How creative expression can heal your soul ✨
3 Lessons from an 100 day poetry challenge
In 2019, I started writing poetry as a source of catharsis.
My mental health was so low I was having frequent suicidal ideations.
It was the most challenging year of my life and a chapter that felt like an initiation into the person I’ve become today.
Even in my lowest moments, I heard whispers from my higher self.
It told me that it would be healing to channel my energy into something, so I started a 100-day poetry challenge with a friend who had done many 100-day creative challenges before.
As accountability buddies, we shared a poem with each other via text every day and that process allowed me to be seen and empathized with on my healing journey.
Up until that point in my life, I had dabbled in yoga and meditation, but because of the intense waves of energy and emotion that I was processing on a daily basis, those yogic practices became non-negotiable to maintain my mental health.
Immediately upon rising, I would do my sadhana, a Hindu/Buddhist term for spiritual practice, which consisted of 20 minutes of Vedic meditation, yoga, breath work, and then writing a poem.
The writing would usually start out as a brain dump, and then after it was out of me, I would go back and poeticize it.
I got into the practice of transmuting my feelings through metaphor and visceral imagery.
The whole process allowed me to transmute the density of the energy I was experiencing into art.
A lot of times, we create with an audience in mind, but I think creative expression is first and foremost, a communion with your own soul.
💡 Lesson 1: creative expression is a spiritual practice
A month or so into the process, I noticed a gradual improvement in my writing because I was devoted to the practice, but a major leap happened when I went on a rounding retreat in Morocco, led by Vedic meditation teacher and author Light Watkins.
Light Watkins (right) and me in Morocco at the Rounding Retreat in the Summer of 2019 👆🏾
Rounding is an advanced Vedic meditation technique and doing the practice produced powerful results.
In an idyllic, lush environment in Ourika, where all meals were provided and my only commitment was yoga and meditation, a profound breakthrough happened.
While walking the grounds after a rounding session, I received a poem.
I say “received” because I felt an energy enter my body.
I shivered as the energy came upon me even though it was in the mid-70s at the retreat center.
I took out my phone and wrote “Under Moroccan Skies” on an apple note.
To say I wrote it might not totally be accurate because it came through almost without any thought or contemplation. Perhaps “channeled” would be a more appropriate term.
“Under Moroccan skies,
I found peace.
The incessant worries about the future ceased.
Under Moroccan skies,
I was blessed.
The present moment proposed
and I said yes.
Under Moroccan skies, I found God.
When I caught eyes with strangers, they gave me a nod.
In those moments of transcendence, I knew
the reasons behind everything I had been through.
Before the radiant Light faded away,
he leaned in close with something to say—
he said, “In order to embody your truest self,
embrace death and stop chasing wealth.”
As the unconditionally loving sun set,
I knew this version of me was the best one yet.”
Time isn’t linear, and we all fluctuate between different levels of consciousness on a day-to-day basis.
On this day, because of the depth of my practices and the new environment, I was incredibly connected to Self.
Morocco was the womb for the birth of my favorite poem in the collection.
Capturing this expression of consciousness through poetry allows me direct access to reconnect with this moment in time (frequency) whenever I choose to. What a gift.
That’s true for all the poems in the book.
One thing I love about the volume is that there are so many expressions of being in it.
Some clear and enlightened, some raw and depressed, and everything in between.
The journey in the book is an authentic human experience, multi-dimensional and mundane.
And since it’s my human experience, I feel a special kinship towards the work.
On the grounds of the retreat center in Ourika, Morocco 🇲🇦
💡 Lesson 2: new environments invite inspiration
Freshly inspired by the retreat, I had a lot of momentum I used to flow through the last half of the challenge. I even increased the pace and sometimes would write a few poems in a day.
At the end of the 100 days, I had about 130 poems finished. I googled poetry editing and Tell Tell Poetry was at the top of the list. I wrote an email explaining that I was looking for support.
Within a day or two, I was on the phone with Kallie, also a poet, exploring how she could support me to create a book.
I sent all of the poems her way and shortly got them back in the order that she had arranged.
I read the collection back in one sitting and was blown away.
Up until that point, I had only been writing the poems daily, I hadn’t been reading them.
That was the first time my own journey had been reflected to me.
I felt seen and understood, and that’s priceless.
Being with the work helped me see myself more clearly. It helped me recognize the arc of my story and how many emotions I had cycled through. It also helped me see how many insights I had accessed, simply by communing with my soul every day.
I feel incredibly grateful for Kallie’s/Tell Tell’s support to compose and arrange the book.
We went through several rounds of revisions, and I would not have been able to finish the book, in the way we did, without her help.
As a poet, Kallie knew how to interface with my sensitive artistic temperament.
She was able to balance being kind and supportive with moving the energy forward when I would encounter resistance and get stuck.
Infinite gratitude for Kallie and Tell Tell.
If you want support creating a poetry book, I highly recommend you explore working with them.
💡 Lesson 3 - we flourish with a feedback loop
Now a few years after the book was published, I’ve decided to release an audio version, and here we are.
I hope you enjoy the work and that it can be a light to guide the way forward.
May the book serves as a reflection that reminds you that wherever you are on the journey, it’s all part of a much bigger story, and love is always present as a thread holding everything together.
Peace and love to you.