So this is the question:
How did I end up here, looking at a blank page with nothing but the letters you see on your screen now? Very simple: By reading a Linkedin post by Arianna Huffington, describing the odd habit of starting each day, even before breakfast, by sitting down and (hand)write three pages of what just comes to our mind.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Morning Pages.
Morning pages are just that: 3 empty pieces of papers just waiting to be filled out with your thoughts, concerns, wonders, worries, joys or smiles. What makes it differ from ordinary journaling and unique, is that you are to write what just comes to your mind, when the pen hits the paper. Nothing more, nothing less.
Moreover, the best thing is, that it is for no one to read neither refer back to, not even yourself. When it is written, it is written there is no turning back.
I was intrigued by the notion of just “writing as you please,” so I started my own Morning Pages journey three weeks ago and now sitting here, writing the longest I have done in ages, thinking of ways to share this experience.
Writing three pages by hand does take time. For the ones of us having to rise early, it means setting the alarm clock even earlier than before. In my case, that means that I started to have my alarm set for 4.30am.
That is really early. Now, doing late summer, it is the time of day when it is really really dark, and the coffee tastes really well.
However, with habitual repetition comes the routine and within days, waking up at that time of day felt just as natural as the sleeping late. In fact, I found myself waking up, wide awake and ready to start the day in anticipation of those sacred moments I would have with my Morning Pages.
Moreover, that leads me into the core of my experience and why I, just after my 12th entry, I have started to write this very article.
My initial fear of engaging in this project was that I would never, in my life, b able to fill out three pages. What would come to my mind?
My first attempt went beyond expectations. I had plenty to write about, and even, on my first day, I had to limit myself for not just continuing writing on and on. I had my breakfast, work and day waiting for me to explore it all.
A funny detail here was that, even though I have moved back to my native Denmark, my Morning Pages language is English.
With time, in my case, just a day or two, it became apparent that this exercise was not just limited to the art of writing, journaling, or waking up early.
It was the discovery of that private place to reflect, store, think and play. A place where I could just think loud, share my deepest thoughts and just be myself. The only condition is to write it down when it came to mind and, in my case in an A4 notebook, for never to look back on what already written.
Before I continue, I would bring one caution. If you are looking into what the concept of Morning Pages is, please go ask Google, Youtube, or read this beautiful piece by a fellow “Morning Pages” traveler. That article explains, in great details, the bits and bolts of it all, together with due credit to Julia Cameron for blessing us with this amazing gift.
I will here only focus on what this journey has meant for me and what it could mean for you.
Within few days, changes that became more and more apparent. Where, in the beginning, I was discussing abstract subjects like life, love, and the wider future, they would gradually change to “here and now” subjects, such as reflection on yesterdays challenges at work, forthcoming decisions to be taken, how I would approach a concrete situation or that I should remember to do this and that.
Consequently, this started to spill over into my daily life. The reflections would continue beyond my “morning pages” moment and become a part of the natural day. The difference was that those reflections would have a different sense of “quality.” Within days, maybe just a day, the thought journey from “abstract idea” to “concrete action” would suddenly become very short, making be able to measure easily on things that I would before have regarded as “significant challenges” or “beyond my reach.”
I had decluttered my mind and could now focus on more relevant and exciting things, such as sharing this account with you all. For the sake of it, I can tell you that this is the longest I have been writing for years. In fact, for as long as I remember.
All thanks to the three empty pages waiting for me every morning.
Obviously, I could continue to share my joy of decluttering my life and maybe I would, but that would be in a different post for another time. Also, when writing this, I know that time will be soon.
What is important for me, right here and now is to keep focus and challenge you:
Do you dare to invest 30 min of your life, each morning, away from your computer, TV and just surrender yourself to 3 empty pages. I challenge you to do that for the next three days, starting from tomorrow.
Let me know if you need help and how your Morning Pages journey has begun.