8th December 2017
Last night I literally cried myself to sleep.
I am struggling to cope with the prospect of T being gone from my house.
He will leave a massive hole and I will be left alone.
I will be alone.
I am grieving, I think.
I cannot begin to understand how people deal with the loss of loved one.
Nothing will ever be the same again.
No more late night conversations happening between bedrooms.
No more having a pot of tea waiting when I get home from work.
He will just not be there.
I am alone and I am lonely.
One year ago today she sat on her bed and tearfully wrote her very first set of Morning Pages.
That morning, a week before her only son left her home for his own student digs at university, she was devastated.
She felt like she was drowning. The emotions were threatening to engulf her and pull her under the water.
She turned to Morning Pages as a solace and refuge.
One year later, she is still doing them.
She has filled 7 A4 manuscript books of 192 pages each.
That’s a lot of writing.
Something to celebrate.
This post is a celebration of her commitment and growth over the year.
If you are thinking is “she”, me? Yes, you’re right!
I’ve written about Morning Pages a lot this year in various blog posts: what they are and how they’ve helped me write. I won’t repeat all that. But perhaps you will join me in my celebration instead?
CELEBRATING: How have they helped me this year
If I’ve done nothing else this year, at least I can say that I stuck with the habit of writing my pages every morning. Woohoo!
First and foremost, I really believe they have helped me cope with the loss of my son’s reduced presence in my life. To work my way through the feelings of ‘empty nest syndrome’.
Secondly, writing the morning pages gives me a chance to adjust slowly to the day. I like that. I generally start out feeling sluggish and ready to go back to bed, but by the time I’m finished, I feel ready to face and start the day. It eases me slowly into being awake and I can dump all my thoughts down on paper.
Sometimes writing is slow. There are times when I don’t know what to write or I feel lazy. But I know that I must continue so that whatever angst or irritation that’s inside me will come out. Anything that I need to deal with will come out onto the page, as it needs to.
1st December 2018: My goodness, what would I do without these pages? It seems that so much happens here in a week – sometimes clarity – like this week; sometimes learning.
Finally, I think they are helping me to be calmer and less reactive. I’m less in “flight or fight mode”( i.e. not engaging the amygdala in the brain which triggers our stress responses) than I used to be. When I read back through the year’s writing, there have been times when things are not going to plan. But I’ve written that I have slept or remained calm in spite of the setbacks.
CELEBRATING: What I like about them
There is so much I like about them. In The Artists Way, Julia Cameron shares loads of reasons why they work for anyone who wants to find their creativity. I have boiled it down to three key things.
1. writing makes me aware
One thing I’ve been working on this year is being aware in the moment, not wallowing in the past or fretting about the future – two things I’m normally really good at. Julia believes that the “pages render us present in our life“.
I write, get all my joys, worries and concerns on paper and then forget about them, moving on with my day. The pages help me to ease into my day.
Even if I cannot manage to be present at any other point in my day, I can at least do it in the morning.
Maybe that’s why I feel more present in my life.
2. THEY ARE NOT TRIVIAL
Some days I write absolute drivel. But I know now that it doesn’t matter what or how I write. Just the self-discipline of showing up every day for a year shows commitment.
I have worked with some parts of me that I really don’t like (my shadows in Jungian terms). Because the pages are a safe space, just for me, I am no longer afraid to explore these bits of myself. I can always stop writing if it gets too much. But sometimes, I write more than 3 pages.
Obviously, I don’t sort everything out in one sitting, nor have I sorted everything out in one year. It’s a process and I can feel myself moving. For me, that’s the important bit.
3. I HAVE CHANGED MY MORNING ROUTINE
You should know, I am not a morning person! Yet I am motivated to wake up and get out of bed at the same time every day because of the pages. That in itself is a reason to celebrate!
I’m eager to settle down with my hot water and lemon, keen to write the date at the top of a fresh, clean page, to choose a pen for the day. To start writing and see comes out.
After I’ve done my three pages, I do a card reading and set an intention. I don’t feel grounded for the day until I’ve done that. It feels like I’ve set a focus for my day.
Here is my 7th December 2018 reflection on a year’s worth of morning pages:
They (the pages) have become like an old friend who I can say anything to. And there is comfort in knowing that I will always be heard on these pages. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to learn to use them this year. It means they will be part of who I am going forward, the most essential tool in my toolbox. Without them, I would not have had the raw material for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I would not have been able to work through so many things I have this year or make sense of the process I’ve been going through. They have been a metaphorical lifesaver.
This post is my way of honouring what I’ve done and sharing the impact they have had on me. Just as Julia Cameron promised they would!
I’d love to hear if anything you’ve done recently has had an impact on your life. Drop me a comment below.