Apparently, Daylight Saving began this weekend in the United States.
I have been a bit of a recluse, working on finishing up the first draft of a novel, so my mind has been occupied with world-building, filling plot holes, and refining my characters. Because of this, I haven’t exactly been paying attention to the news.
I only noticed when my watch vibrated Sunday morning, since I was startled, and the world seemed unusually quiet.
I tend to wake up naturally between 6:00 and 6:45, depending on how late I went to bed the night before, so when my alarm gets to do its job it’s often because of something uncommon: a road trip, an early flight, a special event…or Daylight Saving.
I chuckled as I snuggled into my fluffy robe and made my way into the living room, where I start every morning with writing, grateful to have a rechargeable reading light since it was a bit darker than the last few days.
I like the quiet of dawn, listening to the birds and the roosters sing; rejoicing in the precious moment.
On days when I am feeling extra motivated, I turn on the copper-coloured stovetop kettle, mindful to turn it off before it whistles so that I don’t wake up my partner, and make myself a cup of tea.
I sit on the corner of the couch, right by the open window as the sky shifts from black to dark blue, to grays and yellows, watching the sun rise, the first rays weaving playfully through the trees.
I grab my notebook and my blue fountain pen from the table.
My sweet puppy, Hummer, often hops onto the couch next to me and in a matter of seconds, he is softly snoring, cuddled up against my hip.
I began this ritual of morning pages a couple of years ago when a group of friends and I embarked on my first round of working through Julia Cameron’s brilliant book, The Artist’s Way.
One of the nonnegotiables of the course was to write three pages every morning, no matter what, no matter how.
Some of my friends confessed to using a smaller notebook to get through it faster, others to writing two pages instead of three, and I admit when in a bit of a rush I made my handwriting substantially bigger. You gotta do what you gotta do to get it done, some days.
I fell off of the practice at some point after the first 12-week course ended, which wasn’t surprising. I had journaled my whole life, but I am not the best at keeping myself on a tight schedule for long.
As I returned the next year to my group of friends and we engaged in the course again, I re-engaged in the habit, and it finally stuck.
As a writer committed to writing (go figure), morning pages have become not only an integral part of my morning ritual but the most essential one.
I haven’t skipped a single day in over a year. No matter how early I have to get up to get it done, no matter if I am feeling chipper and energized or if I feel super rushed, I do the pages, period.
The point of morning pages is not to write the next New York Times best-selling novel; honestly, it’s not even to journal your heart out about your deepest desires (although don’t let me stop you).
Morning pages are about putting down all the rubbish and clutter accumulated in the mind that hinders your ability to focus, create, and engage mindfully in your day. As Julia Cameron says:
“Think of your pages like a whisk broom. You stick the broom into all the corners of your consciousness. If you do this first thing in the morning, you are laying out your track for the day. Pages tell you of your priorities. With the pages in place first thing, you are much less likely to fall in with others’ agendas. Your day is your own to spend. You’ve claimed it. If you wait to write pages at night, you are reviewing a day that has already happened and that you are powerless to change.”
Some mornings I write things like: “I really don’t want to be doing this right now, I should be washing the dishes instead…” and yet, there I am, writing the pages, staying present.
A morning ritual is an opportunity to take care of ourselves and set ourselves up for success.
In yoga, it is often known as a sadhana, the personal spiritual practice.
Sadhana is the daily ritual of becoming present and aware of how I feel before I engage with the world.
My love for morning pages arises from the realization that I can write every day, simply by choosing to. It also allows a pause before the rush of the day, and an opportunity to remind myself of my values so that I can live in better alignment.
I can find all the reasons and excuses not to stick to my ritual and my routine, or I can choose to remind myself of all the reasons why I want to show up and write.
For some inspiration, check out this interview of Waylon and Julia Cameron here.