The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is something I call Morning Pages: three pages of longhand, morning writing about absolutely anything. They are to be written first thing in the morning, and shown to no one. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. I like to think of them as windshield wipers, swiping away anything that stands between you and a clear view of your day.
The pages may seem petty and trivial— “I forgot to buy birdseed. I’m not impressed with the new dishwashing liquid. I need to renew my AAA membership. I’m out of printer paper. I need to call my brother back...” but they forge the trail for further adventures in creativity.
The pages notify both us and the Universe precisely where we’re at. I often think of them as a form of meditation for hyperactive Westerners. Another way to think of them is as a tiny whisk-broom that dislodges dust from every corner of our life. Many times, people resist Morning Pages, claiming lack of time, only to find them increasingly doable as empty time looms on the horizon.
Make no mistake: Morning Pages are ideal for retirees.
“Julia, I have no time” gives way to “Julia, I have plenty time— and I know how I want to use it.” I explain that the pages are like a spiritual radio kit. As we write out our resentments, fears, joys, delights, dreams and wishes, we are notifying the Universe who we really are. As we write freely, we find ourselves freer in our lives, seeing choice points in our day that we may not have noticed before. We begin to hear the Universe responding back to us. We have hunches and intuitions that tell us what our next steps should be. We are led carefully and well. Often, Morning Pages are a tough love friend. If we are avoiding action on an important issue, the pages will nag us until we comply with their suggestions.
“Julia, I did Morning Pages and cornered myself into sobriety,” I have often been told.
“Julia, I did Morning Pages and found myself willing to take a rigorous look at my eating and exercise habits. I’ve lost fifty pounds.”
It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, page after page, without being moved to constructive action.