Can you imagine how your life would change if you had a super power? A magic power like flying, time-travel or an invisibility cloak so you’re only seen when you wish to be.
Now, let’s pretend you could see right into your future. Imagine being able to generate 10 ideas on a topic within 10 minutes every time you were asked? Or being capable of solving a problem 10 times faster than you used to?
Picture for a minute how your relationship or career may improve if you could delve deeper to understand your motivations so that you could completely untangle your web of thoughts on any complex topic within a few minutes.
Finally, and more appropriately for this blog then let’s fantasise that you could solve any problem of indecision almost immediately.
The truth is these powers exist within you and there is a remarkably easy habit to unleash them.
They are called ‘Morning pages’.
This is a technique popularised by the writer Julia Cameron in her remarkable self-development book ‘The Artist’s Way’ (don’t be put off by the title if you don’t see yourself as a creative type, it’s more about reigniting the spirit of your inner child).
Writing morning pages is the habit of scrawling three pages of ANY words in a notebook first thing in the morning. It sounds frivolous. Or it might sound difficult. However the results speak clearly for themselves and can only be appreciated by getting up, putting on the kettle and streaming three full pages of your thoughts directly onto a fresh white page.
It sounds too good to be true. Why not meditate, write a list, have a long chat with a loved one?
The answer is hard to pin down. But the mechanics of success hinge from how your hand and brain co-operate in a more symbiotic and sympathetic way than when you type on laptops and mobiles.
It’s the same reason why brainstorming is proven to work so much effectively with paper and pen than any other method.
When you write with a pen your brain makes connections and builds cerebral pathways in a slower, more deliberate and mindful way which allows a more inclusive set of ideas, memories, thoughts or data to be included into your interior dialogue. Ever noticed how writing a date down in your diary helps it stick in your brain? It’s that same neuroscience magic that makes your fresh morning thoughts form into something vital.
The thing is, when we write by computer we are detached. We’re driving a machine. Operating more but thinking less. You are using bricks of pragmatism to investigate your consciousness rather than swimming in a more organic stream of thoughts.
The results are evident within your first set of pages. Your first page might be a monstrosity. The second a hive of embarrassing phrases that you’ll show no-one. Yet somehow the third page holds 24-carat cerebral gold. Your final page will show you all sorts of insights and precious guidance about all areas of your life. With time your ability to dive deeper, faster certainly increases but just starting today will kickstart a chain reaction of whole new pathways in your imagination.
The benefits are wide - you may experience any of the below and more:
- Greater insight into your relationships, work and motivations
- Your creativity will leap forward or fire back into life
- You’ll gain better perspective on worry and anxiety much faster
- A firmer grip on intentions and patterns will evolve
- Your handle on habits and motivations will sky rocket
- You’ll discover of all sorts of near subconscious thoughts bubble to the surface
- If you’re working on an important project these pages will naturally become something of a journal that suggest all manner of ways to think more freshly.
However there is one benefit that for busy professionals may eclipse all of the above.
You can ask your pages a question or a problem you’ve been tussling with repeatedly - and you’ll find an answer.
This can be done now. Everyone has an unanswered question so let’s try it.
This is a magical process that requires with no training or experience of morning pages. It works the same for everyone. Simply write the question at the top of the page and then start babbling like a river around the edges of the topic until you’ve filled at least a hat-trick of pages.
I have recently designed a productivity and mindfulness diary called Trigg that was both inspired and powered by the practice of morning pages. Whenever faced with a crossroads or a dilemma the answers were often hauled out of the dawn waters of my mind. They were there all along.
You can check Trigg out here: http://bit.ly/2EDcd