Immediately after taking early retirement from work in late 2010, I was faced with the loss of my mother, who died suddenly after a long illness. My father had died the year before. Aged 51, I found myself at the start of a journey for which I had no route map. I felt a need to explore, to heal, and to discover new possibilities.
One of the tools I encountered early in this journey was a process called “Morning Pages”. This is a way of getting in touch with hidden feelings, emotions and inner creativity. The process involves writing three free flow pages of writing (on A4 paper) each morning. It is key that you do not to censor what you write, and don’t be tempted to read it back.
After trying out morning pages for about 10 days, back in 2012, I found to my surprise that my writing began to emerge in rhyme! Not only that, but it would sometimes relate to unexpected things, for example, “a knight in battle, sword flashing, metal crashing” galloped onto the page one day. He stayed around for a short while, flexing his muscles, before once more riding off into battle.
After this first experience, I began to write verses and rhymes, and experiment with poetry. One of these poems was called “Believe” and it captured the essence of my journey to date. Spurred on by this clarion call to “stand up, stand up, be bold be strong” I challenged myself to self-publish a book, and to recite the Believe poem on stage at an event for women. I went on from there to publish a second book, and create a set of inspirational Believe cards.
Since then, I have only written the morning pages intermittently. Recently, I discovered that Julia Cameron, along with Emma Lively, had published a book entitled: “The Artist’s Way for Retirement”. This seemed like a great resource to use to re-ignite my journey with creativity! I have resolved to follow the 12-week programme presented in the book, to see where it takes me and what new insights I gain. I am particularly interested to see whether this will kick start the process of writing my memoir, something that has been bubbling at the back of my consciousness for a while…
In the introduction to her book, Julia Cameron advises that there will be four key exercises to carry out during the course. These are:
Memoir Writing – an opportunity to honour and reflect on past experiences
Morning Pages – a tool to empty your mind and to get clarity and focus for the day ahead
Artist Dates – fun days out to enjoy new and different activities.
Solo Walks – walking on your own, to relax, refresh and gain new insights.
I have decided to start this process, and chart my progress over the coming 12 weeks. Interestingly, this will take me to week commencing 8th May, the week of my 58th birthday!
I am excited to discover where this new journey takes me, and what new creative insights I gain along the way. If you are feeling in need of some new inspiration and creative input, or if you are just feeling curious, I invite you to join me on the journey!