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One Small Change That Surprisingly Changed My Life

A simple-yet-powerful habit

Every single day I wake up.

Make myself some coffee.

Turn on my ambient Spotify playlist and start writing.

What do I write?

Anything and everything that comes to mind.

I let a stream of consciousness flow out onto the pages and only stop once I’ve completed three pages.

But… why?

As I had been achieving more success in my business, I was feeling more unfulfilled in my creative life. Then, I had a friend recommend the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Within the first ten pages, Julia discusses the power of Morning Pages.

Skeptically, I tried them the next day and by the third page, I found myself crying. Through my writing, I had connected with a part of myself that lay dormant. These feelings surprised me to say the least.

But I was hooked.

Little did I know, the benefit I experienced the first day was only the beginning. Here’s how Morning Pages changed my life for the better.

1) Drain my brain

Before Morning Pages, I wasn’t aware of how much garbage was plaguing my mind.

Thoughts, feelings, ideas, to-do’s, fears, regrets, questions… all swirling around in my head with no place to go.

All of this clouds the mind and makes it impossible to focus.

By putting pen to paper, I’m providing an outlet — a way for me to empty the trash and start the day off clean.

To give you an idea of just how random the thoughts are that come out of my head, I pulled a random excerpt from my journal from a couple days ago.

I love coffee. I love the stimulating effects no doubt. But I also really love the taste. I have a delicious cold brew with nitro right now. It’s tasty and cold. I also have a headache. I want to build more vocabulary around describing my head. Almost everyday I feel tension there. It’s uncomfortable.

In one paragraph, I went from describing my coffee to talking about my head. It’s all fragments and poor grammar just like how I think.

All of that was floating around in my head and standing in the way of my creativity and mental clarity.

2) Practice discipline

Morning Pages are non-negotiable no matter what my mood is. Believe me, there are days when I wake up, look at my stacked calendar and the last thing I want to do is write 3 pages of nonsense.

But I do it anyway.

Why? Because I know that (1) when I finish I will be in a better place, (2) it’s really not that difficult to do, and (3) I committed to doing it.

Understanding the importance of these three points and practicing them helps me stay disciplined in all areas of my life.

3) Practice non-judgement

Part of me is very self-critical and judgmental. I also want to do things “right” and have a hard time not viewing things as “black or white”.

One of my greatest insights over this past year is that this line of thinking doesn’t serve me and usually is simply not true.

With Morning Pages, the only rule is to write three pages.

Other than that, there are no rules. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. There’s no reason to be critical of myself for what I write or more importantly, what I don’t write.

If I write 3 pages of nonsensical sentences, I did it right.

If I write 3 pages of the most wise words I’ve ever written, I did it right.

If I write 3 pages of the same word, I did it right.

What I write isn’t “good” or “bad”, it simply “is”. And that’s a powerful lesson to take with me in life because all too often the judgement of something being “bad” leads to self-beat up.

4) Connect with my Artist Brain

As a highly logical left brain person, Morning Pages gives me the opportunity to connect with my Artist Brain.

Our Artist Brain is our inner-child. It is the creative, inventive, and non-judgmental brain. It is our right brain.

I found myself scared to tap into this side of my brain in a meaningful way. Logic was my refuge and I was perfectly comfortable giving up the benefits of my Artist Brain to stay where it was warm and comfy.

Through Morning Pages, I learned that my Artist Brain was not only nothing to be afraid of, but something to be embraced. Something that when tapped into, would only make me a better version of myself. It would allow me to experience life more fully, do better work, and most importantly, have more fun.

5) Expect Wisdom To Surface

Like I said before, there’s no wrong way to do Morning Pages, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect wisdom to surface. Because it will.

“As I create and listen, I will be led”

This is an affirmation from the book that I strongly resonate with.

It’s about trusting the process.

Knowing that just the act of doing Morning Pages, will lead me to insight and wisdom.

I talked about how Morning Pages clears the mind. One of the benefits of this is that it becomes easier to hear the wisdom of your own mind.

I had insights that I wasn’t even looking for. I realized that I often seek wisdom externally but there is a great deal of wisdom already within me. I simply have to ask the question and actually listen to what I have to say.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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