Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Artists Way, Morning Pages and Journaling

The idea of working the twelve steps online brings up a question about why I am doing this blog at all. The reason behind the blog is actually very simple. Ever since I was given the gift of sobriety I have journaled. For the first six months of my sobriety, my journal entries were sporadic at best and usually incoherent and angry. I think that essentially I wrote right before I was about to drink as a tool to avoid drinking.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. It worked—I am sober and I am grateful that I chose to write rather than drink. I am also grateful because I can read those early entries and be thankful that I am not quite that, well I can’t think of a better term so, fucked up as I was then. Man, I was insane!

At about six months sober, I started to journal on a daily basis and I have kept up the process ever since. This is the result of working Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. In this, she proposes two tools to help recover your creativity: morning pages and artist’s dates. I never did the artists dates, so I can’t comment on those.

The idea behind the morning pages is you wake up and first thing, before anything else (okay, after going to the bathroom) you write out in longhand three pages of stream of consciousness. The idea behind this is to clear out all the garbage from your mind before you start your day. This allows you to start with a tabula rasa.

For me, this writing has allowed me to start my day by plugging into the Goddess and getting that connection to the Divine. It does not always work, but it works more frequently than I would have expected. It also reminds me that I am still here because of the gift of Her grace and not because I’m such a smooth operator. My morning pages allow me to start the day on the right footing: She is the pricipal, I am Her agent, She is the Mother, I am Her child. The Goddess is in charge, I am not. All in all, the writing is a very effective tool.

Julia Cameron insists that the morning pages be written longhand. If I do that however, I don’t have the ability to share them and this is kind of my compromise. To be honest, I am not sure if this has negatively impacted them or not. It may have, when writing the morning pages we are not supposed to worry about an audience’s reaction and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t wonder if people would not like me after reading my blog.

Before I go, I’d like to share about how I learned of morning pages. Synchronicity is one way of finding the Divine in one’s life.

I had never heard of The Artist’s Way or Julia Cameron, ever when I started going to AA. About six months later, I was seeing a therapist who urged me to work the Artist’s Way program. My attitude was one of yeah, right, whatever. That afternoon I went to meet my new sponsor Nici, at a pagan community center I was volunteering at. After we had talked a little while she said, “hey, there’s this book called the Artist’s Way—you should really look into that. You would get a lot out of it.”

Okay Goddess, I got the message. I highly recommend that book and it’s program. However, if you are a hopeless drunk, I would recommend working the AA program first.