I love my Morning Pages. In fact, I’m going on four years of doing them. And yet, these days, I’m having a hard time sticking to this practice. This is not because I’m not finding the time or because I don’t feel like sitting down on my spot on the couch, opening my notebook and start scribbling. Each morning, I do this.
The trouble is that I have a hard time keeping my mind on the page. As I write, my thoughts start wandering off, bumping around between to-do’s and ideas for promoting my upcoming book. Harnessing this “monkey mind” is exactly what Natalie Goldberg says staying on the page is supposed to do. I guess I had not experienced the challenges of taming “monkey mind” before because, for the last four years that I’ve been doing Morning Pages, I have not been engaged in such an absorbing project like launching a book that has so many different moving parts that I need to keep tabs on.
So, these days, I wrestle with my mind every morning. I struggle to keep writing, to make it to the end of the second page because I know from experience that after the first page the deeper layer of what’s going on in my life reveals itself. That’s when new ideas pop up, or when I’ll have an insight I otherwise would not have arrived at had I not kept writing. This is another reason why Morning Pages are such a healthy practice: They help you be an active observer of your life rather than just someone who reacts to events.
I keep telling myself that now, more than ever, I need this practice to stay grounded and not become an author frantic about only one thing: promoting her book. So I fight to keep my pen on the page, sometimes just making lists of what the living room feels like or what I need to be doing once I’m done with the page. I fight to savor the moment and the quiet. I keep on writing.
I enjoyed this piece. My “morning pages” (I’ve kept to the practice, on and off, since 2000 when I first rec’d Cameron’s book from a friend) inevitably turn to To Dos, Wish Lists, doctor appts…yesterday, as I began, I remembered that my third-grader had Kung Fu in a half hour. I don’t necessarily steer myself away from this monkey mind – I think of it as a capture of any and all thoughts…and often work on my current project springs out of morning pages much more easily than out of a deliberate attempt to work on it. You’re right thought about the insights and layers that come with persisting through the exercise. Love your blog so far…eager to read more…
Thank you, Rachel! Glad to hear you’re sticking with your Morning Pages. For sure, mine also often morph into to-do lists, but once that’s all cleared away, the real substantive stuff emerges.
This is, admittedly, a practice I have not done.