Recently I’ve been feeling rather scattered, not as whole as I do at other times, parts of me—parts of my self—blown here and there without a lot of coherence. So I breathed a small sigh of relief when I read the recent Psychology Today piece “Is Your Brain Like an iPhone?” by Robert Kurzban, author of the new book, Why Everyone (Else) Is A Hypocrite (the article contains a nice literary reference to Walt Whitman, by the way):
“[T]he idea that there are ‘multitudes’ in your mind helps to explain various kinds of inconsistencies. If there’s a lot of applications in your head, then they can be doing different things at the same time; oddly, this means that different applications can have different and contradictory beliefs in them. Further, suppose that, just like a smart phone, different applications are in the foreground or background at different times. If behavior depends on which applications are currently active, then individuals can seem to be very different people at different times, depending on all the details of which modules are currently active.” Read More
While the article reassures me that my scattered self is not necessarily a sign of approaching senility or lack of a meaningful integrity, I still want to feel more whole, more solid, less like a collection of apps and more analog.
That’s where morning pages come in. Recently, Christi Craig posted a link on Facebook to a blog post by Jennifer Blanchard on “The Power of Morning Pages,” and I was reminded of how, when I make Julia Cameron’s creativity tool of daily morning pages a part of my life, I do feel more whole, perhaps because they provide a continuous narrative for my days (regardless of whether I ever read them again), linking one to another in ways I don’t always notice at the time.
What are morning pages? They are a little like freewriting, but with the difference that they don’t need to lead to anything else. They can act as a warm-up to other writing, but they can also exist entirely on their own. To learn more, be sure to read Jennifer’s post. In the video below, Julia Cameron discusses how she uses morning pages in her life and why it is important to write them in longhand. She writes in The Artist’s Way:
“It’s like you’re taking a little whisk broom to all the corners of your consciousness, and you’re sort of whisking ‘this is what I’m thinking about, this is what I’m thinking about.’ It’s as if you’re saying to the universe ‘This is what I like, this is what I don’t like, this is what I want more of, this is what I want less of.’ And the universe tends to cooperate with what you spell out in your pages.”
Morning pages, here I come! I’m happy to be whisking again.