Do you know how much stuff you carry around with you unnecessarily?
By stuff, I mean not just physical but also the mental clutter we have most of the time.
It is not always easy to get rid of the mental chatter, but you can certainly let go of the physical stuff quite easily.
Earlier on today, after a spell of writing, I fancied some fresh air and so off I went for a brisk walk. It had been snowing and rather than sensibly wrapping up, I decided to go minimalist and wore just a light coat over a t-shirt.
This time last year I was training to walk the London marathon so I am quite used to walking briskly and dressing lightly. It’s amazing how quickly one warms up by walking briskly, especially when it’s so cold!
What was different today was I went as light as possible and de-cluttered my pockets and got rid of all distractions.
It was a wonderful walk in the park and I came home refreshed and reinvigorated. Apart from the crisp air, what really helped me today was my preparation beforehand.
I went minimalist with nothing unnecessary on me. This also made me realise just how we go through life with so much stuff, both physical and mental.
So what should you take and not take next time you go for your own walk?
Here’s what worked for me:-
1. House keys – leave them with a neighbour if you can, if no one else will be home when you return.
2. Jewellery – don’t wear any. Not even a ring – its only for a short time.
3. Watch – leave this behind too. It’s wonderfully liberating not having to worry about the time.
4. Wallet – leave all your money and wallet/ purse behind. Plan not to buy anything along the way. Not having the money will help you resist any temptations.
5. Mobile phone – definitely leave this behind. I did so today – and guess what, the world didn’t end!
6. Camera – for once, do without any gadgets. This was quite a challenge since I am always tempted to carry a camera with me every time I go to my local park.
7. MP3 player – listen to the birds in the park, if you are lucky and the music of your soul rather than any tinkering from a gadget.
8. Clothes – wear light clothes, just enough to keep you warm and dry.
9. Shoes – wear comfortable walking or running shoes, not work shoes or high heels.
When you go on a minimalist walk, do tell someone beforehand where you are going, if it’s dark. If you must, then carry a water bottle if you plan to go far.
What about letting go of the mental clutter?
There are a number of things you can do:-
1. Breathe deeply – of course being in nature in a park will help. But if you are on a road with heavy passing traffic, then just be more cautious and find an alternate route as soon as you can.
2. Walk erect and with your head held high – this will do wonders for your posture and you will naturally feel better and happier.
3. You can try walking meditation simply by focussing on each step as you move forward. Focusing on your breath and your step will really clear out any repetitive swirling thoughts.
4. Do look around and be present to what’s around you. If you meet strangers, do look them in the eye and acknowledge as appropriate – it’s amazing what a simple stare and nod can do to make you feel more alive and connected with others.
5. Smile – this is possibly the most important thing you can do on your walk to clear out your mental clutter. Of course, your smile must be genuine and be careful how long you keep the smile glued on your face when smiling at strangers!
I got back from my walk and I wrote this post in less than 30 minutes – clearly my walk helped to get me refreshed.
So the key learning for me today is to go on more empowering walks and continue to declutter my life.
And yet again, it’s clear that we can all do much more to simplify our life and start using and keeping only what we really, really need.
So when will you go on your own empowering walk – and what mental and physical clutter will you clear out along the way?