Updated: Jul 3, 2019
How condensing your thoughts into short, potent sentences can help us heal from even the deepest wounds.
I have spent the better part of my life intimately journaling my life. Books and books stacked my cupboards from my nomadic childhood, to my spiritual path, to settling down with a husband from a different continent. My life experiences were written down and then later self-analyzed, giving valuable introspection to who I was as a person and how I saw the world.
But then I became a mother and no longer had the contemplative hours to spend on self-reflection, and resolved to get back to this invaluable tool later in life, when the kids grew older and I had more time.
A few years passed and I had another child. The when I have more time card was extended a little longer to accommodate another soul I was responsible for and began to fall into a pattern of motherhood/work/motherhood/sleep (sometimes)/repeat, and in those early years of figuring out my new identity, I managed to lose myself completely.
I didn't lose myself to the demands of early parenthood, the stress of a full-time job in the fashion industry, nor did I lose myself in the challenges of living in a vastly different country to the one I had grown up in - I lost myself because I lost vital time with myself.
As a result, I struggled through a crippling psychosis in my children's younger years and put it down to the many factors of my unique genetic makeup, the stress of balancing demanding work and young children, and having lived a highly mobile life. After a few months being anchored to sick-leave, I intended to get back to some part of myself that had never changed and that made me feel most me again. This came through discovering myself again through my journaling practice.
After a few determined weeks spent writing late into the evenings, I had no choice but to give up. The sleepless nights, the long days, the work load, the tantrums, the laundry... I simply couldn't fit me into my life again, and it was not because I didn't have 30 minutes at the end of the day to self-reflect, it was more because I could not articulate a clear-headed biography I used to be able to confess onto paper with. My mind was an exhausted bog with little reflective qualities.
In resolution to simplify my act of regenerative self-care, I sat determined at my journal one night, staring blurry eyed at the blank journal. As my pen inked the page, I began to condense my words into short sentences. Boiling down my emotions into simple statements, confining my thoughts to only the most contrasting and expressed my inner world in a pint-sized portion of poetry. The freedom I suddenly felt was inexplicable.
After a few days of writing short, condensed poetry, I started seeing a lift of weight occur in my emotional world and began to view everything in my life as having the potential for de-cluttering, condensing and making more potent.
To say writing poetry was the start to a few minimalist efforts would be an understatement. It changed my entire life, my livelihood and how I am able to heal myself through this tool.
It was exactly one year ago (6 months after I started writing poetry) that I sat down with my husband and decided to condense our life with intention. I realized I would never have more time and it was, in fact, this way of destructive thinking that lead me to give up on myself, put everything meaningful on hold for the hope that time would become more abundant with the lessening of responsibility and commitment.
Having met in the middle of two very different worlds, my husband and I went about the de-cluttering of our life to only focus on only the three most important values we shared; family, travel and freedom.
- I quit my job in the fashion industry to spend more time with our children, and became an Author.
- We sold our large house that came with a restricting mortgage to live in a commune in the city of Copenhagen and used the remaining funds to buy a piece of land in the wilderness, to which we hand-built a small cabin on.
- My husband moved into the green energy industry and we took our children travelling for a month to Sri Lanka to revisit a country we had spent many years living in before we married.
These are just a few of the ways our life has recently changed from boiling our priorities down and honoring a simpler, more potent way of living. It feels like time has expanded and that the hours are filled with newfound energy from the space we have created in both our minds and physical lives.
I am reminded constantly of how incremental changes are the most powerful ones, and that by making the simplest one you can think of today, you are setting forth a motion of energy that has the power to create any life you dare dream. Life simply does not get more spacious as your kids grow, or your work load lessens, or when you buy a bigger house, or when you move to another country - because you will always find a way to fill the voids with more to desire. Time is more a matter of creation than a seeking, and that can only ever be achieved once we learn to hold more space for our own self-care needs and realize that less really is more - in words and in life.
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