Thursday, 30 January 2014

Julia Cameron and her Morning Pages

Okay, hands up, everyone who's been churning a problem around in your mind recently, chewing over an issue repeatedly, running into the same old road blocks in your life day after day or having the same endless dialogue with yourself and getting nowhere. Yeah, we've all been there. In fact, it's where we all reside most of the time. So, what do we do about it? Well, Julia Cameron is one of my all-time heroines, and her practice of writing Morning Pages has been saving me for the last 20 years!

She is someone who seems to embody all the things I'm shooting for right now: authenticity, creativity, grace, joy, awareness, strength and much more. I can't remember when I was first introduced to her most seminal tome The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self — it just feels like it has always been in my orbit, and I would like to thank whoever it was (probably my mother!). It changed my life. Really.

One of the tools that Julia advocates is Morning Pages. They are the best and fastest way I know to check in with myself and get back on track. You simply commit to writing, long-hand, three pages of A4 every morning, uncensored. Just write whatever comes into your head and keep writing til you've filled the three pages, even if it's "I don't know what to write." Sounds crazy, works brilliantly — and it's so simple. It doesn't take very long for the pattern to emerge and then you are much better equipped to proceed wisely. You really are your own best guide!

Her second book in the series, Walking in This World: Spiritual Strategies for Forging Your Creative Trail, picks up where The Artist's Way leaves off. My favourite tool from this book is the Weekly Walk. You are supposed to do this alone, but I cheated and asked my friend Loralie if she wanted to join me as a regular thing. That was nine years ago and we never missed a walk unless one of us was sick or on holiday. It became a hugely important touchstone for both of us — a safe space to explore ideas, figure ourselves out and be 100% supported in our respective journeys. She has just moved away and her absence has left me feeling somewhat untethered and missing her terribly.

Often, when this happens, I find myself turning to Julia Cameron's wisdom for some guidance and some grounding. How can I get back on track? Which tools are the ones that will help me the most in this situation? She always comes up with the goods and I have faith that this time will be no different.

I am currently working my way through The Prosperous Heart: Creating A Life of 'Enough', and, before she moved, I know Loralie had secured a copy of The Artist's Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children. [And here's how "in the zone" working with Julia's techniques makes you: just as I was typing that sentence, Loralie emailed me! This is not so remarkable until you know that she has almost no internet access at the moment and is many, many time zones away, so it really was quite a "coincidence"!!]

P.S. My best friend Denise confessed to me a couple of months ago that she hates Morning Pages. Hates them! Can you imagine? I couldn't, but then there are lots and lots of ways to access that peaceful place that moves us forward, so I'd say do give Morning Pages a go, but if they are not for you, please no guilt! There will be something else that comes along and scoops you up…just keep paying attention so you recognise it when it suggests itself to you!

P.P.S. Ha, ha, in another In The Zone "coincidence", Denise called me this very morning, totally unaware that I had been working on this post, to say that she had just been doing…. yup, you guessed it: Morning Pages! I think I'd better post this and let Julia continue to work her magic...!

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