Treading Lightly Through Life

In the last few months I have been through a unique learning experience. With two parents passing away I have had to pick up the leftover pieces of their lives.

Left with two homes to clean up, settle and de-clutter I have had to face some hard-hitting facts of life and in the messy and chaotic moments I have learned.

My mother’s vintage China that the kids don’t want, my husband’s old golf gear, furniture no one has place for, closets and bedrooms stuffed with long replaced stuff….sentimental knick-knacks gathering dust sending guilt pangs for wanting to dispose them. Whatever for?

A mild voice whispers, “downsize”! I ignore it for a while and it persists, “is it time to minimise and break-free of past burdens? And from the bigger burdens of unproductive habits and addictive behaviours too?

Of course it is!

Whether it is coffee, cocaine, substances, gambling or social media it’s time to listen to the silent voice within…de-clutter and lighten the load!

It’s time to be good to yourself. It’s time to take action, cut unnecessary ties and free up space and time because inaction and indecision take a heavy emotional toll.

There’s a story I read that illustrates this perfectly…

A man had been walking a long time on the road carrying heavy bags. Even shifting the load from one hand to the other was not helping…he was so weary and his arms were stiffening. His bags were many, a bag for future plans, a bag of keys for success, a bag for repairing the past, a very big one of regrets and another biggest one that kept all others “safe”. He had a bag for everything imaginable.

His load so obsessed him that he didn’t see a stranger on the side of the road. The stranger said, “that’s quite a load! Care to sit for a while?”

This surprised him as the option of rest had not occurred to him. They sat in silence for a while…it was good and comfortable. Then the man noticed that the stranger had no bags. How could he survive, I mean everyone had to have some bags! His thought chatter got the better of him and he asked, “you don’t have any bags? Why not?”

The stranger smiled because many had asked him the same question before. He said, “one fine day I actually heard my own voice telling me how tired I was. It was a familiar voice of course, but i had never bothered to listen to it earlier. The realisation hit me hard. My instant reaction was to think about another bag that I had always wanted. But what would I do with another bag? I didn’t even know where I was going? I had come to believe that my search for relief was the same as having a direction in life!

So what am I searching for relief from? From the heavy load, of course! Because these were supposed to make my journey easier, more enjoyable…but they hadn’t! And I couldn’t come up with any good answer to why I had collected all these bags.” Hearing this they both laughed!

And the lesson for me….when life gets heavy, I remind myself of the need for change. It’s not so much that my life needs to change but my view of life does.

It’s then that I begin to see how I create these burdensome bags that I have to carry. Without that burden life really is a wonderful place to be and not merely a task to go through.

The truth is that we don’t have to be somebody….or have to go any place…we’re already in the place we ought to be.

It’s then that we begin to walk lightly through life!


Until next time….

Ritu Malhotra

Originally published at




Ritu Malhotra founded Ajna Center for Learning in 1987 and is a psychologist, a kinesiologist working with stress related imbalances and is a teaching

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Discover Ajna

Discover Ajna

Ritu Malhotra founded Ajna Center for Learning in 1987 and is a psychologist, a kinesiologist working with stress related imbalances and is a teaching

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