Step by Step

Step by Step

All journeys begin with a step, consist of steps and end with the final step…as for those ongoing journeys of making resolutions to be healthy/loose fat and flab/maintain accounts/read / drink less/learn to dance/stay cool etc etc— I get surprised, in a totally unsurprising way, about how often ( and how quickly) these journeys cease. Five decades plus of being an Earth citizen and I continue to be amazed and wonderstruck about this.
The amazement and wonder is a nice experience, when one is an onlooker. But the real issue of not being able to stick to a habit altering resolution, or stopping before starting, is that sinking feeling of realizing that I am a looser. When that voice inside me hollers “Not AGAIN, Mala!!”, I begin searching for the correct justification—oh well, ‘excuse’ is the right term!!
So, shall I spill the beans and share my list of regularly-begun-and-equally-regularly-journeys-of-improvement?! Considering one of the main reasons for blogging was to keep an online record of my stunts, here we go…

• Yoga and strength training regime on a daily basis

• Completing some of the WIPS (works in progress—nice term for unfinished projects heading for the trash can)

• Keeping enough wool/yarn stocks just for ME, not the next five generations of (hopefully) craft –crazed people who are waiting in ovaries. Here, the hope is two-fold…my daughters adopting parenthood as a viable life option, and the craft genes going into dominant mode at every level.

• Brushing the doggies every morning.

• Clearing out old clothes/documents/cuttings and having neat and clean and airy and smart drawers/shelves/cupboards….all the time.

We will stop right here, before your curiosity and my enthusiasm wither away. So therefore, my dear readers–invisible most of the time, but I can feel your presence ( like those eyes peering at Snow-White while she walks in the forest ) , I have put up my hands to show you my innards. Nay, these are my ill-fated inward journeys, which make no difference to anyone except me. Nay again…if I do embark successfully on these journeys, my sunny disposition and cheer will make a difference to all!!
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While the dogs nap the afternoon away, blissfully unconcerned about my possible un-sunny disposition, I share the initial, hesitant steps I have been taking for the past week. I have taken similar initial, hesitant steps many a time over the past few decades, but this time, I feel a difference. The fact that I am writing about this, that I vow to be honest with the progress of the steps, that you are watching me, and maybe, cheering me( between sips of tea/coffee, or puffs of nicotine/something more exciting, or before having a nap), gives this journey a different flavor of earnest optimism.
Preparatory ground work has been done after delving into my resources of common-sense ( limited at the best of times), experience and hard-hitting honesty. I have dug deep into the fields of Cyber-knowledge and found nuggets of advice and help. But wisdom is all about incorporating and merging those nuggets into one’s mind. And my mind has a mind of its own.
Minimalism, as discussed by Leo Babauta (http://zenhabits.net) and The Minimalists (http://www.theminimalists.com), has been a beacon in the right direction. Knitters, of course, swing from writing about having enough yarn for one project, to the joys of stashing yarn behind books, inside empty pressure cookers and between layers of winter quilts. I love reading their blogs, but “reading” does not have to mean “following”.
And so, after ahemming and hawing, after dragging my feet and playing Spider Solitaire games, after trying out possible excuses which might work, here are the steps which are being taken by me—baby steps on a daily basis.

• After waking up and walking the dogs till the golf-course and back, I place four canine snacks for the (soon to be) famous four, and walk straight into my bedroom and the waiting yoga mat. 3 sets of Surya-Namaskar, five different sets of abdominal crunches, two sets of push-ups, and a set of shoulder-stands are done without allowing a single thought to enter the mind. Experience has taught me that early morning thoughts, during exercise, are usually excuses.

• After rolling up yoga mat—make bed with vigor and care—move to the shining, sunny kitchen to make breakfast and tea. Eat and drink with joy and pride (after all, one major event—exercise—has been completed).

• Breakfast over, time to roll up sleeves and do some focused clearing –for just twenty minutes by the clock. That clearing could be a shelf, some clothes and socks, yarn stash, provisions. And just for twenty minutes. Anything remaining will be taken up on later days.

• Tra la la..its 9 am, and I am well fed, exercised and de-cluttered. Time to bring on the fun…open laptop, check FB, read blogs, knit, chat with Hema, work with the knitters—the whole day is mine, with a halo of golden goodliness around my head!

Every weekend, by Sunday afternoon, I am going to complete both these projects
• Finish ONE WIP from that massive cluster inhabiting my world. This includes one-of-a-pair-of-socks, scarves, shawls, crochet bedspreads, gloves and so much more. I have enough choice to spice up every weekend of this year.

• Knit one hat every weekend, with yarn already available in the cupboard. Have completed two ( wrote about the quicky hat here…) and viola, have a look at this weekend beauty.
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• Post the results, every week.. This is the only way to keep going, step by step, on this chosen path of minimalism with medium efforts and maximum gains.
Wish me luck, my dear readers!!

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