Do you believe in kismet?
It was an early spring evening, the time of year when it’s starting to warm, but it’s still dark at 7pm, and you shiver when you leave the bar. Sharing beers and thoughts on spirituality and creativity at a bar in midtown Manhattan, a singer-songwriter friend mentioned his Morning Pages practice. Three pages written longhand, stream-of-consciousness. Created by Julia Cameron, it isn’t tied to a religion or any set nomenclature. So I Googled it when I got home; intrigued by what I read, I decided to give it a go. I’ve worked Morning Pages for going on 7 years now. First off and on, now a daily thing. My morning meditation.
I’m not one for sitting still and meditating. I’m more of a walking or, in this case, writing meditator. And if you’ve known me long enough, I’ve definitely extolled Morning Pages merits to you. I experience it as a clearing away of clutter. In my mind’s eye, I imagine the practice as me sweeping aside all of the superficial stuff to go deeper and get to the good stuff.
Before I put pen to paper and let it flow, I take a deep breath, savor that first sip of coffee, and ask for guidance. Monday, I asked for guidance with my day, what I needed to “accomplish,” how to be satisfied with what I do, and content with what I can’t. It usually takes me a page and a half, sometimes more, for anything of substance to start trickling out. A page and a half in the thought, “what do my circumstances have to offer?” flowed onto the page. What curiously optimistic thinking for someone who’s been mired in her depression for over a week.
What emerged came from somewhere within but not from me (a creative force? not sure what I’m comfortable with yet; Cameron talks about this). Onto the page came this thought about depression,
it’s hard to look much farther than the self. sometimes the fog is so thick i can barely see my own hand in front of my face. incapacitated. yet, i recognize the gift in most things being hidden behind this dense fog. i see the opportunity to go inward. look inside.
I continued letting thoughts flow about the gift of turning inward, not in a selfish way. My Morning Pages practice helped me dig up the notion that depression is an opportunity to look deep.
Depression engulfs me in fog. I resent it when I think of it as forcing me to slow down. Perhaps, though, instead of seeing it as an inconvenience, I can see it as an opportunity — to slow down, accept that my sight is limited, and allow myself to go deeper. Melancholy can look a lot like rumination. Turning inward, for a bit, is good. Helps me grow.
The to-do list will be there when the fog starts to lift. What can be left undone today? What will I find when I look inside? Perhaps I’ll discover what brings me joy. Maybe I’ll find something I’m curious about and be ok going deep through inquiry.
I closed my notebook and put it back in my stack.
I opened my laptop to finish reading an interview with Julia Cameron, and
a few paragraphs down, read this:
But people are also feeling burnt out. How do you expect people to tap into creative energy when they are already exhausted?
I think that feeling low in resources is having restless energy turned in upon the self. And my prescription, at the risk of sounding fanatical, is please do Morning Pages. They will wake you up to a sense of possibility again.
Water bubbles started filling my eyes. Involuntarily, I inhaled deeply.
This time last year, I was burnt out. I called it my sober hangover. That awful, regretful feeling, accompanied by headaches and fogginess. Often that’s what depression feels like. Without getting lost in nuance… burnt out, depressed, listless, languished… whatever you’re feeling, perhaps it is restless energy turned in upon the self.
In depression or burnout or whatever we’ve got goin on, maybe we can still wake up (even if it’s ever so slowly) to a sense of possibility again.
I have a choice. I can fight it, resenting the restless energy. Or I can turn inward, observe the restless energy, and listen to what it’s telling me.
This isn’t a pitch to do Morning Pages, although I highly recommend it (maybe start by reading the article linked below). This is my encouragement to find what wakes you up to a sense of possibility.
Whether you feel a strong urge or apprehensive nudge to talk about restless energy, depression, burnout, or Morning Pages, I’m here.
Do you believe in kismet?