Most recently, I stopped in a bookstore, and like any good therapist, I did most of my perusing in the self-help section. I found a book entitled “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. A woman perusing the same section gave the book a ringing endorsement. Even more, a few days prior, my dear friend had talked about this book. It seemed like a synchronous moment. I purchased the book and took it home.
Julia Cameron, a poet, playwright, fiction writer, and essayist, provides guidance to the reader to retrieve the creator within. I had beaten myself up over the past several years for not writing enough, for not creating enough. This was it! I had found my guide to help me fulfill my intention to create more.
Cameron suggests writing “morning pages” to retrieve the creative self. In this practice, she invites the reader to sit down first thing in the morning and write long-hand, using a stream of consciousness style, for three pages. This has become my practice for the last several weeks. The act of writing down my thoughts, worries, struggles, feelings of anger, sadness, joy, and fear first thing in the morning seems to have a lasting, calming effect on the rest of my day. The act of allowing the paper to hold all of that somehow cleared the way for my creative self to emerge. Ideas have begun to flow easier, and the practice itself is a form of energetic discharge.
As I write about the practice of morning pages, it reminds me of the practice of mindfulness. Cameron (1992) writes “attention is an act of connection” (p. 53). The morning pages is the process of paying attention to one thing for about 20 minutes a day. Mindfulness and morning pages go hand in hand. Mindfulness invites us to pay attention to the “right now.” The morning pages invites me to do the same…stay in the moment, sit down, write with no distractions. The act of paying attention to the present, disables us to worry about the future or mourn the past. The present invites us to heal and connect to ourselves in the moment. Finding a way to connect with my creative self, through the act of morning pages, is both a healing and mindfulness practice.
If you want to try this form of mindfulness, feel free! Perhaps find Julia Cameron’s book and read more about the guidelines she offers about the morning pages and how to honor this practice. Observe what happens, if anything at all, when you invite this practice into your life. Pay attention and notice how this practice may serve as a way to connect to yourself and others.
Cameron, J. (1992). The artist’s way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. Penguin Putnam Inc.: New York.