Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

More Morning Pages Thoughts

We have art in order not to perish of truth.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

As we prepare for what may be one of the most challenging steps on our journey of artistic recovery, the spotlight is on the importance of the morning pages. Julia states over and over that they are not optional, or only when the mood strikes us. She strongly urges that they should become a daily habit.

I know how hard this is, and not only because of scheduling. The morning pages, as I have been discussing, have an uncanny way of revealing truths to us; sometimes truths we would rather not see. Julia explains, “I have noticed that many tend to neglect or abandon the pages [or suddenly become inexplicably busy! – B.] whenever an unpleasant piece of clarity is about to emerge. If we are, for example, very, very angry but not admitting it, then we will be tempted to say we feel ‘okay about that.’ The morning pages will not allow us to get away with this evasion. So we tend to avoid them.

“If we have the creeping feeling that our lover is not being totally honest with us,” she writes, “the morning pages are liable to bring this creepy possibility up—and with it, the responsibility for an unsettling conversation. Rather than face this mess, we will mess up on doing the morning pages.

“By contrast, if we are suddenly and madly in love, the morning pages may seem threatening. We don’t want to puncture the fragile and shiny bubble of our happiness. We want to stay lost in the sea of a blissful us, rather than be reminded that there is an I in the we (or an ‘eye’ in the we) that is temporarily blinded.”

She sums up, “In short, extreme emotions of any kind – the very thing that morning pages are superb for processing – are the usual triggers for avoiding the pages themselves…

“Chekov advised, ‘If you want to work on your art, work on your life.’ That’s another way of saying that in order to have self-expression, we must first have a self to express. That is the business of the morning pages: ‘I, myself, feel this way…and that way … and this way… No one else need agree with me, but this is what I feel.

As you may recognize by now, the lines between morning pages and prayer may seem a bit blurry. More about that next week!

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  • May 8, 2009, 6:36 pm Laurel

    I just read your Wednesday post and now I’m blinking back tears. (I know, just let it go – but it’s allergy season – don’t need to provoke the old sinuses further) You wrote:

    “We are recovering creatives. Which means that we have spent who knows how many years living in rationalization and denial. We have adapted to calling ourselves “okay” in the face of tremendous loss, pain, and anger. Most of us are very, very good at talking ourselves down from the sorrow of deferred dreams, ignoring unhappy relationships, swallowing hurt, and calling it survival. We are experts at our procrastinations, our ability to self-deceive, and our need to think we are in control, while continuing to sabotage our secret divine desires. “

    Talk about your wow moment – For heaven’s sake – of course – it IS what we do to survive. A psychologist once said I had very good coping skills. It’s just dawned on me that this wasn’t necessarily a compliment.

    It seems that this is the year to get the proverbial whack on the side of the head with some of this stuff. Wow again.

    Yesterday I was reading Pam Corwin’s blog, post from April 15th (another Wednesday – coincidence?) and a gem popped up in her discussion about not liking to do things she wasn’t good at:

    “So did I learn my lesson and shake off my fears?
    Did I get over myself and take a life drawing class?
    Um. No.
    But today’s a new day. I made a vow to myself to Cut That Out Right Now Young Lady. Dance with discomfort, enjoy the first messy versions and and relax a little. Get over myself. And I’ve recorded it here so it’s official, with you all as my witnesses.
    Don’t let me off the hook.”

    So Beth, Is it ok to tell the universe OK – I get it now?

  • May 8, 2009, 7:08 pm Thalia

    I don’t know. I’m finding that the ‘easy’ days, the days when I’m not figuring something out and feel fine, are *much* harder. Because I don’t particularly have anything to say.

    On the other hand when I’m working through something I can write and write, and it is in fact my first impulse to go write when I am troubled. I’m really introverted, so it’s not like my first thought is to talk it out with someone. Yesterday I wrote 19 pages in my morning pages. I also have a dream journal, a regular journal, an art journal, and a private blog, all of which I contribute to on a regular basis, so I have to say morning pages really feel like *enough already.* Also I find my mind is just kinda blank when I first get up. In the evening is when it wants clearing out.

  • May 9, 2009, 7:37 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Thank you BOTH for sharing your process. I love that it can be so different for different folks, and yet at the core, we are all facing the same kinds of challenges.

    Laurel, thanks especially for “outing yourself” here for the first time. I am so glad you are participating with us.
    – Beth