Discover the power of the writing and feeling technique: your guide to greater clarity and growth
Welcome to one of my favorite tools: the Writing & Feeling technique, based on a practice developed by Julia Cameron. In this blog, I'll show you how effective it can be for getting out of your head and into your body. Whenever we manage to do this, we unburden our mind-body system. And in that moment, very deep insights often emerge from within us.
The Writing & Feeling technique was inspired by Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages.” She presents the technique in her book The Artist's Way, where she suggests handwriting three pages of whatever is on your mind in the morning.
I have been a fan of this method for over 15 years, and have modified it a bit. In this blog, I’ll introduce you to how Writing & Feeling works. I use it to clear my mind, reflect on my thoughts, perceive myself as a whole again, and get to the bottom of deeper truths about myself.
Some days it's just one page, but even that can make a remarkable difference. It allows you to relax on a physical level and optimally prepare yourself for the situations and challenges of everyday life, or even to integrate experiences into your mind-body system.
So welcome aboard! Let's dive into the world of Writing & Feeling together and discover what transformative power it holds.
The Morning Pages method by Julia Cameron
You may already be familiar with the origin of my writing exercise. I want to share with you how Julia Cameron's Morning Pages came into my life, how it changed my life, and how I combined it with the powerful tools of the Grinberg Method®.
Many years ago, I came across Julia Cameron's Morning Pages method. This simple exercise brought back the joy of writing to me and opened up a whole new world of self-reflection and personal growth. But it wasn't until I discovered how the techniques of the Grinberg Method could deepen this process even further that I was really hooked.
For about 10 years now, I have been using this powerful combination for my own self-care and also use it in processes with my clients. It is amazing how effective and at the same time playful this technique is. It can help us to let go of blockages, free ourselves from old beliefs, and strengthen our physical and mental health.
I’m happy to share this experience with you and hope that you too can benefit from this wonderful practice. Let's go on a journey together that will take us deeper into ourselves and allow us to unlock our full potential.
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The further development of the Morning Pages: my Writing & Feeling technique
In my work, I have adapted the classic Morning Pages to my needs and have had great experiences with them.
In combination with the P.A.S.S.I.O.N Process used in the Grinberg Method®, I reach even deeper truths while writing. It’s an exciting and healing process. Here’s how the exercise works:
Step 1: Write down your stream of thought
Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that goes through your mind. It’s not important to formulate complete sentences. Just let the stream of thoughts flow. When you reach the bottom of the page, close your eyes and feel your body. Notice it from head to toe.
Step 2: Intensify your physical sensations
Don't immediately let go of what you notice, but actually tense the affected areas a little more to perceive your automatic response more accurately.
Once you've identified how your body is reacting to what you've written, set a timer for two minutes, and during that time, amplify the physical reactions you're feeling even more.
Step 3: Release
As soon as the timer goes off, let go of all the tension, all at once. Breathe in and out very deeply and slowly – ideally through the nose to regulate the nervous system. When you consciously inhale and exhale through your nose, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation. This helps relieve stress, improve your mood, and increase your overall sense of wellbeing.
Step 4: Get moving
Set the timer for two minutes again and stand up. Shake yourself out, tap your body from head to toe, or dance wildly to a song. You can also box for a minute, and kick for a minute. Try to feel what your body wants to do at that moment. Try to act as directly as possible from your body and not do physical exercises that you’re already familiar with. Let your body do what it wants, and let yourself be surprised by your impulses. Afterwards, rest for a minute. Breathe consciously and deeply.
Step 5: Repeat
Repeat this writing and mindfulness process on two more sheets of paper. Again, just let your thoughts flow and write down everything that comes to mind. After you have filled the second page, intensify the physical reactions to what you have written for two minutes, and then release the tension all at once.
You can vary how you move after stopping the tension. Give in to your physical impulses. Make sure, however, that you support your body at this stage with deep breathing, even if it seems exaggerated to you. For now, you want your body to relax with what you have written and return to its original fullness.
Step 6: Relaxation and visualization
After working this way with three pages of writing, set your timer for five to ten minutes and lie on your back. Breathe deeply, from your belly to the center of your chest, thinking of what you want to happen. Be sure to breathe deeply into your body again during this phase.
Step 7: Reflection
At the end of each practice session, go back to your writing and highlight or underline any NEW thoughts or insights you gained while writing.
Pay particular attention to whether any "calls to action" can be derived from these insights – actions that would help you take good care of your basic needs.
After a complete exercise session, give yourself a five-minute rest by lying down stretched out and trying to keep your body free of tension, regardless of the thoughts going through your head. Just let the thoughts pass as you relax.
Then get up and consciously do something completely different! Don't look at the pages again. Feel free to throw them away. It’s important to work with a timer and stick to the set time.
Adapting Writing & Feeling to your needs
Sometimes you may have the experience of running into the same obstacles over and over again in life. That's when it makes sense to reflect on specific issues over three pages.
One way is to give yourself one specific topic and write about it for three pages. This allows you to dive deeper into the subject matter and gain new thoughts and insights that unfold during the process.
Sometimes you may be struggling with several different issues. In that case, you can consciously choose, say, three different topics and let your stream of consciousness flow through these subjects. Another variation is to take three different topics and consciously write about each one. This broadens your perspective and promotes a holistic view of different aspects of your life. It also allows you to see connections and interrelationships between the themes.
It can be a kind of therapeutic outlet for dealing with emotional challenges.
Challenges of free-writing
There are many challenges involved in free-writing whatever is on your mind without paying attention to spelling, grammar, etc.
Here are some possible challenges and suggested solutions for dealing with them.
Your inner critic
It can be difficult to silence your inner critic. Often we tend to censor ourselves and worry about what others might think about what we’ve written. But I have developed a little method to get around that part: I usually throw away anything that comes up during this exercise. This has several advantages: no one will read it unless I want them to, and it becomes a cleansing ritual in which I consciously separate myself from what comes up.
Your inner filter
Most of us are used to filtering our thoughts and focusing on what's important and also what's "right." But free-writing is about allowing ourselves to express all thoughts and ideas without reservation – even if they may seem nonsensical or chaotic at first. It's fascinating to go through this process fully. Try trusting that true "gems" will emerge that are otherwise hiding in your subconscious.
Letting writing flow without interruptions
For some people, it can be challenging to maintain the flow of writing when they are not focusing on spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. However, it is of great importance to write continuously, without interruptions. So if you can't think of anything to say as you’re sitting there, just write that. If you’re angry or upset, write down exactly the swear words or exclamations that may come up at that moment. If your mind is blank or confused, express that too. Everything finds its place on the sheet of paper, where it is simply allowed to be without being repressed.
Letting go of expectations
It can be a challenge to let go of expectations of what you want to write. We often have certain ideas about what our writing should look like. However, free-writing is about enjoying the process and letting go of any expectations.
Diving into your own mind
Free-writing requires a certain openness and willingness to face your own thoughts and feelings. It can sometimes be uncomfortable to write, uncensored, about personal or difficult topics.
Despite these challenges, free-writing offers many benefits, such as clearing blocks, discovering new ideas and perspectives, and encouraging self-reflection. It requires practice and a willingness to surrender to the process and break free from perfectionism and self-criticism.
Morning pages – what’s the purpose?
Writing & Feeling has a cleansing effect on your mind. By putting your thoughts, worries, and fears on paper, you create space for clarity and lightness. Morning Pages enable you to free yourself from burdensome thoughts and dive deep into your own capacity for insight.
They create an inner space where you can concentrate on your impulses and sharpen your focus. By regularly integrating this practice into your daily life, you train your mind to generate more and more insights. You're strengthening your mental muscle and continually challenging it to grow.
Regardless of your goal, these pages are a powerful tool for reconnecting with your deep inner wisdom and your body and integrating them into your life. Morning Pages help you get to know yourself better, sort out your thoughts, and align with your inner voice. By practicing this technique regularly, you will experience heightened clarity, increased self-reflection, and greater inner alignment.
Morning Pages as self-care
If you want to give self-care a central place in your life, try this writing exercise. Take the time to free-write for three pages and let your thoughts and ideas flow onto the paper. Feel the energy start to move again. This transformative writing process is a wonderful gift to yourself and a way to start each day with fresh momentum and inspiration.
The best time to write Morning Pages using Writing & Feeling
Each variation has its merits and its own “time” when it would be most beneficial. Discover for yourself what works best for you and let the different possibilities inspire you again and again.
Writing Morning Pages with the Writing & Feeling technique – my conclusion
There are several different ways to use Morning Pages:
I'm curious to see how you like this writing technique and what effect it has on you. Each person is unique, so it can be interesting to reflect on your personal experiences and observations during the process. You may find that this form of writing is not only a way to express yourself, but also has transformative power. It can help you develop greater clarity, mindfulness, and understanding of yourself.
I hope you enjoy my Writing & Feeling technique and that you’ll use it to discover new perspectives! Feel free to write to me about your experiences.
Last but not least ...
In spite of our intentions and efforts, things don’t always work out as we’d like. Sometimes it’s not enough to approach things in the way described here. Sometimes you need some support. In that case you are welcome to contact me.
I have been accompanying people on their way to increased health, wellbeing, and satisfaction for 20 years.
I would love to accompany you
on your path to yourself.
In individual sessions with me you will learn – in a safe environment – to recognize your harmful patterns, release them, and stop them, so that space for something new is created. Your potential can unfold more freely, and you will notice this in your everyday life and in your quality of life ...
Individual sessions and the P.A.S.S.I.O.N. Process also work wonderfully as an online experience!
And last but not least ...
...I hope you have a lot of fun exploring and clearing your blocks. I would be delighted if you wrote to let me know how you’re doing with it!
With all my best wishes, Mirjam
PS. If you liked my article, feel free to share the link in your groups and on social media and invite your friends to share. I look forward to it.