Morning Pages: An Early Reflection

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Last night I picked up Julia Cameron's The Sound of Paper. I took it out of the library as I was insatiably hungry for a good book on writing. I am in the midsts of dreaming up a very special collective writing encounter but felt like I would soon run out of inspiration. Before getting to the grist of the book, she offers up the three essential tools for creating the writing self. The Morning Pages, The Artists Date, and Walks!

How simple, I thought! Well I already knew how hard morning pages can be, for me at least. I balance a full time job with this amassing creative project. Would committing to Morning Pages help me get to where I longed to be? I decided then and there, crawled up in my warm bed, that I would daily complete three pages of writing, or at least aim to do so.

What are Morning Pages?

Morning pages are written in the morning for a very specific reason. They do not generally contribute to a body of work but serve as potent starting point as three pages, on certain days, when the air is crisp and the time slow, may vary well turn into 10. The fact is that the mind needs warming up, yes, but more importantly, the mind needs a purge. There will be no proper place for the hard work of writing to occur when the mind is still fog of unprocessed events from time past or from the confusion that lingers from difficult to understand night dreams.

What happens at night for a writer is the same as anyone else. But a writers mind is made up of millions of half sentences, thousands of far away location, hundreds of half seen faces. At night, our brains heal. They make new stories out of the fragments in deep down crevices. The purpose of the ‘morning pages’ is to cleanse the mind of these fragments whose space does not serve todays creative process. What they do serve is a deep reflection on what you  have experienced, what is demanding your attention and what is in need of processing.

Once these half thoughts are laid down on the paper, they become grist for the mill. They become the form for the future.

Morning Reflection

The more I write about this daily practice, the more I see it as a meditative necessity of ‘becoming writer’. If I am to become writer through this act, what can I learn from it? What will it tell me that I don’t already know? Perhaps, I will find, as others have, a hidden mystery or truth. Perhaps I will find, as others have, a knowing that had always been there. Perhaps I will find, as others have, a deep abiding faith that I am, indeed, writer, woman, human, animal.

Why do I long to be ‘animal’? When I saw Wild and Woman placed together on the page for the first time, something shifted- there was a movement in me compelled by the simple placing of two words together! It is no longer a shock to me that that happened; I can sense the animal instinct in me rising. I know when to leap into the dark ridge bellow. I know when it is time to retreat and lick my hidden wounds after an existential fight with myself.

I am feeling oh so ready for what is ahead. I cannot recall this feeling at all in such a way as it has chosen to manifest now. I wonder if others feel the same way or if I can even begin to articulate the gifts I am in the process of receiving. Does it justify choices I long to make? Can I keep the truth hidden until it is ready to see the light of the day?

I know that I am in the shadow phase. The moon is receding into the shadow of the earth and I sit patiently as it does. Soon all will be dark and I will have that oh so sacred time to float upon the still sea towards the horizon. I will have that oh so grounding moment of releasing all that I no longer need into the cosmos.

When the light comes again, I will have gained something new. I will have placed even more words upon these pages and I will have found peace at the end of the final sentence of another beautiful morning.

Today’s Creative Exercise: Writing a Prayer

When we hurl our prayers out into the world, when we light a candle or utter his or her name, those dreams that were buried long ago are unearthed.

When we meet in ceremony our digging is no longer an individual act. Our journeys are apart of an earthly cosmos that binds us to a so much bigger than us, source.

The things we wish for, more peace, more love, more courage- these prayers do not go out into the world, but channel deep within us.

***A Wild Woman's Prayer***

By way of buried forests and underground rivers, our hopes and dreams, the roles we are to play, the promises we were born to make become the path forward.

By way of high mountain ridges and wide canyons, our visions and wild intentions become far-reaching and stead fast in the purest of all possible directions.

By way of oceanic tides and underwater caves, our faith becomes the courage we seek and takes us closer to the truth that we most need.

By way of the wild earth upon whose chest I sleep, I ask to be sensuous and aware of the earthly cosmology that gives vision to my sight, strength to my voice, courage to my step.

In return, by way of whatever means possible, I shall gift back all the wonders that I find.

 

Jen Holden