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How’s your January coming? If you’re already feeling a little stuck in your midlife mess, I’m here to help. If the January blues have you feeling ‘cluttered-up’ inside, you need to write morning pages.
We’re just a few days into 2020 and I wanted to tell you about something new that I’ve started and thought you may want to jump in with me!
Do you keep a journal? Do you write in a journal to clear your head or boost your creativity?
If not, let me just ask you this….. Are you feeling restless in your new very empty nest, fearful of trying something new? Wondering who you even are any more? Anxious about family or marriage issues?
Well, me too. To all of that.
I’ve been feeling restless. Ill at ease. Unsettled.
I don’t know if it’s because my hormones are all over the place (thank you, menopause). Or that my hubby is going through a super crazy time at work. Or that I’m concerned about my adult kids’ decisions about a multitude of things. Or that I’m far away from my aging dad who seems to need me more and more. And on…and on…….
I have a lot of SHTUFF right now.
So, with the new year, I’m rereading a fantastic book about a technique to clear my head and figure things out within myself. It’s called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Now before you balk and say you’re not an artist, and that this book won’t help you, I beg to differ. While Cameron wrote this initially to help artists (of any genre) to dig themselves out of their proverbial ruts, her ideas and principles will help anyone.
Basically, the concept is this: Every morning you spend some time free writing whatever comes into your head. Let me repeat. You write down anything that comes into your head. Um, that’s it.
Just to clarify, writing morning pages is not really a process about journaling, per se. Instead, it’s about clearing out your own head. It’s about getting out of your own way.
Looking to redefine yourself in this brand new year? Let me send you my FREE printable 20 Ways to ReDefine Yourself. It’s found in my Resource Library along with tons of other helps for your midlife journey. Just shoot me your email at the bottom of this post.
We all have baggage.
Us menopausal mamas ‘gotta lotta’ stuff rattling around up there. A LOT. And sometimes all that stuff can cripple us.
All that baggage can hinder whatever progress we want to make……to try new things and take some new chances.
What is it that’s blocking you from trying something new? Odds are you probably don’t even know. (If we knew, we’d fix it, right?)
Let me just say that everyone has some baggage. Hurts. Worries. Fears. They all act as walls that clutter up space in our heads. We dwell in them. Somehow we feel protected by them.
How about this? In this brand new year, let’s commit to setting down those bags of clutter that are very comfortable hanging out in our brains. Let’s leave them in 2019. Let’s clear them from our heads.
Writing morning pages will help you do just that.
How to write morning pages.
Here it is. Brace yourself for these very detailed instructions.
Here they are:
You wake up. While it’s still quiet, you write.
You don’t have to invest in a pretty journal. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t since no one’s going to read it. Not even you. I’m sure you’ve got a spiral in your house somewhere. Any paper will do.
This exercise is not about crafting beautiful prose for all the world to see. Not at all. Your words may not even be coherent. And they aren’t for anyone else to see.
Here’s the trick. You cannot think too much about what you’re writing. You’re simply going to write from a stream of consciousness. Keep your pen moving for 3 pages. Then, you stuff them into a large envelope and put them away.
If you have to write over and over that you can’t think of anything to write, do it. Just keep your pen moving. For three pages.
While it may not happen at the beginning of this writing exercise, eventually ideas will surface that surprise you. You will learn things about your past hurts or fears for the future. It may be that when all the needless ‘thought clutter’ is gone, these more important emotions will surface.
Morning pages clear the clutter.
We live in a media driven world that never allows processing! Our feeds, whether they be (always) breaking news on TV, or social media, or even the increasing needs of loved ones, all drive data into our brains. BUT, we aren’t allowed the time to dig into one thought when it’s time for the next hit of information.
We aren’t allowed to process……anything!!
We have so much information rattling around (most of it useless) that we are literally living on overload ALL the time.
Guess what overload leads to? Yep, you guessed it. Depression. Anxiety. Panic disorders. I’ve seen this happen in my own life and in the lives of my loved ones. Our brains are overloaded and we don’t even know why we are anxious.
We’ve got to stop and process. We’ve got to let our brains do what it’s supposed to do. This is where morning pages can heal.
Writing my thoughts (in a stream of consciousness manner) every morning forces me to clean up all the random thoughts in my head. It allows me to pull them out, one by one and think about each one with as much time as it takes to write them down. And really, that’s all the time it takes to make them disappear.
I’ve found my brain becomes just like my teenager’s room when she allows the clutter to pile up. Everything is out of place and it’s just unnerves her. She can’t study, and eventually it affects her mood. The clutter demands attention.
Simply put, the discipline of writing morning pages is the quiet, distraction-free daily tidying-up of our brains. We put the outstanding thoughts in the places where they belong.
Morning pages dig up magic.
While I’m not sure about the neurological reasoning behind physically writing your thoughts, I do know that this works. It works for clearing anxiety. It works for clearing blocks that hinder the creative process.
Somehow opening my brain and pouring all the ‘stuff’ out onto a page does something to my psyche. It just does.
My grammar doesn’t matter, and my handwriting is generally poor. But, somehow every morning I am emptying some of the baggage, the scraps and pieces of my life that clutter my brain, onto a page that then goes away. I am free.
It also forces me to slow my thinking down enough so that I can write the words. As I write, I must ponder the logic of my thinking. Good or bad. Sometimes I remember that feelings are not always facts. They’re just feelings. Sometimes they are clutter.
And if you’re not not there yet, let me warn you that these menopausal days seem to be steeped in feelings. Strap yourself in, mamas.
I’m discovering that the process of pouring out my brain every morning is way more cathartic and satisfying than I ever imagined. While I’m adding some discipline, I’m also clearing some baggage that just clutters up everything up there.
A brand new year needs some brand new thinking! Can I get an amen?
So, join me in writing morning pages and digging up some clarity in your midlife. You just might discover some hidden sanity in your midlife mess.
Don’t forget to sign up for my FREE printable 20 Ways to Redefine Yourself just below along with forever access to my ever growing Resource Library that’s full of help and ideas for your midlife journey!