Linda Kulp Trout

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Simple Journey

This week for Spiritual Journey Thursday, we are writing about my one little word for 2016:

I chose the word simplify because this year I’m on a journey to slow down and lead a more mindful and simpler life.

I'm cleaning out closets, bookshelves, file cabinets, etc. and discarding anything that no longer has meaning or purpose for me anymore. It's been exhausting but worth it.

I've started to reduce commitments and habits that clutter my day with endless chores and responsibilities. One of the biggest challenges for me is letting go of the need to have a “spotless” house. Not that my house is ever truly spotless!    I like things neat and tidy, but I sometimes go overboard and spend all my time on housework. I'm trying to find a balance I can live with.

For me, the  toughest part of this journey has been the internal one. On a good day, I try not to allow my mind to be cluttered with negativity, guilt, jealousy, worry, or regret. Instead, I’m trying to fill the space with thoughts of joy, hope, and compassion. These emotions energize and lift me toward becoming the person I truly want to be. It's definitely a process that will take some time.

As a society, it seems we’re immersed in constant noise from our devices: TV, radio, laptop…  I’ve started shutting down an hour (or more when possible) each day and giving myself the gift of silence. I'd love to be able to sit in stillness during my hour of silence, but that's not possible right now so I try for 10-15 minutes. 

One thing I'm most excited about is that I’m learning to simplify the way I think about writing.  A big part of that for me is giving up on my need for perfection.  Usually, I start the year with a long list of writing goals and then spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide on the perfect idea/project to work on first.  When I finally chose one, fear takes over and I end up talking myself out of it. Then start the process all over again! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  Yet, somewhere along the way, I got stuck in thinking that it was the way "real" writers work.  

I'm all for setting goals, but I had to make it work for me.  This year, instead of making a long list of goals, I only made one.  My goal is to write and finish a collection of nonfiction poems on a topic I love.  So far, I’ve completed a draft of twenty-five poems, and now I’m starting on revisions.   I've put away the "what ifs" about publication and for now, I'm just trying to write the best poems I can and enjoy my writing time.

So little, by little, I’m on my way to simplifying my life.  It’s a slow process, but with each tiny step, I feel freer, lighter, and encouraged to continue on this life-changing journey.

I'd love to hear about ways you've simplified your life and especially your writing life.  I can use all the tips I can get! Here's to a simplier life!


  1. Thank you for sharing your OLW with us! I applaud all the ways you've committed to simplifying your life. I especially like that you have internalized simplifying; I've been looking only at the externals. Thank you for reminding me that BALANCE is a key: "I'm trying to find a balance I can live with." When I set unrealistic expectations for myself to simplify my material possessions, I stop before I start. God bless you! Thank you!

  2. Linda, first of all thank you for shedding light on the word simplify as you see it. The word has impacted me and my lifestyle. Somedays, I feel like there is too much on my plate and not enough time. Other times, I enjoy the simplicity of quiet time. The yoga studio gives me pause time and now my new writing/sitting room offers a simple place without cluttered papers or piles of books. One thought at a time works so well but time does not allow for this on most days. Here's to a simpler life is right!

  3. Linda, your one-litte-word inspires me! I think I'll borrow it for next year, as I have a year's worth of collected clutter to clear away (it's neatly tucked in boxes etc. so easy to ignore, but I still know it's there.)

    Your writing commitment is realistic and somewhat similar to mine. I'm using a timer most days when I'm able to set aside time for writing and on weeks like this one where I've been clearing the deck for a short holiday, don't berate myself when I haven't written much that's new. Being gentle with myself helps me to simplify as well... just get up and try again.

    Congratulations on your 25 poems!

  4. I love your OLW and may adopt it for 2017! I want to be filled with these: "of joy, hope, and compassion.

  5. I loved your word too. I am trying to simplify but just focusing on Him. Thanks for sharing. Congrats to on your poems. I hope you are going to make them available or put some samples on your blog?