Morning Pages

I recently wrote a blog post 'Being Alone VS Feeling Lonely'. I wrote it purely as a braindump because I was frustrated at so people telling me that being alone is equivalent to being anti-social. To my surprise, that blog post was very well received. So I thought, instead of just posting about traveling and eating, I shall publish different topics like this more frequently too - deeper shit and personal.  

For those who know me, I'm quite a pen and paper person despite having my hands glued to my phone or laptop most of the time. I have this weird obsession of needing to write my to do lists, game plans, life goals, motivational quotes in my journal, random scrap papers or post it notes. It's like...if it's digital, it's invalid; if it's physical and tangible, it's valid and it needs my attention!

Back in 2016, I wrote this introductory blog post that revealed this habit of mine: My Story of Journaling

Apart from a bullet journal which I use relatively religiously, I also love doing brain barfs from time to time - be it on my blog, on Penzu (online private diary platform that I started using not too long ago) and even just on pieces of loose paper.

I used to have a journal that I would write in nearly every single day and would use rubber stamps and stickers to decorate it, but due to my crazy schedule last year (read story here), I just fell out of the habit. Nevertheless, from time to time, whenever it's necessary I would still look for an outlet to pen my thoughts, I'd get it done.  

As I mentioned in the blog post of 'Being Alone VS Feeling Lonely', it is said that the human brain has over 60,000 thoughts per day. Most of the time we only deal with our conscious thoughts and are ignorant of the subconscious thoughts which are actually the engine that shapes our reality. So it is crucial to know what is going on within your head. Your job is to magnify the positive, prune the vines of negativity, learn what you need to learn from it and move on to create better thoughts. 

Recently, I have been feeling as if there are a bunch of unfiltered thoughts flying around in circles within my brain. I couldn't get into the meditative zone whenever I sat down to meditate and that's when I knew that something wasn't right.

Life has been hectic lately, I have been running in and out without any intention setting of the day. The clock ticked, the days passed without me noticing. In Chinese, there's a proverb 无头苍蝇, which by its literal translation means a "headless fly". It is claimed that a fly can still survive and even fly around after having its head chopped off but without its eyes, it can't see where it's going. This proverb is used to describe someone who "flies" around directionless/aimless - in a nutshell, the version of me in the past few days, or even weeks!

Somehow, something in me tells me to pour everything internal onto paper. Not on Penzu, not by typing it out in a Word document but really allow my hand to ache from the writing. I took out a new booklet and started writing my version of Morning Pages.

For those who don't know, the writing of Morning Pages was introduced by Julia Cameron from the book The Artists' Way. Personally, I have never read the book before but I did watch a few videos on Youtube about it so I know how it works.  

Let me forewarn you, Morning Pages is simple but it is not easy! 

First, grab a book (be it a decent journal or a cheap notebook), every morning, fill up 3 pages completely by writing longhand. Don't filter your thoughts, don't decorate the book, just spill everything. That's it. Even if you have nothing to write, you can write "I don't know" until you fill up 3 pages. The goal is to fill up 3 pages everyday.

As for me...I know myself too well. Once I get annoyed at something, I'd abandon it all together. I am guilty for not following the rules of Morning Pages but I'm also the type of person who breaks the rules and make my own command (put the blame on Mulan for being my role model). Thus, the only rule that I set for myself is to write every single day, without the need to make it 3 full pages and being restricted to write in the morning in order for me to maintain this habit. My rationalisation is that I ought to aim to run my first ever 1km before planning to run a 10km marathon...Well, that's just me though...Much rather to start small than to not start at all...  

For the first few days, I only wrote a few lines because I didn't know what to write. I was literally moving my to do list from my bullet journal into my Morning Pages to make it appear as if I did write something that's worthwhile...Obviously that's a stupid attempt. Just like the effort of taking your pants off to fart (I'm translating another Chinese proverb, but you get the gist). It wasn't until today I realized that I really needed to declutter my brain and no matter how much my wrist was aching, I kept at it and managed to write about 5 pages in one sitting of 45 minutes. 

What I wrote surprised me and also disgusted me...It's not all unicorns and marshmallows but I really did keep it real and honest to myself. The thing about your thoughts is that it might be a major issue of life or it might be a small idea that you had or even some (tiny) memory from the past, if not dealt with, you never know what type of distorted avalanche it will become someday. 

I am writing this blog post right after I finished writing 5 pages. My writing juice is still flowing after all that because I knew I had cleared up the clogged drains of my brain and that's why I'm in the trying-too-hard-writer zone, but a blog post is better than no blog post, right? :p

What I am getting at is that Morning Pages prompts you to let go off everything - judgments, fear, avoidance, stupidity and just go all out with your pen and paper. I read this line on the Little Coffee Fox"write, and the truth will fall out of your pen" - that really sums up Morning Pages perfectly.

As time goes by, you will get to the core of the onion (ie your brain and your thoughts) after dealing with each layer honestly. Gary Vaynerchuck (an entrepreneur and motivational speaker whom I look up to) says all the time, "self-awareness is the key". You get to know yourself better through this process of being honest and facing all thoughts of yours head on. In time, this helps in boosting your confidence, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, obtaining a new perspective to deal with things in life, serving as a therapy for past traumatic incidents and etc. You can't fix what you don't know and that's why Morning Pages is a good place to begin.

Let me know if you are already a Morning Pages person or will you be trying it out? I'd love to know!

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