Morning pages #100sharesproject 32/100

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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle

Friday 20 May 2016

32/100

I am often asked questions about how I journal. The topics range from subject matter

[What do you write about?] to technique [How did you make that page?]   I also get a lot of questions around how much time I spend journaling each day.   I hesitate to answer with a ton of detail, because at the end of the day, I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way to keep a journal.

How you journal depends on what you value. 

In my journals, I place high value on authenticity, healing & beauty.  Thus, my pages aren’t always a finished artistic product; they’re raw and part of my soul tending.  However, because it matters to me that my pages look good, I often find myself in a double bind.  The truth is that sometimes pages aren’t especially pretty because of learning curve, human error or uncomfortable subject matter.  So, I end up with a page that isn’t beautiful, but is born out of where I am.  I am learning to be okay with tension & paradox in my pages.

DSC_3520-2In analyzing my journaling, I have discovered that Beauty {borderline perfectionism?} has formed many of my habits {& often sabotages forward motion. More on that topic another day…}  Truth be told, the only true daily habit that I have is that I write in a journal every morning.  In Julia Cameron’s book,”The Artist’s Way”, there is a method for unblocking and processing called Morning Pages.  In this method, you write 3 long hand pages every morning and put them in an envelope and never look at them again.  In the beginning I wrote pages exactly as instructed, but as I unblocked and got honest, the discoveries were too numerous to file away or discard.  As angst moves out of the way, themes and global ideas emerge; important words and specific details rise to the top.

DSC_3519-1Over the years, I’ve modified my Morning Page usage.  I still write 3 pages {or some mornings for 30 min. straight.}  But I have adjusted slightly in order to catch the important.  I start out with a space for a “To Do” list.  I started adding the list to the actual pages because I find it very distracting to flip over to my calendar when I remember an action item.  Instead, I keep a running list in my journal and then transfer tasks to my working To Do list after writing.   It may seem inefficient to write twice, but for me it is more important to keep the flow going and switching over to other books or the computer was distracting or even worse, causing stalls.

I keep everything in one journal.  However, if I have a lot of words to work through, I use inexpensive composition notebooks.  Psychologically, there is a tremendous amount of freedom in writing without worrying about “messing up the pretty book”.  I start to obsess about perfection and method in my “real art journals” and, like with To-Do-list-distractions, perfectionism halts the creative process.   By not worrying about the journal or the content, my morning books are open & unfiltered.  It’s where I have found my true voice and freedom.

Using a journal as a container for ideas and truth telling is my number one practical tool for personal growth.

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Feel free to share your favorite journal habits in the comment section.  It’s always great to hear what is working for you.

BE in your life,

Betsy

By | 2016-10-19T14:20:24+00:00 May 20th, 2016|Uncategorized|8 Comments

About the Author:

I create containers for words and paint and I fill them. I craft safe, sacred spaces for people to wrestle, create, heal and shout from the mountain tops.   And I teach people to do all of these things for themselves.
  • ShaunaMeiri

    this is always a work in progress for me. Lately I feel as if I have been focusing too much to trying to make ‘art’ in my journal pages and letting some less ‘pretty’ elements go un-expressed and untended. I have cheap paper that I go to for just spilling lots of words, but that hasn’t been calling me as much lately as imagery and color and lines. the process has become very flexible but the fact that I do it always remains.

    • Shauna ~ Yes! the “less pretty” elements need to be voiced. That is what muddies things up on the soul level if it remains within. As you say, those elements need a place. They need to be expressed [validated] and tended. Making pages is nuanced and responsive now. Sometimes words on cheap paper…sometimes watercolor…sometimes lines or paint…always soul. The pages [in whatever form they are needed] are the foundation. Love you, sister!

  • I’m discovering it isn’t so much the paper that I write on, but the pens I use. My Bible study notebook started out as a composition notebook covered in cool paper. Then I stamped crowns and crosses all through it on the plain lined paper. I picked three colors of ink to use: red for the references, blue for the insights, and black for my personal wrestlings.

    Then I needed purple for definitions. And prayers started coming (what color should I use for the prayers?), and more words needed definitions, and what about the verses that I need to write directly on my pages, so I remember them? What color should they be?

    I ended up finding my favorite type of pen (Pilot G-2 gel pens) in 20 or so colors, with extra add-on packs of metallics. And now, I have every color I need.

    • Yes! The right pens and the right color coding system is so important to those of us who are highly visual. Thank you for sharing your process. I love that prayers and wrestlings have their own color. <3

  • Kathy Mercure

    Apart from your beautiful art, I have a somewhat similar practice, although you are more disciplined than I. My journal is a place to be guided by Spirit and receive messages from my long-dead mother who occasionally wafts a perfume we shared a love for, when she has something she wants me to hear. But, mostly, it is a place where I write to find out what I know. Because I do, I just don’t always want to hear.

    I’m going to share this on my storyteller facebook page, I love to showcase the journal practices of others. Thanks!

    • Thank you for sharing! I suppose I am disciplined about my practice. Sort of the way I’m disciplined about breathing. I must do it! Some days it feels life or death like breathing… It’s part of my soul tending. I love that you call your practice, “a place where I write to find out what I know.” YES!! so very true.

  • best thing I ever did was to include a to do list with the pages because so much comes up during the writing, ideas, and action points, and dreaming.

    • So much does come up during the writing. It’s like when you first turn on a faucet. First there’s all the gunky, rusty water that just has to make its way out. And then the flow starts and you have to catch it! Am grateful for lists.