Write Three Pages Every Day
One of the many changes I made during this yoga lifestyle transformation was to start journaling, and I believe it's made one of the biggest impacts. Writing three pages every morning - or simply "the morning pages" - is something that was recommended in a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, which I highly recommend reading. The book overall is focused on opening up your creative side, and a lot of that has to do with revisiting and letting go of the past, along with finding healing techniques for the future.
How the morning pages work are pretty simple. First, you need to find a notebook; preferably one that makes you happy. (And yes, these pages are actually hand-written!) Right now I have a bright blue notebook, but my first one was purple and sparkly. Obviously a little incentive to help me get into the habit. If you're particular with pens like I am, make sure you go out and buy yourself a nice one! There's nothing more frustrating than having to write with a pen that's too inky and keeps smudging all over your hand.
Okay great, so you have your notebook and pen. Now what? Just sit down and write three pages of continuous writing. It's really focused on getting your stream-of-consciousness out and onto the page. Your pages can truly be whatever's on your mind... "I hate mornings" "I don't know what to write" "I need to do the laundry today" "I don't feel like writing, this is silly" "I'm really nervous about this meeting that's coming up" "I'm so excited about this weekend".
There's really not a wrong way to do it, and at first your pages may seem a little whiny. No one other than you is ever allowed to go back and read what you write, so this is truly a safe space to get out whatever is on your mind. (I actually still haven't gone back to re-read my pages and I've been writing since January.) What I found was that once I started getting all the whiny day-to-day things out of my mind, I was able to discuss deeper topics with myself. Exploring things from the past that I still thought about. Writing about bigger life decisions and worries that were on my mind. Coming up with ideas and plans with no judgement. Finding healing phrases and affirmations that I could write to myself to begin to change my stream of consciousness.
At first it was really hard for me because my thoughts would zoom by in my mind so quickly that I didn't know what to write first. I had plenty of worries and things to write about, but I never had to think about them in complete sentences before. It made me realize that I had a bad habit of "mind spiraling" so quickly about a topic without slowing down to think logically about the situation and what I could change about it. So instead of staying in this continual state of anxiety, I was able to write down my fears and expand upon them like I never had before. I found myself asking "why" I was feeling the way I was and exploring that idea. From there, I found it much easier to let things go and move towards a path of healing and accepting myself.
Do make sure you write your pages first thing in the morning, as this is when your mind is most at rest and it's more likely that what truly matters to you is more easily able to come to the forefront of your mind. (Yes, you'll need to wake up 30 minutes earlier, so feel free to write about that in your pages.) You'll start to notice the difference between your "brain" and your "Self". The "brain" typically gives excuses, mind spirals or puts you down. It gets in the way of what your "Self" truly needs to do, which is discuss, heal, create, etc. Your "brain" is just a muscle. Your "Self" is your soul and your inner being; who you really are.
The Artist's Way is a 12 week course to creativity, and the morning pages get everything onto the page that normally get in the way of your true Self and natural state of being. Even though I'm finished with the 12 weeks, the morning pages are something I plan to continue every single day because of how much they've changed my life.
I urge you to try these pages as well! Go ahead and give it a whirl. If you've done something similar before, or if you have questions/comments when you start journaling, feel free to start a discussion below! I'm interested to hear the experiences of others.