Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Morning Pages: dousing the Wicked Witch

When I read about something, that glowingly and gushingly proports to be wonderful and life changing, I'm often a little reticient to believe it. I like to try before I buy - or in these terms, try before I buy in. I was like that with acupuncture. Had read lots, heard others give amazing testimonials to its healing abilities, but I am forever part cycnic and part inquistive, a strange but compelling mix. After having acupuncture (it was the Japanese kind which does not involve needles - for those cringing at the thought) I was sold. I could feel the heat travelling slowly but most assuredly down the backs of my legs during the treatment, and the next day, I most definitely could feel that my pelvis had opened (we were trying to bring on labour!)

When Julia Cameron introduced 'The Morning Pages' in the Basic Tools chaper in The Artists Way I was a little reserved as to how they could have such a great impact on opening up creative blocks and helping rediscover your creativity. I thought about the years of journalling I'd done, and though they were a great means for sorting through they miasma in my mind, they were never really life changing ...just a life chronical.

What are the morning pages? Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of long hand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness ... They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.
Page 11-12 The Artists Way

I have for most of my life fought with the internal dialogue that goes on incessantly in my mind. Conversations, debates and arguments with others and myself; problem solving; draft creation for articles and stories - you name it. It's hard, nigh impossible, to turn it off. Thankfully after some counselling in 2003, and some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy the negative tape stopped playing - the one that subliminally, like 24 hour sleep teaching went 'I do not deserve to be loved', 'I am not good enough' - you get the gist! But nevertheless the monologue, and sometimes dialogue never shuts up and over time I've just got used to it. It loudest when I'm alone - especially when I'm out walking. I've decided that its Gemini sun, gemini rising.

The first thing I noticed last week when I began doing my Morning Pages was the internal voice stopped. It wasn't saying negative things, nor positive ... it was blissfully silent. How come? Anything that had been tying up my mind space each morning, was put down on paper. I came to realise within a few days, that journalling at night gave me the opportunity to put it down, record it, and reflect ... dreaming at night gave me a chance to process it, and finally the morning pages were like the blow off ... blown away on the tide of a breathe like dandelion seeds ... ahhhh. With the static gone, the wafts of original and creative thought dont have to be sucked into the stagnet electricity like dust particulars.

The voices were back this morning - loud, angry and clashing, swinging from wildy destructive to pathetically ambivalent. They were so loud and intense, I walked straight past the huge funeral directors without noticing it (and it takes up a whole block!) I went walking before I had a chance to do my pages this morning. Its walk, a little Fly Lady, make everyone breakfast and then the pages. So there was plenty of time for my over active mind to bend, stretch, minimise, maximise, personalise and then step back from the conversation I had with my mother on the phone last night. There was plenty of downloading necessary this morning ... the pages like a nondiscriminating sponge just sucked it all up - and left me with a clear mind. With a clear mind I've had a chance to really process, look inside, see parallels, paradoxes and repeated patterns and begin to make sense. I now have a starting point for healing ... and I hope over the weeks an avenue for healing will appear.

Also, since beginning my Morning Pages my dreams have become more vivid and fluid. I'm also remembering more of them, and in stream of consciousness style able to record them down in my morning pages ... which are mutilfunctional ... and can already understand why the morning pages become an essential part of people's life. I'm seeing patterns emerging death/endings and birth/beginnings - though I'm curious about that connatations of rhubarb in dreams?

There have been other suprising, unexpected and generally welcomed developments. I've been forced to create a morning routine so I can fit everything into a morning and still be able to leave the house at 9:00am with a freshly baked cake/slice if necessary. This has meant getting back into FlyLady http://www.flylady.net/ which is a housekeeping routine, that allows you to honour and love yourself by honouring and loving your home - yes very Virgo! It practical though - the 2007 motto is "progress not perfection" and I can be good at that. It also means that my partner has his toast and coffee prepared for him,waiting on the table when he gets out the shower (and tell me he's not a lucky man!) and most excitedly, I get a morning walk (something that I made a pledge to do after returning from our holidays - to mediatate and walk - the morning pages being a form of mediation that really suits me!)

Additonally I've been more intuned with Dylan and seeking out fun and varied things for him to do - we're escaping the house at every opporunity, and tomorrow we'll finally get to a toddler dancing class after wanting to go for more than 18 months. Being more connected with myself and my creativity, makes me want to be more connected with him ... and to encourage all of his talents.

Lastly - I've been able to cook dinner without a cookbook! This might sound a bit strange. I can't cook dinner unless EVERYTHING needed is either in the cupboard or the fridge, and I very rarely digress from the recipe. I'm not the type that has to have the cup measure of flour exact, but I'm not terribly original in the kitchen (most people I know, know me for the food I create - so this seems a little of a paradox!) I can't, from scratch, make up my own dishes. Tonight however - I discovered that upon tweaking the recipe I wanted to cook, that we were missing some key ingredients - I didn't throw my hands up in the air and pass the cheffing reins to my partner like I would have done in the past. I instead I thought creatively about another recipe and came up with chicken and green vegies in oyster sauce. I had to use the green vegies before tomorrow when we get our new box of vegies. So the combination of getting mystery boxes of vegies every week and feeling free to experiment is having payoffs in the kitchen also! The best thing though (other than its tasted yummy!) it was done in less than 20 minutes. The creative blocks are slowly melting away.

I imagine the creative blocks like the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz ... they are just waiting for me to find the inspiration (rather than desperation) to pick up a pail of water and toss if over them. And you know what - I'm grabbing the bucket now!
PS: Interestingly enough - Margaret Hamilton who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 'Wizard of Oz' shares the same 9th December birthday with my mother!


Catherine said...

Jodi the synchroncity of the fly lady thing is just weird.Almost included info to you about just that (flylady) in email just sent...lol.

Thanks for sharing the morning pages routine, may need to adopt it also.

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Dalissa 365 said...

This is fabulous, Jodi. I guess I really need to get up a half hour earlier but that's going to be so hard since I already get up at 6:30 am. I've been doing my pages when I could, sometimes in the afternoon and sometimes in the evening. And, it's relieving to hear that those conversations and voices in your head can stop after doing them. I've been kind of noticing that, too.