Take-A-Step Thursday #10 – Save Your Soul


There are some situations you do not voluntarily wish to be in at 4:50 AM in the morning. Playing peacekeeper between your your mind and body is definitely one of them. These two troublemakers had a humongous fight today and dragged me into their quarrel. It was actually quite alarming, to be honest.

The battle went on something like this:

*Alarm rings at 4:45 AM. Goes on for another 5 minutes until I am woken up from the very depths of my being.*

Mind: It’s 10 minutes to 5 AM. Time to get up!

Body: But I’m exhausted! You haven’t been giving me proper rest and 3 hours of sleep every night is just not enough. C’mon, have a little heart!

Mind: But you’ve been doing so amazingly well for the past 11 days! Why would you want to give up at this point? You know you want to keep going and go for that morning walk!

Body: I won’t deny it, yes I do want to go for that walk. The exercise and the morning routine have been working out pretty well but really, this is pushing my limits. I simply cannot function on a mere 3 hours of sleep every night! Why don’t you just put me to bed earlier instead of sleeping at 1:30 AM or 2 AM every night?

Mind: But that’s because you are so tired that you take 3 hour long naps in the afternoon! It’s not my fault you cannot sleep at night then!

Body: No, it’s your fault really because if you hadn’t actually ignored how drowsy I used to feel at bedtime and chosen not to indulge in mindless entertainment by surfing the net on your phone, then we wouldn’t be in this horrible predicament right now. You’ve messed up my whole rhythm! Anyway, all I know is that tomorrow is Friday and if you give me proper rest today, then you can wake me up early for a morning jog. Very few people will be there and you’ll be able to workout peacefully. Deal?

Mind: No! Why should we keep for tomorrow what we can do today? C’mon, get up! You can do this!

Body: No, I absolutely refuse! Unless you want me to collapse with exhaustion later or do something equally dramatic?

*Mind throws in the towel violently*: Gah, I give up! You’re going to be sorry for this later though!

Body: Pfft, whatever. Just let me go back to sleep.

With my body emerging victorious, I went back to sleep dazed but also feeling a little guilty. Already my mind was playing tricks on me. By the time I actually got out of bed 5 hours later (yes, I indulged myself and woke up at 10 AM!), I was in a terrible mood. My mind was royally pissed off and laying it on thick with all the guilt. I was already ashamed and feeling like a failure even before I had a chance to come to my senses. What a start to the day!

When I finally rolled out of bed (it’s lucky I don’t work at the moment!), I was irritated at my willpower’s defeat this morning. I was irritated that I hadn’t accomplished any of the thousand things that I had been getting used to doing before 10 AM. I was irritated that I would have to tackle the household chores immediately on getting up without being able to enjoy the morning. I was irritated for being so late.

But wait a minute, I thought to myself. Why was my poor soul getting battered up in this epic battle of the mind vs body? Why was I being handed a free ticket to a guilt-trip which I hadn’t signed up for? Granted it was all due to my own follies but I didn’t need to be sent to the gallows for it, did I? Surely my body needed that much deserved rest today?

I didn’t feel like doing pretty much anything by then so I gave up the responsibility of making lunch to my dad and forfeit all other morning chores to do them later in the afternoon when I wouldn’t be napping for once. I indulged in some spring cleaning of my wardrobe – something that I had been meaning to do since a couple of weeks – and just enjoyed some “me time”. That certainly shut my mind up and assuaged my guilt to a great extent.

The point I am trying to make here is to stop being so hard on yourself. Guilt in any area of your life, especially in an area you are trying to improve, eats away the soul. The whole point of good health is to have your mind, body and soul working in perfect tandem to provide balance and harmony. Distract yourself. Give yourself a little leeway to be flexible and try again. A day’s failure in your life goals doesn’t mean you’re a failure forever.

This hasn’t been easy for me to be honest. I’ve constantly compared my lack of mental strength to others who seem to have it all together and sent myself on countless guilt-trips. But I think my favourite Buddhist saying says it all, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” I wasn’t ready to learn this important life lesson before, but I am slowly getting the hang of it now. My self-talk is becoming kinder and kinder to my soul. Of course, the most important lesson that I learned here is to stop getting distracted at bedtime and to make yourself go to bed early to be able to rise early in the long run. 😛

To err is human; to forgive, divine. Learn to forgive yourself.

How have you been inspired this week? Participate in Take-A-Step Thursday by following the steps mentioned in this post.

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
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Take-A-Step Thursday #2 – Going Solo

TakeAStepThursday 2“One ticket for Kingsman: The Secret Service please.” I nervously but excitedly ask a bored-looking box office agent at the mall’s multiplex cinema on a Monday afternoon.

He nods and asks, “The show is at 12:30pm. You want a ticket for 4D or 2D?”

After comparing the prices of 4D and 2D, I opt for the latter. The agent asks me to choose my seat on the screen and I observe that only a handful of seats have been taken. This is to be expected since it’s almost lunch time on a work day. I choose a seat in the right hand corner of the last row at the back and part with my money. He hands me the ticket and I place it carefully in my wallet. Phew. He didn’t say anything.

I have some time to kill so I head to the shops. An hour passes away quickly and it’s almost time for the movie to start. As I climb up the few stairs to the cinemas and hand my ticket to the usher, I feel nervous again. He merely tears a portion of the ticket and hands the other back saying, “Kingsman. Cinema 3. Enjoy the movie ma’am.” I smile and say, “Thank you.” Phew. he didn’t comment either.

The movie theater is silent and the overhead orange lights are dim but enough to lead the way. I climb up the right aisle staircase and notice that a couple of solo movie patrons are already seated here and there. I head towards the back row, locate my seat and breathe a sigh of relief again. Phew. I’m not the only one.

As I settle down and fidget with my phone to silence it, I notice a few more people entering the theater. Some are on their own while some are in pairs. My heart speeds up as a pair of giggly ladies squeeze past me and settle down just a few seats away. I relax when I realize they are too engrossed in their tub of popcorn to notice anything. The lights go dark and the screen lights up with the first advertisement. I pray to God no one else has tickets to the back row. Suddenly, I stiffen up as two gentlemen, obviously playing hooky from work seat themselves right next to me and start talking. I begin to wonder what their line of work is. Probably something to do with outdoor sales so they can leave the office whenever they want? One of them receives a phone call and my earlier suspicion is confirmed when he says, “I am busy right now. Can I call you later?” Aha! So he is clearly avoiding work-related stuff today. He silences the phone and continues talking to his friend. The ads are still playing and I contemplate moving to the row below to avoid their chitter-chatter. God is on my side when the two men suddenly get up and move to the row below just as the movie is about to start. I thank my lucky stars and shift one seat closer to the aisle, distancing myself some more from the popcorn-crunching ladies and settle down to watch the movie in peace hugging my rucksack against me like a pillow. Phew, let’s get the fun started.

Maybe watching a movie alone isn’t such a weird thing after all.

“Go to a movie by myself.” I was starting to wonder if setting this DayZero goal was a hasty decision on my part or something that I would actually accomplish one day. I had never gone to the movies alone. Actually I had. I’d been alone to the movies a couple of times before, but that was during my several years working at a film festival where watching foreign films or a big film premiere after a work shift was how we would sometimes unwind, be it alone or in the company of another. I never considered it as a special ‘me time’ activity since I knew everybody at the festival and would run into one colleague or the other who was also there to enjoy a film.

But watching a movie alone in an actual theater? Now that was something outside my comfort zone. I knew a few people who did it all the time and I used to find it strange. Like the only reason they were going alone was because they had no friends or family who would go with them. I am sure that it’s not true but somehow I had that wrong impression in my mind.

Come Monday morning, a couple of days ago, I was Googling “solo activities to do” (no kidding) because I wanted to read about people’s experiences of doing something by themselves. I came across some great stuff like this blog. As I read more and more experiences, I began to feel confident and inspired. I immediately took out the daily tabloid and scanned the movie page. I got excited when I saw that Kingsman was playing because this was Colin Firth’s first proper action film and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

I acted on impulse and went to the mall a couple of hours later. It was now or never and I am so glad I didn’t let my mind talk me out of it. Yes, I was a bit intimidated and felt vulnerable. Yes, I was worried about what the box office agent and the usher were thinking. I was also worried about the giggly ladies and the chatty men but when I saw that there were so many people who had just come on their own, I realized it wasn’t such a big deal after all. I’ve done bigger, scarier things alone in my life and this was just going to the movies.

I thoroughly enjoyed a movie for once without talking to anyone and just being in the moment. It was great fun and I can see why more people are tempted to engage in solitary activities. I learned an important lesson too – not to wait around for someone to tag along with you wherever you want to go and then feel disappointed when they don’t want to. If you can’t find a friend, you be your own partner in crime.

What have you been inspired by to do this week? Write about it on your blog and tag it TakeAStepThursday and link back to the original post on my blog. 🙂

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
You can also follow me on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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Take-A-Step Thursday #1 – Clean up your act

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My very first Take-A-Step Thursday! Well, technically it’s my second because last week I was inspired to create the Take-A-Step Thursday event.

I’ve become pretty much OBSESSED with organizing. This might come naturally to many but I think I missed the day when God was handing out this important basic skill and for the most part of my life, a messy room, wardrobe and desk space was what I was famously known for.

Of course, I would occasionally spring clean but it usually wasn’t easy for me to let go. I always told myself that the big fat blue folder full of yellowed article clippings from 15 years ago was worth holding on to, that the pants from 5 years ago were still wearable and that I would read those travel brochures one day. Well, that day never came, things kept piling up and I was labelled a ‘hoarder’ and a ‘pack rat’ in my work and family circles.

Thankfully, that part of my life is behind me. I don’t know how or when it happened, but about a year or two ago, my mind just couldn’t take the overwhelming chaos anymore. I went through everything I owned, item by item and threw or recycled the things I didn’t need. Not being able to find anything useful and a serious lack of storage space were big motivators for me to throw out the old and bring in the new.

I can now say this truthfully. Seeing my old junk leave the house is the best feeling I’ve ever had. It makes room for so many good things in life, two of them being a better peace of mind and a sharper level of focus. Creativity does flow freely in a clean home and I am now able to be more inspired to take on different challenges, like for example giving more attention to this blog.

This week, I was inspired to detoxify my email clutter. This was also one of the items that I gleefully checked off on my DayZero Project list (I haven’t posted all my goals on the blog yet).

It’s amazing the amount of storage space we take up both physically and virtually! I went through the arduous task of clearing out my 7 email addresses two days ago. YES, SEVEN. I know, I’m very excessive.

Anyway, I took two straight days this week to delete all spam, Facebook and Twitter comments and messages, unsubscribe to countless subscriptions to newsletters and updates which I never read, uncheck email notification boxes in all my social networks which are checked by default and went through emails from 2005 (!!!) including folders and sent items and deleted everything before 2012. After deleting more than 10,000+ emails combined (!!!!) and moving the important ones to their respective folders, my fingers were sore and my mind numb.

But man, oh man, it was the BEST time investment ever. Reading some of those emails from all of those years ago was not fun but it was interesting to see how much I have changed since then. It feels incredibly good to let go of the past. I now have a squeaky clean inbox and the important stuff is neatly tucked away where it’s supposed to be. Such a relief!

My next big clean-up tasks include cleaning my Facebook messages from several years ago which is a bit of a pain because you have to individually delete each message. Also up is decluttering my laptop because randomly downloaded stuff and personal photographs have gotten a bit out of hand. I also plan to go through my external hard drive to see if I can maximise space.

Clearing out clutter is such a liberating experience. I learned some pretty valuable lessons along the way to my home detox journey, inspired by so many Youtubers and websites:

1. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, start by making your bed. You’ll automatically feel so much better! If it’s already made, then great! You’ve accomplished a big task already. I don’t know where I heard or read this great tip but I’ve been following it pretty consistently for some months. Admiral William McRaven also instills the same disciplinary habit in his Navy SEAL students the moment they enroll :

Make your bed

2. I discovered Terri a couple of days ago and absolutely love her motivational videos. She also has some great videos on clutter clear outs where she suggests starting with the most important room in the house and then spending just 20 minutes each day cleaning the mess that is visible on the outside and then moving on to out-of-sight items gradually.

3. Alejandra, a home organizing guru, is my original inspiration from two years ago and I really aspire to have a completely organized home like hers. She has a place for anything and everything!

4. Of course, Pinterest is just lovely. I could spend years and years on it and still wouldn’t be able to tap its wonderful potential. It’s a great inspiration tool for DIY projects and to make the best of what you already have.

5. Regina Brett, one of my favourite authors who has written this famous book, also wrote a great article about decluttering which I came across recently. Her inspiration is a Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo who lives by one rule – Only keep the things that spark joy in you and let go of the rest after thanking them for fulfilling their purpose in your life. Pretty powerful advice.

6. The biggest tip I would give is, do it periodically – maybe once every six months. Take a couple of weekends and go through all your things again. You’ll not only relive good memories but you’ll probably wonder why you still have a bunch of receipts and those worn out pair of shoes lying around. Remember, less is more.

I have by no means reached the level of organization that I want to but I am pretty happy that I have gotten so far. I hope this post inspired you in some way to accomplish a challenge that you’ve been wanting to do since forever.

So what have you been inspired by this week? Share your inspirations on your blog every Thursday with a link back to the original post and the tag TakeAStepThursday. 🙂

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
You can also follow me on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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Be Inspired!

Hello everyone!

So I’ve been inspired to clean up my act this week. You’ll know more about what I mean in tomorrow’s event Take-A-Step Thursday!

What step are you taking this Thursday? Share your inspired thoughts and actions by taking part in this original weekly feature!

Don’t forget to tag your post TakeAStepThursday and link back to the original post. 🙂

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
You can also follow me on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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New Blogging Event! Take-A-Step Thursday!

TakeAStepThursday 2

Ever since I’ve started blogging, I’ve been so inspired by lovely bloggers who come up with great topics to talk about, events to participate in, challenges they’ve set for themselves and encouraging words and ideas that make me want to get my creative juices flowing!

There is no such thing as too much inspiration. Take-A-Step Thursday is an original weekly feature by Thistles and Whistles where you share your inspired thoughts and start a viral chain of positive actions and events !

What has inspired you this week? It could be anything from a book you’ve read, a quote from your Holy Scripture, a moving film you have watched, a cat video, DIY projects on Pinterest, a baby giggling, a beautiful photograph, the rising sun, your pets, a motivational clip – anything that has filled your mind with purpose to take a step and do something!

What have you been inspired to do as a result? Have you got an idea to create a scrapbook of travel photographs and memorabilia, join a book club, organize your drawers, renovate your home, make a bucket list, sky dive, write a book, clear out your email clutter, engage in some community events, volunteer at a pet shelter, make a personal manifesto, start a recycling program in your office, take a trip to another country or try an exotic recipe?

Here’s what you have to do:
1. Write a post of what has inspired you this week on Thursdays. Share a link or post a picture of your inspiration.
2. Include in the same post what you have been inspired to do as a result. Share your ideas. It could be the same thing you’ve been inspired to do (for eg. you saw a recipe and you’ve been inspired to make it as well) or it could be something entirely different. Posting your ideas on your blog will actually make you want to do it.
3. Tag your post TakeAStepThursday on WordPress and #TakeAStepThursday on Twitter and Instagram. 
4. Link back to this post. (Linking back to the blog Thistles and Whistles doesn’t give me a notification unfortunately).
6. Engage with other bloggers to share and receive some ideas and inspiration.

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
You can also follow me on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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DayZero Project

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Have you heard of DayZero? It’s a neat little online community where you can set yourself 101 goals and challenges to accomplish in 1001 days. So that’s about 3 months short of 3 years to accomplish 101 goals that matter to you, no matter how infinitesimal or absolutely crazy they maybe.

I discovered it last November and set myself some goals from the prompts and suggestions provided and of course, promptly forgot about them. I remembered that the clock’s-a-ticking only a couple of weeks ago. I sat myself down and revised my goals list to things that really matter to me and that I can realistically achieve.

I keep looking at the list of 80-something goals I have set myself on DayZero (some very much achievable in the near future and some that I am absolutely not sure HOW I am going to accomplish them) but my job is not to worry about the how, it’s to set the wheels in motion. I’ve already started working on some of them. I’ve already spoken about using the law of attraction and the importance of creating a vision board to achieve your desires here.

I do not claim to be an expert in goal-setting at all, in fact I am going to be outright honest by saying that most of the goals I set out to accomplish in my 27 before 28 list are still pending but I will not give up. I have a good feeling about DayZero though, I think it will be a fun experience especially knowing that there are so many other like-minded goal setters on the same platform who you can follow and get some inspiration from.

I also like the fact that you are not under an immediate pressure to try to accomplish everything,  you have 1001 days and you can prioritize your list from the most important to the not-so-important.

Here are just a fraction of my goals I plan to achieve in the next 926 days (that’s how much time I have left to complete them, yikes!):

1. Blog at least 4 times a month.
2. Write letters to at least 5 people who inspired me in some way.
3. Watch 10 movies in French.
4. Go on a road trip.
5. Karaoke, at least once!
6. Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days are over.
7. Grow something from a seed.
8. Send a message in a bottle.
9. Refurnish my room.
10. Write a personal mission statement.

If you haven’t tried DayZero yet, do it. It’s so much of fun, maybe you just might end up changing those “Things you want to do someday” into “Things you have done”!

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
You can also follow me on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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