Transform Your Life One Morning at a Time
Julia Cameron’s classic practice is much more powerful if you choose the right God.
Rise and Sort of Shine by Jesse Zhang
Every morning, as close to waking as possible, write three pages about absolutely anything. These single-sided pages are handwritten, and for your eyes only. I suggest using 8.5 x 11-inch paper—anything smaller, and you will crimp your thoughts. Please do write by hand—it is not the same when we write on a device, even though we may feel we can go “faster.” I am often asked whether this must be done before coffee. As a coffee lover myself, I would never get between someone and their morning Joe. I would say, though, do not spend 45 minutes brewing the perfect cup. Get to the pages as quickly as possible. The faster you begin writing, the greater the effect of the pages will be.
Do not show these pages to loved ones or well-meaning friends. These pages are private, completely free, and strictly stream-of-consciousness. They perform a type of spiritual chiropractic; they clear us for the day ahead. They are not meant to be “writing” or even journaling, where we are more likely to explore a single topic in a structured fashion. Writing Morning Pages clears the psychic debris standing between us and the day ahead. Done consistently, it will alter the trajectory of our lives.
Listening after she posed a question in her Morning Pages, she often heard wisdom coming from somewhere beyond herself.
A Form of Prayer
Writing Morning Pages is a form of prayer. We are telling the universe—or God, or a higher power, or the force, or the Dao, name it what you will—exactly what we like, what we dislike, what we want more of, what we want less of. We are contacting an inner resource that guides us carefully and well. Many of us would shy away from prayer. But, writing our pages, we may discover ourselves doing something that resembles praying. We contact an unsuspected inner resource. It doesn’t matter what name we give to this force. What does matter is that we listen to it. And this listening, done daily, brings startling results. “Please guide me,” we pray, and soon we receive guidance. It may come as a hunch or intuition. It may come as a conversation with a stranger. The point is that guidance does come, and if we are open to listening, we hear it.
At first, this idea of guidance may seem like wishful thinking or coincidence. But as we practice being receptive, it comes to be a relied-upon part of life. “What should I do about my partner’s negativity?” we may query. The answer may be, Just love him. Don’t try to fix him. All prayers are heard, and all prayers are answered, although sometimes the answers are subtle. We may be guided in an unexpected direction. Call X, we may hear—an unlikely answer, we think, and so we pray again. Call X, our intuition persists. So we pray yet again. Call X, we hear again, until finally, obediently, we do call X, who unexpectedly opens a door for us, perhaps by expressing a need for our assistance. Through Morning Pages, we practice tuning our receptors. It’s as if we have built a spiritual radio kit able to pick up messages from what we might call “the source.” Again, it doesn’t matter what you call this helping energy. It only matters that you give it a chance to help you.
No Belief Required
Veronica was battling depression and a number of life stressors. I suggested that she ask for guidance in the areas that baffled her, but she was deeply uncomfortable with the idea. “I’m an atheist,” she told me. I assured her that this was OK. She didn’t need to change her beliefs or call what she heard “guidance” if she wasn’t comfortable with that term. She needed only to ask a question in her pages, and listen for an answer.
“Well, I’m in pain,” she told me, “so I’ll try it.”
Listening after she posed a question in her Morning Pages, she often heard wisdom coming from somewhere beyond herself. “What should I do about my son-in-law?” she asked about a troublesome relationship. Be generous with him, the answer came back. “What should I do about my chronic overspending?” she inquired. Keep a log of money in and money out, she was advised. No matter what the question, her pages held an answer—or they pointed the way toward one. Try walking, came the advice when she complained about being overweight. Try walking, came the response again when she complained that her ideas seemed flat. As you become more active, your ideas will come into focus. You have many ideas; you just need to access them.
And so Veronica, obedient to her intuition, undertook a habit of walking. Sure enough, she found herself feeling more alert, more vibrant and alive. Her depression lifted as she found herself tapping an “unsuspected inner resource,” as she called it. “Whatever it is,” she says now, “I appreciate it.”
Her huge shift in perspective was not lost on Veronica. Although she wouldn’t phrase it this way, she is truly experiencing a spiritual awakening—a large psychic change from the negative to the positive.
Design Your Creativity God
Our childhood God may be very different from the God we now believe in—or wish to believe in. Working quickly, list 10 traits of your childhood God.
My childhood God was:
5. Etc. . . .
Then, list 10 traits of a creativity God that you yourself would design.
I would love my God to be:
5. Etc. . . .
Now that you have designed your creativity God, try asking for your God’s help. Some like to write out a question at night and then listen for an answer in the morning. Some go out on a walk with a question in mind. Perhaps you enjoy writing your question in your Morning Pages and listening for the answer. Perhaps you will try all three. The point is to experiment with open-mindedness. The answers that you hear may surprise and enlighten you.