by Mark Anthony Lord
For all there is to be explored and experienced in the world, an even greater, more expansive inner world is just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
One of the foundational principles of spirituality is the idea that the outer world is a reflection of inner thoughts, beliefs and emotions. We’ve all had days where we felt overwhelmed, frustrated and impatient—only to see that reflected back at us in a day filled with red lights, accidents and misunderstandings. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve experienced days where we woke up happy, we felt wonderful and the whole day easily unfolded with green lights, fun and laughter. As within, so without.
The ancient Greek dictum “know thyself” has remained significant throughout time because it’s an invitation into the inner world where meaning, purpose, wisdom and guidance resides. When you take the time to journey into the deeper parts ofyourself, you bring back into your own life more happiness, ease and peace. I’m talking real peace from within—not the fleeting kind that comes and goes from depending on an ever-changing world.
If your goal of creating the time to journey inward keeps landing on the back burner, then I invite you to give up the excuses, take the inward leap and discover for yourself what a wonderful gift an inner adventure can be. Synchronicities will begin happening, your mind and emotions will become calmer, which in turn will produce better solutions, and you’ll become positively magnetic for that which you desire.
I’m guessing you already know this is a solo adventure, right? No buddy passes allowed, but you can certainly share your experiences from the trips with those who love and support you. Don’t worry about a lot of baggage either—you’ll be traveling very light. All you need is a journal (no computers, sorry) and a pen.
The map for your self-discovery is called Morning Pages. It’s a journaling practice created by Julia Cameron, in “The Artist’s Way.” She offers instructions for this practice accordingly:
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. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
Here’s how it works:
• Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual. Don’t freak out already, you can do this. I promise, over time, you will gain so much mental clarity and energy from this you won’t even miss the extra snooze time.
• Take out your journal and pen and write for three pages. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. Don’t worry about it being smart, true, right or wrong. Just begin allowing yourself to dump anything and everything onto the page.
• When you fill out three pages you are done for the day. Close the journal, put it in a safe place and leave it until the next day.
• Do NOT go back and read previous pages. This is not the point. Just trust the simple, consistent practice of showing up to the blank page and writing, one day at a time.
I invite you to do this for 90 days. Does that seem like a long time? Over and over again I’ve seen students of mine freak out at the idea of doing this for so long, only to discover that when the three months have come to an end, they are continuing to do their Morning Pages.
You may even uncover an old dream or heart’s desire that comes back to life. Karen, one of my students, committed to Morning Pages with no specific goal except to discover more about herself. She had no idea that her dream of being a painter, which she had long ago put away on the shelf, would come back to life in a big way.
In fact, within six months of doing her morning pages, Karen let go of a job that was not making her happy and sold a series of paintings that hangs throughout the halls of a prominent hospital in North Carolina.
Who knows what’s possible for you? Your Morning Pages do.
Mark Anthony Lord is an author, counselor, speaker and irreverent reverend.
Hear Mark Anthony Lord speak and teach on the principles of spiritual living every Wednesday night at Unity in Chicago. Learn more about his work and register for the livestream of his talks at Unity in Chicago at markanthonylord.com