I touched briefly on Early Morning Pages, an exercise on self care, in an earlier article. I remember doing these exercises back in the late 90’s when I was a stage actor.
An eccentric acting coach and director had all of her performers read and complete a workbook called The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. The point of it was to help us with artistic creative recovery — take ownership and brew confidence in the use of creative talents. I felt most of it a yawn, but one part stuck with me — an exercise called Early Morning Pages.
An insomniac myself, going to bed and having a restful sleep has always been a challenge for me. The problems of the day before, and the fear of the days ahead, would often clog my mind and leave the wheels spinning. While studying at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the concept of Early Morning Pages was reintroduced. Soon, my sleep issues began to lighten and my creative side began to once again open up.
I like to introduce these exercises to my clients, helping to get them a bit more in-tune with themselves. I have found that, with busy, project-oriented clients, Early Morning Pages was a perfect way to dump negative thoughts and leave more room for positive light and love. It tames racing thoughts, gives cathartic release, and removes creative blocks.
Another great aspect of Early Morning Pages is that of gratitude.
Every enlightened person you will meet will tell you that gratitude is one of the most important practices toward inner peace that you can find. In my opinion, it also allows us to tell the universe what we are happy for various parts of our lives, and to “keep it coming.”
Early Morning Pages are best done first thing in the morning, when you are a bit groggy and not fully awakened. Much of it is “stream of consciousness” journaling. It is thought that in early morning, we still have access to our unconscious minds.
“Listening to these tender morning wisps allows us to reach into our inner world, the deeper part of ourselves that helps guide us on our path of transformation,” the author of these exercises says.
The process is very simple, broken down in these easy parts:
- Keep a journal and ball point pen at your bedside.
- Write any dreams or memories from while you were asleep. I have crazy, vivid dreams so this part is very easy for me. Some may find it more difficult. The more you write these memories, you allow yourself to become more connected with your inner self and the process becomes more accessible.
- Write down 10 things you are grateful for from the previous day. This gets our minds away from negative thoughts. Think big here, or think small. “I am grateful for my apartment. I am grateful for loving pets. I am grateful for my job. I am grateful for a healthy dinner.” There is nothing too big, or too small! Remember, the universe is listening!
- Now for the “stream of consciousness journaling” part. Keep writing for at least a full page, but two or three will become easy the more you do this. This is not a “to do” list. This is not your memoir. As a matter of fact, I have ripped my journal pieces up and thrown them away. Use this time to empty your brain. Get rid of angry ugly thoughts that would crowd your brain the rest of the day. Get personal with problems with your boss or spouse. Do not censor yourself. No one will read this. I find this exercise to be very cathartic, and often big emotions erupt and I find myself awash in tears of joy or pain.
By practicing Early Morning Pages, you get out negative thoughts that you may otherwise be sending out to the universe. Your mind and your thoughts do not rule you.
“You are a spiritual being in a materialized world, moving forward toward the life you deserve, which is the life you truly came here to live,” the author says.
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Chip Allman-Burgard, has studied over 100 dietary theories and coaches his clients through his 6-month ‘Lifestyle Overhaul’ program and the 3-month ‘Fast Track to Health’ at his Chicago-based company, Naturally Fortified.