An Abundance of Potions

Day 15 – Whale Spotting

Good morning to all 230 readers. We’re onto Week 3. If there’s a song you’ve been listening to that you’ve found comforting, hit reply and let me know what it is. I’ll put together a collaborative playlist and share it out in a future issue. —Jack

Today’s challenge: Write in a journal.

Your mind is an ocean. As you go about your day, thoughts big and small rise from the unconscious depths, break the surface, briefly, then re-submerge—like whales. Today, you do some whale-spotting.

To spot a whale, you don’t train binoculars on one small patch of deep blue. You scan the whole horizon, left and right, far and near. You soften your gaze, and look for tell-tale signs: fins, spouts, a fluking tail.

Journaling, the way Julia Cameron advocates with Morning Pages, is a kind of spotting:

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.

Journaling is another valve, another way of releasing the pressure. The “morning” part of Morning Pages is important, not just for Cameron's reasons. New habits stick more easily when they’re practiced consistently—at the same time and context every day. You write in the morning because it can be harder to write late at night, when you’re tired, when the day has already gotten away from you.

If you can’t make mornings work, that’s okay. Just try to fill the pages. If you need extra motivation, and find it difficult to write longhand, 750 Words is a good way to start.

Remember: Spotting isn’t capturing, or changing. It’s simply noticing, and acknowledging—ah, there you are. Hello, whale.