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Day 21: A Morning Ritual

“Ask yourself the following first thing in the morning:
– What am I lacking in attaining freedom from passion?
– What for tranquility?
– What am I? A mere body, estate-holder, or reputation? None of these things.
– What, then? A rational being.
– What then is demanded of me? Meditate on your actions.
– How did I steer away from serenity?
– What did I do that was unfriendly, unsocial, or uncaring?
– What did I fail to do in all these things?”

EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.6.34–35

If I have across this meditation a month back I wouldn’t have realized how powerful it is. A month back I didn’t have any morning routine, there was no fixed time when I go to bed, there is no fixed time when I get up, there is no motivation to leave the bed, I was never excited for my work, there is no goal, little to almost zero social interactions. All in all life itself felt like a burden.

Going through such a low phase in life, I realized that there is only one person who can help me here that is I myself. I took steps to make my life more disciplined. The first thing I did in that direction is started getting up early at 5 A.M. every day. Now, it’s easy to get up one day at 5, but if you don’t find something worthwhile to do the motivation is soon lost the other day. So, that’s where I installed some morning rituals in my life. And one of them completely changed my life.

Morning Pages

This is a tool developed by Julia Cameron. It is originally designed for artists to come out of their creative block but it is so therapeutic that it should be adopted by everyone in their morning ritual. What is this tool?

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. 'There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages'– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.

How does it benefit you?

When you are writing your morning pages, you are basically dumping your mind thoughts on the paper. These are the thoughts that block your creativity like I have not done this chore, I am sad about something that happened yesterday, I am worried about my day or some deadline or just telling what I am feeling right now. These thoughts are not the best constructive thoughts, but if you observe it fills your whole day. By putting these thoughts on paper you are basically cleaning up your mind for other constructive and creative thoughts to make their way.

Now I wouldn’t have actually believed it haven’t I tried it myself. I have writing morning pages for almost a month now. I really observe that the thoughts that used to pull me down for the whole day about things which isn’t in my control, if I write them down then suddenly it doesn’t occupy my mind as much as it used to do earlier. My mind is now freer and less worried about trivial things.

How to write morning pages?

There is no correct way of doing it. The only requirements are that you do it in the morning and you write it in longhand. You don’t have to be creative about it. These pages are meant only for your eyes. Sometimes people think what will they write in 3 pages, believe me once you start writing there a lot to say, and things will start flowing more naturally.

Let me know if you have any morning ritual that changed your life?

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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