I completed Week Twelve of “The Artist’s Way” this past week. I was terrifically disciplined about the ‘morning pages’ — perhaps missing as few as five over the 12 weeks. Of course, the morning pages have little to do with discipline. They are about flow and self-care and a certain kind of momentum. The pages are a place to rest. They are a tool of containment, but also of expansion.
Showing up day in and day out has a way of generating ideas, identifying problems, and soothing the cranky child. It’s a place to note synchronicity. Cameron says, “The morning pages will teach you to stop judging and just let yourself write” and “morning pages map our own interior.”
I record dreams and make To Do Lists in the margins. Sometimes my three pages are one long complaint, often revving up into a full-bore RANT. Other times, I find myself describing a box of crayons from childhood or a character from “Blood and Indigo”. The pages can be anything at all. Part of the process of “The Artist’s Way” is to uncover or recover passions — little and big — discovered (where else?) — in the morning pages. The exercises can seem hokey, but they have a certain potency regardless. One result for me was to buy a really good bottle cutter. I can’t tell you how long I have wanted one of these!
The other primary tool besides the morning pages are ‘the artist’s dates’ — solo weekly outings meant to ‘open the self to insight, inspiration, guidance.’ They don’t have to be trips to the museum. They can be outings to the hardware store or a walk in the woods. I fell down miserably on these. The winter and the dog really conspired against me, I guess. I think I only did three, two of which were trips to the Home Goods store.
Because of Cameron’s encouragement (and the wisdom of Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“), I completely cleared off my fridge. Gone are old pictures, the calendar and white board, random magnets, and a shitty, stained list of phone numbers. I stuck only one image on it — the one up top. It’s a soothing, exotic, indigo-filled ad for Hermes. When I look at it, I feel happy. Isn’t that the point? Of the things we hang up? A little effort in the hutch produced similar benefit — the red tins look so much better now that they are grouped together. I gave away the ones I didn’t like.