Monthly Archives: April 2012

When you let go of… words

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Since starting Minimal Student almost three years ago now, I have never taken more than a few weeks off at a time, but after coming back to England and settling in my own place, and no longer travelling as much as I used to, I felt that my writing had run out of steam. In January, I took a hiatus so that I could rearrange my thoughts and priorities, and hopefully come back a better writer.

To achieve this, I took the rather unusual approach of learning how to reflect about myself – without using any words at all.

Words are concrete, specific and tangible, but in reality, our emotions and feelings are not. I realise now that it is very difficult to convey even a fraction of who and what we are and how we feel in words – most people can only speak or write well enough to reveal the tip of the iceberg of themselves. And even if we could, we can never guarantee that others would understand. Humans are complex and irrational creatures, many of our actions are self-justified, illogical, unreasonable, or simply make no sense to others but ourselves.

So I decided to go back to the beginning, scrap all I knew about writing and start again. I emptied my cup. I turned off the computer, and sat my ass down on a pillow for a few moments each day. It wasn’t easy at first, I helplessly watched my mind jump around like an agitated squirrel trapped in a cage. But eventually I learned to embrace my energetic mind, and to observe myself without attachment or judgement – I learned to let go.

My break from writing taught me that there’s a lot to be said for putting down the pen and just being. Without words, there are no expectations, preconceptions, nothing to show or prove to anybody else, no gray areas and nothing to hide behind.

After a few months, my journey led here – back to writing again. But this time, it is clear that my style has evolved into a way of expressing myself that I feel touches something much deeper within. With practice, I hope I can continue to grow enough to be able to make sense of topics that are very difficult to explain, but too important to ignore.

It’s an ambitious task, but I like to think of it as a challenge.

Related Posts


On Mindfulness

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Three years ago, since starting Minimal Student (on a whim – like most of the things I end up doing), my life has gone through some very distinct phases – I moved away from home, I spent a year abroad in Japan, I came back to England and got my own place… and during these phases I began to take interest in topics that I could relate to minimalism, such as travel or technology. Over time, my interest in different subjects waxed and waned and this blog grew to encompass more topics such as health, relationships, happiness and last but not least, Zen Buddhism.

The ‘Student’ part of this blog title is supposed to mean more than the fact that I was literally a university student when I started it. I wanted to emphasize the Zen teaching of emptying one’s cup, having an open mind and being constantly mindful. I’ve touched on these subjects before, but now I feel is the right time for me to start putting them into focus.

mindfulness at the center

It has been a few years now since I started reading, putting into practice, and learning from experience about Zen and Buddhism. Yet, I still would not call myself an expert. Heck, to be honest I still wouldn’t call myself a ‘Buddhist’ – I wouldn’t want to degrade a term that is reserved for people much more dedicated and knowledgable than I would ever be – but I have taken their wiser words to heart and put together some of the very best teachings that I feel have helped me move onwards in my everyday life.

There are so many different things to write about, yet, in my mind they all somehow come back to minimalism. Here are a few teaser topics for the future:

  • Beginnings
  • Monkey Mind
  • Finding Balance
  • Mistakes
  • On Striving
  • Effortlessness
  • The Beauty of Silence
  • Attachment
  • Learning
  • Just Being
  • …and more! (Come back to this page for links as each one is published!).

These will be shorter posts that I can publish more often than the usual longer articles. In the meantime, I still have some in-depth topics waiting in the pipelines and I’ll be back on twitter taking in your ideas and sharing other miscellaneous quotes and thoughts that pop up during my day – follow @MinimalStudent for immediate post updates! (I am also on google+, follow me and we can hang out! If there is enough demand I shall begin be posting on there too 🙂 ).

Thank you to all my wonderful readers for you unwavering loyalty, it means more to me than you’ll ever know.

Oh, it’s great to be back.