth of MP early morning, stream of conscious nonsensical scribbling, so I thought it about time I reported back.

The results have been AMAZING – I’ve lost weight, earned a million pounds and am dating a smokin’ hot Mexican lady by the name of Chiquita (my wife is only happy with two out of three of these things).

OK, maybe not. But it has been great. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

Firstly, I don’t think I’ve had a dramatic ‘breakthrough’ moment. I was hoping for one but didn’t get it.

So, I didn’t get two days in and suddenly feel amazing, inspired or anything like that. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I don’t feel tremendously different. Don’t you dare put this in the ‘con’ though…

…because I do feel better. Having space and time to sit down and write three pages provides clarity and valuable brain space.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sat here gazing at a gorgeous sunset, drinking an exotic tea blended from goat’s sweat, burning incense and chanting my way to some Nirvana-esque bliss while doing it. Mostly, it’s me frantically scrawling while yelling at the kids to get ready for school!).

The biggest mental hurdle I have to jump over to do it is that MP doesn’t ‘feel’ like it’s helping me. Like meditation, it’s helping ME, but it’s not helping me make any headway on my todo list. I constantly have to remind myself to get over this and think of the bigger picture.

Here’s what I have noticed. I have far more clarity about my day, especially in the mornings. I get all of the shit onto the paper and out of my head. I can feel when I’ve done MP as the wastebasket that is my mind only feels half full, compared to its usual so-full-that-you-have-to-ram-your-foot-in-there-to-stomp-it-down-to-create-some-room.

It’ doesn’t empty EVERYTHING out of my mind (I think that’s the breakthrough moment I was hoping for!), but it dumps out enough to make a difference and give me some space.

I also use the first half a page or so to write down three things I’m grateful for (using the “if it wasn’t for…” idea I mentioned in a previous post). That’s been really useful, as well as ticking the ‘gratitude’ box.

I’m still not good with ‘feelings’. I’m not yet spilling my heart onto the page, though I’m still experimenting with this. Mostly, I tend to write about things I’m concerned with and brainstorm ideas on why I’m bothered by this, and what I can do to lessen the pain. I then mark the margin next to any useful ideas I write down. This has been SURPRISINGLY useful (certainly enough for me to write the word ‘surprisingly’ in caps) as I’ve actually come up with some good, actionable ideas.

Oh, I also cried while doing it once too. That was a BIG surprise, as I’m not a ‘cryer’ (I’m not counting the time when Harold got swept out to sea in Neighbours – I HAD SOMETHING IN MY EYE!).

The stream of conscious gratitude thing really touched a nerve one day, so I decided to go with it and delve deeper and deeper to see what happened.

I cried, that’s what happened.

Good tears. Not like the ‘Harold’ thing.

So, 32 days into MP and I’m definitely going to keep going, as I still think there’s a lot I’m missing out on. If the only benefit I got from MP was the continued feeling of ‘not getting in my own way’ as much and regaining some valuable headspace, I would carry on just for that, but I think that there’s even more here.

As I said, I’ve not explored feelings or anything of great depth. My crying tells me that this could be a good vehicle for that kind of exploration (though, depending on the issues – and the person – this may NOT be a good idea – exercise caution).

Also, creativity and problem solving lend themselves to this kind of writing, so I’d do it just for that too. Pen and paper is a mighty weapon (someone should really craft a proverb about that!).h

If you want to give Morning Pages (damn, I forgot to use the abbreviation MP!) a shot, just remember that there are no rules.

Actually, that’s silly, because there are:

  • Write for three pages longhand about whatever is in your mind. get whatever is in your head out on to the paper. (Mind vomiting may be a helpful, though disgusting, way of imagining this)
  • Don’t censor anything. No one cares that you put ‘there’ when you should have used ‘their’. The Grammar Police aren’t watching, though the government probably is.

If anyone else has had any experience with MP, let me know what you think and how you’ve approached it. I’d love to compare notes!

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