I’ve taken up a practice called “morning pages”. One of the first things I do each day is to grab my “morning pages” book and write everything down that is swirling around in my head. I can have a myriad of thoughts from the moment I open my eyes. I’m not sure how men have the ability to think nothing, but I’ve been informed they can. I on the other hand am never thinking about nothing. Therefore articulating my early morning thoughts and dialogue is highly beneficial.
For 20 minutes I jot down every conscious thought that enters my head. From the deeply philosophical “what am I doing with my life” thoughts, the questions and dialogue I have with God, or what are the kids doing today, did I make that dentist appointment, to; its freezing but I really should get moving and go for a run.
The purpose of these “morning pages” is to clear my head of all the chatter in my thought life, leaving space for creative and fresh thought and revelation. When we write things down we have to articulate everything. When we do this consistently there are several things that occur:
1.We get clarity about what we are thinking about, rather than a collection of jumbled and often rushed anxious thoughts 2.It slows us down so that we are forced to “think about what we are thinking about. We get to do a daily checkup. 3.In being more aware of all of our thoughts, we leave space for creativity to surface. we de-clutter and gain focus. We retrieve the parts of ourselves we have lost. 4.If we consistently engage in morning pages or honest reflection and examination of our thoughts in some way, our desires and dreams start to come to the surface and are revealed and articulated on the page right in front of us.
When we write down those often seemingly random thoughts that flit across our minds, a common theme or pattern can arise. Our own hearts are revealed. “I wonder if I should take an art class, I wish I could do such in such, I’d love to visit that place, I wish I wasn’t so stressed.”
In our fast paced and stressful lives we can get very accomplished at squishing our passions under a mountain of work, practicalities, family commitments, and even fear of doing something different.
But what I write in a somewhat rambling style of whatever comes into my head in that 20 minutes uncovers the secrets of my heart and mind. My hidden feelings become known. Concerns, appointments I keep putting off, checkups, friends I’ve lost contact with, spiritual hunger, trips I’d would like to take, new ideas, reminders or promptings on relationships, God speaking to me. It all appears on those 3 little pages over consecutive days and weeks.
Morning pages leave no corner of our life unexamined. Our dreams, our hopes, our disappointments, our pain – all of these a day at a time, page by page, an issue at a time, causes us to become intimate with ourselves, and this in turn allows us to become intimate with others. Why? Because when we are comfortable in our own skin, we are more comfortable to another’s scrutiny. Relationships improve and we are healthier.
Some people explain the process of articulating our thoughts each morning as “a vacuuming process, it pokes the pages into every corner of our current life and when we’re done with them our consciousness is clean and fresh and ready for new ideas”.
I’ve realised that we usually know exactly what to do; we know deep down what we want in life, we can hear from God if we listen, and He is trying through all the noise to prompt, lead, and direct us into health, fitness, peace, whole relationships and blessing. In my morning pages God is consistently speaking loud and clear. I simply have to look at what I’ve written, follow promptings, especially when they are repeated, and be honest about my inner world.
Try it for yourself: First thing in the morning take a notebook and write down for 3 pages everything that enters your thoughts. Every thought, write it down. You’ll discover it calms and quiets your mind and body, and enables you to listen and hear God speaking. Over time you’ll notice the promptings, reminders, your heart being healed and the uncovering of long hidden dreams and things you’ve forgotten.
God reveals the secrets of our hearts, but He often uses very simple means such as the daily ramblings of words on a page to bring us fresh revelation of who we are and who He is.
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;” (Psalm 139:23)
Be blessed as you discover yourself and God afresh.
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