I have been plotting and planning a ‘Modern Witch” class … for a few years now. I was inspired by a painting tutorial video I saw on YouTube by Lucy Chen. (If I remember correctly.) Every time I come back to my notes and my ideas for various sections, I am always drawn back to the one thing that is the only absolute requirement I have ever seen no matter what sect I am studying, be it Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan or anything else, that I have been asked to have on hand during … training. Maybe not during festivals or things of that nature, but while studying, while working through and with materials, the one thing that becomes necessary, well, two things, are: something to write on and something to write with.
A journal and a pen. The foundation for darn near everything.
Which brings me to…morning pages. Most of my classes begin with the suggestion of morning pages, whether you follow Julia Cameron’s three pages per day, or whether you give yourself a time limit, or however you decide to do things like that.
I remember, even more years ago, when a friend and I were talking about morning pages. We had been doing the minimum of three pages a day writing, a la Julia Cameron, for years. Our complaint was basically that for years we had been brain dumping the same stuff over and over and over and we weren’t feeling a shift, or seeing a shift, in our writing. Our outer lives may have been changing and moving, but we seemed stuck. We both agreed that we needed to find a different way to journal — or take a break from journaling — we did both — and just let go of the three pages of stream of consciousness. It wasn’t working for us.
Fast forward several years and I picked up the three pages of stream of consciousness morning pages ritual once more…I worked over a month before it dawned on me that every time I sat down to write these pages, it was something different. I was not simply rehashing all the old ills and desires and whatnots. I had moved on.
That was what my friend and I had been missing. We were stuck in that pattern–because we were still working through whatever it was we each had to work through…and our morning pages reflected that. Once we worked through whatever it was we needed to work through, I at least was able to move on. I cannot vouch for or say anything for my friend because I am not her.
My theory is…the morning pages three-page stream of consciousness works. It also shows us where we are stuck. It shows us where we still have work to do. It shows us what preys upon our heart and our mind.
So, if you are stuck, and you cannot find a way out of that box you are in, writing and re-writing about the same things day and week after month, what can you do? Give the morning pages a break if it is bothering you. Use some prompts. There are so many random prompts to be found all over the internet. Pinterest is full of them. I don’t think, personally, that getting fed up and frustrating with a journaling process should hold you back. Change your style of journaling and branch out.
Work with yourself with gentleness and compassion. Don’t force yourself to do something that is frustrating you. That frustration can hold you back if it builds up.
Pick a single topic and write about that. Ask yourself a question at the beginning of your journaling. Whatever it takes to help you continue to process energy, help you release pent-up energies, keep you balanced and calm internally, go with that.
Journaling is a process. When one way to do it feels stagnant, or not as productive, for you in your process, let that one go and try a new one. You can always come back around to the old technique once you feel ready to try it out again.
What about you? How do you feel about journaling? What techniques do you use? If you use prompts, where do you get yours? Let me know in the comments below.