In this post, I will be talking about one of my favorite television shows of all time, Boy Meets World, so stay tuned.
What Are Morning Pages
We live in a world where so much is edited – the way you talk to people, e-mails, essays, Instagram captions, comments you leave on posts. You will even find when you first start journaling, you will self edit a lot. We have been conditioned to think that writing is not writing unless it is proper, and that is what holds a lot of people back from writing. You have to unlearn those things that tether us and learn to write freely. Journaling will help with that a whole lot. The more you do it, the more you will find that you don’t care about spelling, grammar, handwriting, or anything else.
There is a process called Morning Pages, which is outlined in a book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. To do morning pages traditionally, every morning, you get up and one of the first things you do is start writing by hand. You are to write 3 pages each day, and it should be stream-of-consciousness writing. This means you don’t have any prompts, and you edit as little as possible. You just write whatever words and sentences your brain thinks, as fast as you can. The idea is, if you are thinking the thoughts, they are important enough to be written down.
This sounds simple, but it is actually quite powerful. It goes against the ways we are raised and taught. You are not supposed to say everything you think. There are certain thoughts you have that you have been taught are “bad thoughts” or “inappropriate thoughts” but by far, the most damage these thoughts can do is live in your brain, bouncing around off the walls forever.
Nobody else has to or even should read your morning pages (sometimes you shouldn’t even reread your own morning pages). They are not going to hurt anyone. It can actually heal you enormously to get the thoughts out of your head. A big reason we can spiral emotionally into anxiety and depression is because we don’t allow ourselves to have thoughts to completion. In keeping ourselves from finishing the thought, we try to hide it deep down so we don’t have to hear it all the time, but it is still there. And it will keep coming up. But writing freely and every day can help uncover some thoughts, and that can help you uncover some very creative ideas.
Boy Meets World Season 6 Episode 21
The Psychotic Episode
So let’s explore the idea of not having thoughts to completion.
In this episode of Boy Meets World, Cory wakes up from a nightmare where he pushes Shawn down the elevator shaft.
During the rest of the episode, Cory continues to have similar dreams where he tries to kill Shawn. In his dreams, every time he sleeps, he does very gruesome things to Shawn, like feeding him thumbtack soup.
This causes Cory an enormous amount of anxiety (Cory Matthews, of course had a ton of anxiety to begin with) to the point where he was afraid to sleep. He didn’t know why it was happening to him, because he felt like his relationship with Shawn was strong, and he had no reason to wish ill on him.
Spoiler Alert, Cory asks Mr. Feeny what he should do, and Mr. Feeny asks if Shawn ever actually dies in the dream. Because he hadn’t, Mr. Feeny suggests Cory try to stay asleep and have the dream to completion. Cory heeds this advice, and realizes his dreams were actually about his fears of having to sacrifice a little of his strong relationships in order to get married and have a stronger relationship with Topanga.
After Cory realizes this, they don’t go too far into it how he deals with it. They quickly shift into dealing with the divorce of Topanga’s parents. However, Cory does mention it in the beginning of the next episode, and I believe that Cory was able to better deal with his fears about marriage once he realized why he was so anxious. This theme is revisited on their wedding episode, when Shawn has to also come to terms with it.
Worry can often come from not finishing the thoughts that give you anxiety. This gives the thoughts the wings to fly around and around in your head. Before Cory let the dream finish, which was the representation of finishing the anxious thoughts, he was sleep deprived, drinking multiple cups of coffee a day, pacing throughout the night, and riddled with fear, shame, and worry.
Once he finished the dream, or the sentence, he still had to deal with the thing that worried him – the work wasn’t done – but he was aware of what the problem was, so he was available to fix it.
Sometimes all you have to do is force yourself to finish the sentence, then it’s not so bad. It may take a little digging to figure out what is actually bothering you. That is where the morning pages come in.
Even if you don’t finish any sentences, and you just write down what is making you worry, that can help, too. If it is written down, you won’t have to hold it in your head.
I don’t do the full 3 morning pages every morning, but I do them when I’m feeling particularly upset about something, If I don’t know exactly why I am upset, or if everything seems like too much, it is especially restorative and beneficial.
Still, most of the time, I use some of the guidelines of morning pages whenever I journal. I don’t care about penmanship, grammar, or even finishing sentences. Nobody reads my journal (unless I post photos of it here – ha) and I write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly and light, or how serious and heavy.
So, are Morning Pages Worth the Hype?
I think they are! If you try them out, you will find what aspects really work for you. If you continue to use them regularly, your life will change.