I want to share with you a process that has been extremely valuable to me over this last year.
Last Christmas, my sister sent me a copy of Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”. The main part of the practice is to write for 3 pages every morning… for all those writers out there, this is not writing as you know it – morning pages are to be the written ‘vomit’ of all the unprocessed mush that wants to come out, in whatever form it might appear, not to be read by anyone, even yourself, but to just get it all out, in your own handwriting, onto real paper…
The thought of writing 3 pages for no audience did not appeal, the thought of an additional job (especially another writing job) appealed even less, and as for the necessity of putting the alarm on for one hour earlier every morning, well… but despite all of that, there was something about the rationale that intrigued me. I knew that writing was very therapeutic for my processing.
Also, I had frequently bemoaned that I found prayer impossible in the morning, because my head was like a relentless spin-dryer, whirling the day’s concerns, and focussing on anything else seemed futile.
But the argument for clearing out the spinning process was compelling and so I began on Boxing Day last year (2019) and began every morning with 3 pages of writing.
“You don’t decide your future; you decide your habits and your habits decide your future” John Maxwell.
Following the course of the programme took 12 weeks, by which time the new habit was fully tried and tested and the impact was quite profound. For me, when I write with my left hand and allow my unconscious mind to scribble it down, I seem able to allow the peripheral vision to kick in and all the background scenery takes shape too and I can colour in the scenery. IE – I see much more clearly; it focusses my mind, sorts the wheat from the chaff, deals with nagging issues and prepares a prayer and an action plan for the day ahead… Also, an interesting phenomenon had occurred for me: I have always been a hoarder, but during these 12 weeks, I systematically went through 40 years of stored paperwork and threw 95% of it into the recycling bin! This is a significant shift. It had similar repercussions in other areas – sorting, filing, re-appraising, giving away, mending, moving on…In fact I filled over 6 huge recycling bins!
I found I would begin writing – maybe a dream I’d been having, going through stuff I need to do, what was said that bothered me… and, having to stay with it on paper, I would find myself coming up with solutions to situations, ideas for reconciliation, new questions to allow me a different perspective and answers… I have found I can align my mind and my heart, process and put negativity in its place, identify and reinforce the truth, pray for issues, look more closely at my processes…
So many ‘eureka moments’ and revelations splattered over those pages and, as my mind and path became clearer and more intentional, so my praying became so much more focussed and open to Holy Spirit inspiration.
Needless to say, maybe, but I have continued with this new habit and begin every day with my morning pages, to give me the space in my mind to pray and to write and serve. My writing projects over this time have been therapeutic, challenging works, which triggered a lot of excess emotion and muddled thinking and the morning pages became such a valuable tool to pick up the pieces, after each sleep process, and to help the Holy Spirit in the renewing of my mind.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
I so thank the Holy Spirit for helping me to use this tool in the renewing of my mind; and I thank Julia Cameron for her inspiration through the book; and my sister for sending it to me. I have passed a few copies of the book to others in the hope that they may find it as valuable as I do.
If you have come across this practice and/or already do it yourself, please do make a comment.