Do you write? I love to write, and I’ve been really trying to build a Morning Pages habit over the past few months, with limited success.
Anyway, over the past week or so, I’ve been trying something new. To begin my Morning Pages, instead of waiting for my brain to form the words I need, I start with lists.
I have no real rules for these 10 Things, except that I do them. They can be Things That Brought Me Pleasure (or Made Me Grateful) Yesterday, Things That Are Known To Bring Me Pleasure Even If I Haven’t Experienced Them Lately, Big Things I Desire But Have No Idea How They’ll Ever Happen, Little Things That I Want To Happen, or whatever I think of.
Because it’s important to acknowledge the good things that happen in your life. Sometimes it’s even just nice for you to remind yourself that they happened.
But also, scientists have studied the effect of gratitude practices on people, and in one study, they found that “daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Additionally, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, was more likely to help others, exercised more regularly and made more progress toward personal goals. According to the findings, people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved.”
For people that are often anxious, it’s also helpful to remind yourself that your needs are being met.
Your pleasure matters. Period. It makes life worth living.
Your body digests better and assimilates nutrients more effectively when you enjoy your meals. Your body craves pleasure; it’s one of your highest motivations and it gives your life value and meaning.
Start acknowledging things that bring you pleasure. Keep them in the forefront of your mind. Oftentimes your brain fires the same way at a memory as it does in the moment it experiences it.
Because you want things.
You want physical things, you want events to happen a certain way, people to behave a certain way, you want tasks completed by a House Elf, you want time, and a million other things. And if you never say them, they can’t ever happen. It’s important for you to put a premium on the fact that you want things.
Wanting them is enough. It qualifies them to be put on the list.
These lists can be as detailed or as simple as you want them to be. It’s up to you.
It’s important to note that none of these things is designed to diminish any hard stuff you’re going through. Just because you’re grateful to have a roof over your head doesn’t mean you should push away feelings of angst about something else. These lists exist inside their own little bubbles.
At this moment, we are not talking about bringing these desires and pleasures into your life, or bringing them in greater volume and force. This is just acknowledgement. This is just you not burying these things, and letting them air out in the bright sunlight.
An important caveat of Morning Pages from Julia Cameron is that those pages are yours to do with as you find appropriate. If you have a beautiful journal or notebook and you want to save all these lists, do it. If you want to burn the pages after you write it, light ’em up! You can leave comments here with instructions for me to delete the comments (or post them!)
Take these out of the recesses of your mind and bring them into the light.
Give it a go this week and let me know how you fare.