There’s something about early morning walks that fills you with hope and affability. I’m saying that now, but frankly, I’ve arrived at this bit of wisdom after a lot of foot-dragging! Mom had been raving to me about the benefits of walking for an eternity. Of course, like always, her wise words bounced right off my disinclined ears. I couldn’t bring myself to dress up and step out of the house first thing in the morning. It was too much effort.  But since I started ‘The Mind Declutter Project’, I’ve been more open-minded and willing to give anything a go.

So recently, when mom started her rant again, I dusted my walking shoes, dug up my track pants and toddled along to the neighbourhood park. At first, I just wandered about, exploring the trail, checking out the joggers and gawking at the hard-core sprinters with open mouthed awe. The first couple of days, I just enjoyed the backdrop. The new blooms in multiple colours, the lush greenery, the butterflies flitting from one flower to another, the incessant chirping of birds and the perky squirrels scurrying around filled me with delight. I got so busy admiring nature that I forgot everything else.The walking just happened side by side.

A week later, it became evident that the apathy was being replaced by enthusiasm. I started spending more and more time in the park. The exertion seemed to bother me less and less, my stamina surged and the bonhomie of my fellow ramblers added to my buoyancy. I discovered songs I didn’t know existed on my playlist.  And I enjoyed the favourites even more, simply because now I had the perfect setting to enjoy the melodies. Most days now, even after I’m done with the exercise, I hang around on my favourite bench just to enjoy some more music. One of these days, I’d like to climb atop the wooden deck which looks out over the mangroves in the distance and write. It looks like the perfect spot to lose myself.

It’s been a couple of months now and I’m completely hooked. I try not to miss a single day. It’s an adrenaline rush I am not willing to pass up. I’ve tried other forms of exercise earlier, mostly indoors, but the simple act of putting one foot ahead of the other is therapeutic, enthusing and humble all at once. It’s free too. So if you aren’t already walking, I urge you to try it.  Pick some good music, lace up your walking shoes and get going!  It’s the easiest way to gain health, declutter the mind, find perspective, may be make some new friends or just space out. The air is ripe with possibilities.







When I recently wrote about my rule of learning one new thing every year (you can read about that here: http://m.speakingtree.in/spiritual-articles/lifestyle/hey-aren-t-you-bored), a lot of people responded saying it inspired them to question their priorities and think about how they could do the same. It proves that we all have the desire to go beyond the mundane and experience our creative side. That’s where the passion lies.

Working hard and being ambitious is a good thing. But a little randomness is critical to your personal growth. Say hello to yourself every now and then. Go a little retrospective on yourself. When you are in touch with your inner self, you will gravitate towards things that interest you naturally. If something appeals to you, dig a little deeper. If it fascinates you enough, go ahead and try it.

Believe me, I was clueless myself.  Like most people, I did not even know what I wanted until much later in life.  Even when I did, I procrastinated. But one fine day, I woke up and decided that I did not want to feel like that anymore, or ever again. When I acknowledged who I was and what I was meant to do, it all fell together like a jigsaw puzzle.  The picture on the box was already there, all I had to do was pick up the pieces and fix them together. No one is going to fix you; you have to do it yourself. Sometimes one little step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re going at snail’s pace, as long as you don’t stop. There is so much beauty and creativity out there. It’s crazy not to enjoy it.

This whole minimalism and mind declutter idea too is just a way to make sure that the inspiration has enough room to settle in.  All I’m doing is giving it a shot. Try and do the same.  See what touches your soul.  Feed your creativity. You will be surprised where it takes you. You put yourself out there, you explore the outer world, and slowly but surely you end up discovering your inner world.  That is where you are supposed to be. That is your destination. That is where you will feel alive!  Let things play out the way they’re meant to be.

Recently I was rummaging through some old books and found an old, dog-eared copy of ‘The Thorn Birds’ by Colleen McCollough.  That book had mesmerized me when I first read it. I leafed through the yellowed pages and it was like living the tale all over again. That’s how I feel about life.  I want to pick it up, brush off the dust, iron out the ends and recreate the magic.

Magnify your blessings

The other day, I had the privilege of catching an uplifting homily by Rev. Justin, a very dynamic speaker at our community gathering. He spoke about how we focus on our little problems and make them bigger.

He shared a story which goes something like this.  A young couple, madly in love with each other, finally got married.  The wedding was an elaborate, expensive affair.  Everything was perfect.  The only spoiler for the bride was that her beloved brother could not attend.  His leave was due a couple of weeks later and he promised to visit her then.  So she decided to save him a piece of the wedding cake.  She packed the piece of cake in a pretty see-through container and kept it in the freezer.

Sometime the following week, the couple got into an argument.  The husband tried his best to apologize and pacify his new bride, but she was stubborn and wouldn’t even talk to him. A trivial issue blown up for no reason. Two days later, as she opened the freezer, she saw the cake sitting there and tears welled up in her eyes.  That frozen bit of pastry was a reminder of their wedding ceremony, the merry guests celebrating their love and the vows they had made to each other.  She realized that a little argument wasn’t worth all the pain of the past couple of days and immediately went and hugged her husband.

So yeah, the little things matter. We all make mistakes despite our best intentions.  But what’s important is to keep reminding ourselves to ignore the petty stuff.  When you find tiny nuggets of joy, try holding a magnifying glass to them. See how the smiles grow into giant grins.  Life isn’t a joyride all the time.  The humps will be plenty and they’ll slow you down.  The vipers might get stuck and cloud your vision.  You will run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.  But always carry your magnifying glass wherever you go.  Like the cake in the story, it will help you focus.

Time to simplify? Well, yes.


So yet another brand new year had come hurtling along.  Usually my resolutions hardly ever make it past the first couple of weeks.  But I had decided that 2014 was going to be dynamic!  Those early January days might seem like a waste of time, but I believe that if nothing, they’ve added a tiny bit of growth to my slow-in-progress evolution.  Now as I’d hit the 40s, and after two doctors had discreetly mentioned ‘menopause’ as probable causes for my random symptoms, I figured it was time to bring push to shove.

I started to take my writing seriously and completed a song writing course with commendable grades. Okay, here I need to mention that I have previously had quite the reputation for leaving things halfway without any remorse or regret.  That had changed with the completion of this course and it was an achievement in itself.  Another major change in the offing was attention to health.  So even though I practised yoga in the mornings, I added evening walks to my schedule a few times a week.

January passed, things were rolling along smoothly and I got a wee bit smug.  Then came the epic fall!  Literally!  Yes, I fell down a flight of steps for no apparent reason.  As I went around garnering attention for my sore foot, a nasty rash appeared on both my lower legs.  It wasn’t funny anymore.  As it turned out, it was way more serious than a common rash and the doctor gave it a fancy name after putting me through a series of fancy tests. Sometime, in between, my mostly dormant spondylitis decided to act up as well. My writing, exercise and morale had hit a low.  I yo-yoed between self-pity and panic!

Just when I had started putting in effort to stay healthy and follow my passions, roadblocks had started appearing a little too much.  However, as I settled down and started analyzing, a surprising mellowness started emerging from within.  I ditched the allopath and went the ayurvedic way.  The clean sattvic diet started making me feel good.  So much so, that I hardly even missed the exotic stuff.  I realised that simplicity was indeed the essence of beauty, health, and all things good.  There were lessons being learned.

Heartened now, I decided to take simplicity to the next level and made a conscious effort to declutter my life.  I started with the obvious, unwanted stuff lying around the house. Next, I turned to my most sacred space, my wardrobe.  I’ve always been obsessed with clothes and my closet is filled with beautiful stuff that I regularly pick up at glossy stores.  (But even then, I have nothing to wear when I go out.  But that’s a story for another time.)  I cleared out DVD/CD drawers (it’s 2014, who keeps that stuff anyways!!!), and cutlery drawers and lofts and shelves until I collapsed into a gleeful heap.

But as my very wise husband pointed out, the biggest clutter mountain was yet to be scaled.  The dark, daunting closet where all our skeletons reside – the mind!  Our thoughts, feelings, past hurts and memories, these are the very core of our problems, physical or otherwise.

So now I’m taking on the most unnerving project of them all – The Mind Declutter Project.  It’s only when I succeed in this one that I can actually write about ‘Becoming a Minimalist’.  Until then, I’m just an evolving declutterer.