I wake up and I’m excited to write morning pages. I can’t explain why.

There’s something positive and meditative about scrawling racing thoughts, happenings, nuisances, poetic, lyrical flourishes on the page. Free association. Illegible writing I couldn’t read afterward, if I wanted to.

A couple weeks ago I wasn’t doing this. A lot has happened since then.

It started with a serendipitous conversation with an artist who asked to share a hot-springs tub with me when all I’d wanted — and until that moment had — was me-time, sitting alone in 103-degree mineral springs.

On a recent morning at SunWater Spa, I was taking a two-hour soak in the springs as a means to kickoff something new. This relaxation was purposeful business, a brain letting. It was a step off the hamster wheel to slow down and think about what I do, how and why I do it.

My only intent was to leave SunWater with a clear mental slate. To leave ready to look at my approach to work and creativity, and to think through my life direction.

I didn’t expect or want to leave with answers to those questions. I only wanted a fresh page for the restart.

I didn’t want to jump impulsively into something new that might burn out in hours, days or weeks after that sensational high of new wore away. I wanted to be patient, in hopes of certainty about whatever I came up with.

I don’t know if I succeeded.

In a spa setting where solitude rules, a woman asked if she could share the cedar tub I was alone in, for the same reason I chose that spot. It was the only one tucked out of direct sun. After some silent moments, she asked if I knew about the Manitou Incline.

Having lived in Manitou Springs only for 18 months, I was surprised at my instant morphing into local tour guide. For the next several minutes, I answered her questions in detail about the Incline, the Barr Trail, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Pikes Peak.

The Artist's Way Morning Pages in Manitou Springs, CO

Morning pages, scrawled daily as an exercise guided by Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way

With a segue neither of us could remember within minutes, we were learning something deeper about each other’s story. A peaceful me-time experience turned into riding a serendipitous wave into the realm of creativity, commitment to self, and life purpose.

An artist, Laurel had quit nursing school cold turkey more than 20 years ago. She’d been moved by Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. That book has made similar impacts on countless souls around the world since it first was published more than 25 years ago. In Laurel’s case, she had had a revelation: “I want to be an artist.”

She wasn’t so much as a doodler when she came to this moment of enlightenment those years ago. “I’d only ever done paint-by-numbers as a kid.”

She committed. All in for water colors. Painting daily and full time. Within a few months she … Well, that’s a story for Laurel to share. And only her heart and passion for it can do justice.

The Life-Changing Artist’s Way

Laurel is far from the only person to read The Artist’s Way and unleash a new life. For some that means a complete, freeing shift from one life path to a previously unthinkable one, and a whole new career.

For many it’s not a career change so much as unblocking creativity that leads to pursuing a hobby or side pleasure, to simply enjoying an inner piece of themselves that has been closed away for reasons they didn’t understand.

There is something feel-good active in these efforts. I’m taking a leading role in creating the life I want, and opening doorways to unknown destinations. It brings a sense of being present. I don’t know where I’m going, but I love being on my way.

Motivated by my timely conversation with Laurel, I rode my bike home and told my wife. It’s a story she needed, too, maybe more than I did. Before the day was done, she told me, “I ordered two copies of The Artist’s Way.” She knew neither of us would want to wait to read, and, “It seems like the kind of book where we’ll want to write in the margins.”

We both now are on our own journey through Julia Cameron’s book. It’s an interactive process, one that starts with a habit of morning pages. Where will it end?

There is something feel-good active in these efforts. I’m taking a leading role in creating the life I want, and opening doorways to unknown destinations. It brings a sense of being present. I don’t know where I’m going, but I love being on my way.

Listening + Doing

For some time, a few years, I’ve been listening more to my inner voice. Simple things: take this road, not that one; don’t send that message yet, take more time to think about it; jump in and have a new experience.

So this place I’m in feels like a natural point of evolution and gives me confidence to suggest to others who need a nudge: Whether it’s a book or a chance encounter that frees up that go-get-em in you, the key is to start. Start moving, start doing, start listening. Encourage others, and be open to others encouraging you.

This site — humanitou.co — exists because I listened. Not to Laurel as much as the creator in myself that she connected to. Not to The Artist’s Way, a book I’ve only just begun, but to the idea that it’s based on: We all are worthwhile creators with something to share.

There’s more to The Artist’s Way. It’s a 12-week guide to your authentic you. But those morning pages. There’s something about them.

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