These are a few of my favorite things: #39(Walden on Wheels : On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas)

Pic courtesy New york times

Pic courtesy New york times

This book takes us on an inspiring journey as we get to know how the author Ken Ilgunas frees himself from a massive educational loan by following the simplicity n frugality model of Thoreau’s Walden.

I was drawn to the book for 3 main reasons. First, I found Ilgunas’ desire to live super frugally in order to pay his loans Very refreshing. This is totally opposite of what I see the kids doing in India(majority though definitely not all).  Parents here  finance the most expensive education of kids, even taking loans in their own names. & after that if these kids don’t get a high paying job which  they feel they deserve, they won’t pick up some small jobs to support themselves + they never dream of cutting down their royal extravagant lifestyle. They must have all the luxuries: expensive gym memberships,  expensive food items. Even after draining their parents financially, they behave irresponsibly, can’t be bothered to switch of lights n fans even when not in use (electricity bills be damned, after all parent will be paying for that too in any case), they can’t even pick up after themselves or do things around home (they need to have their personal servants). The standards of living of these shameless, self entitled youth is very high. Ken Ilgunas is indeed the role model this generation needs.

Second I’ve always admired Thoreau’s experiments in solitude, simplicity & frugality.

Third I find the calm, quite life full of simplicity, solitude & grace which the author led far more desirable & charming than the grotesque life of the Filthy Rich n Famous

Here is an excerpt from the book:

My experiment began in the spring semester of 2009 when I enrolled in the graduate liberal studies department. Months before, I had just finished paying off $32,000 in undergraduate student loans — no easy feat for an English major.

To pay off my debt, I’d found jobs that provided free room and board. I moved to Coldfoot, Alaska — 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 250 from the nearest store — where I worked as a lodge cleaner, a tour guide and a cook. Later, I worked on a trail crew in Mississippi in an AmeriCorps program. Between jobs I hitchhiked more than 7,000 miles to avoid paying airfare. When I couldn’t find work, I moved in with friends. My clothes came from donation bins, I had friends cut my hair, and I’d pick up odd jobs when I could. Nearly every dime I made went into my loans.

I hated my debt more than anything. I dragged it with me wherever I went. While I was still leading an exciting, adventurous life, I knew I could never truly be free until my debt was gone.

I finally got out of the red when I landed a well-paying job with the Park Service as a backcountry ranger. Finally, after two and a half years of work, my debt was gone. I had four grand in the bank that was mine. All mine. It was the first time I had actual money that hadn’t been borrowed or given to me since I was a 13-year-old paperboy.

The more money I had borrowed, I came to realize, the more freedom I had surrendered. Yet, I still considered my education — as costly as it was — to be priceless. So now, motivated to go back to school yet determined not to go back into debt, I had to think outside the box. Or, as Henry David Thoreau might suggest, inside one.

In “Walden,” Thoreau mentioned a 6 foot-by-3 foot box he had seen by the railroad in which laborers locked up their tools at night. A man could live comfortably in one of these boxes, he thought. Nor would he have to borrow money and surrender freedom to afford a “larger and more luxurious box.”

And so: I decided to buy a van. Though I had never lived in one, I knew I had the personality for it. I had a penchant for rugged living, a sixth sense for cheapness, and an unequaled tolerance for squalor.

My first order of business upon moving to Duke was to find my “Walden on Wheels.” After a two-hour bus ride into the North Carolinian countryside, I caught sight of the ’94 Ford Econoline that I had found advertised on Craigslist. Googly-eyed, I sauntered up to it and lovingly trailed fingertips over dents and chipped paint. The classy cabernet sauvignon veneer at the top slowly, sensuously faded downward into lustrous black. I got behind the wheel and revved up the fuel-funneling beast. There was a grumble, a cough, then a smooth and steady mechanical growl. It was big, it was beautiful, and — best of all — it was $1,500.

I bought it immediately. So began what I’d call “radical living.”

My “radical living” experiment convinced me that the things plunging students further into debt — the iPhones, designer clothes, and even “needs” like heat and air conditioning, for instance — were by no means “necessary.” And I found it easier to “do without” than I ever thought it would be. Easier by far than the jobs I’d been forced to take in order to pay off my loans.

Living in a van was my grand social experiment. I wanted to see if I could — in an age of rampant consumerism and fiscal irresponsibility — afford the unaffordable: an education.

I pledged that I wouldn’t take out loans. Nor would I accept money from anybody, especially my mother, who, appalled by my experiment, offered to rent me an apartment each time I called home. My heat would be a sleeping bag; my air conditioning, an open window. I’d shower at the gym, eat the bare minimum and find a job to pay tuition. And — for fear of being caught — I wouldn’t tell anybody.

Living on the cheap wasn’t merely a way to save money and stave off debt; I wanted to live adventurously. I wanted to test my limits. I wanted to find the line between my wants and my needs. I wanted, as Thoreau put it, “to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life … to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

Not only is his story of adventure very gripping n absorbing, but the book is peppered with little gems of wisdom like these:

“Reading sixteenth-century French poetry, suffering through Kant, and studying the finer points of the Jay Treaty may seem to be, on first appearance, completely, utterly, irrefutably pointless, yet somehow in studying, discussing, and writing about these ‘pointless’ subjects, the liberal arts have the capacity to turn on a certain part of the brain that makes us ask ourselves questions like: 

Who am I?  What’s worth fighting for? Who’s lying to us? What’s my purpose? What’s the point of it all? 

Perhaps many students would rather not be irritated with these questions, yet being compelled to grapple with them, it seems, can make us far less likely to be among those who’ll conform, remain complacent, or seek jobs with morally ambiguous employers” (p. 243).

“Discomforts are only discomforting when they’re an unexpected inconvenience, an unusual annoyance, an unplanned-for irritant. Discomforts are only discomforting when we aren’t used to them. But when we deal with the same discomforts every day, they become expected and part of the routine, and we are no longer afflicted with them the way we were…Give your body the chance to harden, your blood to thicken, and your skin to toughen, and you’ll find that the human body carries with it a weightless wardrobe. When we’re hardy in mind and body, we can select from an array of outfits to comfortably bear most any climate”

This book would be of huge interest not only for students, but for anyone seeking simple, spartan, frugal n calm way of living. We need more young guys like Ken Ilgunas n we need more inspirational tales like this.


September 5, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Book Review, Books, Happiness, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My Favorite Things, My lifestyle, My Values, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Reading, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity. Leave a comment.

These are a few of my favorite things: #38(Queen of Versailles); Quitting the Rat Race #19


Queen of Versailles is a peek into the (sad & pathetic) lives of (filthy) Rich n Famous. We always try to speculate whether money buys happiness or not. We philosophize & wonder about it. We reason n we argue. There is no definitive answer to this quest. Everyone has their own hypothesis n conclusions. Now this Award winning Documentary  by Lauren Greenfield  gives us an excellent lens to see things with our own eyes. n then decide!! It’s a commentary on the emptiness of consumerism driven life & failure of the American Dream.

The Queen of Versailles” began as a documentary about a time-share billionaire, his ditzy wife, and their grotesque quest to build the largest house in the United States of America. It ended as perhaps the single best film on the Great Recession.”

The Siegels have a plan to build a 90,000 square feet home, bigger than the White house n modeled on the Palace of Versailles, ‘cos their life can no longer fit into the 26,000 square feet home!! Now just look at what all it will have when finished:

When completed it will have:

  • 15 bedrooms

  • 30 bathrooms, each with a full-sized jacuzzi tub

  • 10 kitchens and a sushi bar

  • Bowling alley

  • Baseball field

  • 2-3 Theater sized Entertainment Centres

  • Roller-skating rink

  • Arcade

  • 3 swimming pools

  • Fitness center

  • Spa

  • 20 car garage

  • Staff Quarters

10 Kitchens!! Are you fucking kidding me? I mean what do you need 10 kitchens for?? Reminds me of one of my favorite stories, ‘The Billionaires‘ by Maxim Gorky in which he wonders what do billionaires do with all the wealth..Do have stomachs twice/thrice the size of normal people? or do they have more mouths?? or maybe more teeth!

Now about the Siegels:

David Siegel is the founder n owner of Westgate, the pioneer n biggest player in Timeshare holiday industry. He is 74 something. He married Jackie, a beauty pageant winner n 30 years his junior when he was 60. Together they have 8 children!!!. Jackie has a fondness for shopping n she shops things by truckloads (or rather limousine loads) when the stuff is already overflowing in their huge mansion. There are too many children, too many (neglected) pets,too many nannies n housekeeping help n too much clutter, n too little appreciation for anything, n no Savings. Obviously they fly in their Private jets n when the recession hit their fortunes, the ‘poor’ folks had to fly commercial…one of the son asks, ‘What are all these people doing in our plane?’ !!

David says everyone wants to be rich,if they are not rich, they want to feel rich n if they don’t want to feel rich, they are dead!!! 

But is he himself happy with all this wealth and opulence?? The Answer comes from the horses mouth. David  openly admits to the camera that nothing makes him happy any more. Asked if he draws strength from his marriage, he flatly replies, “No.” Finally , some sense starts to prevail when it becomes clear to him that recession has actually hit them too. Then he is like a normal middle class person getting worried about electricity bills, Housing staff is cut down drastically, but regardless the X’mas shopping n party are celebrated with fanfare.

As a person who actually enjoys frugality n living beneath the mean,I really don’t understand a lifestyle filled with so much extravagance n wastage. Period. Even if I had billions n trillions I would really want to stay the way we live now. The big mansions don’t even excite me. I dream of shifting into smaller n smaller homes n finally ending up in tiny house (1100 square feet). Tiny houses n simple lifestyle with low footprint is what excites me. I am not even interested in how their life fell apart during recession…I don’t like that extravagant n wasteful lifestyle even if had continued being so without hiccups. That kind of lifestyle is empty n hideous. I’m simply not interested in too much money, ‘cos all it gets you is a super ugly gold throne. I’m happy lounging in my easy chair, reading books n daydreaming.


September 4, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . English Movies, Happiness, Meaning of Life, Movies, Must Watch Movies, My lifestyle, My Values, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom. 1 comment.

These are a few of my favorite things: #25 (Soak up the sun by Sheryl Crow)

Soak up the sun by Sheryl Crow

My friend the communist
Holds meetings in his RV
I can’t afford his gas
So I’m stuck here watching TV

I don’t have digital
I don’t have diddly squat
It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up (I’m gonna tell ’em that)
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up
I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna soak up the sun

I’ve got a crummy job
It don’t pay near enough
To buy the things it takes
To win me some of your love
Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up (I’m gonna tell ’em that)
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
While it’s still free

I’m gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me

Don’t have no master suite
But I’m still the king of me
You have a fancy ride, but baby
I’m the one who has the key
Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do
Maybe I am crazy too

Who needs stupid expensive materialistic stuff when we have a rocking attitude to enjoy an uncomplicated simple life? The beauty of simple pleasures (n listening to such songs is among them) is really something else n is really kinda lost on people who are stuck in the rat race n living the false dream.Maybe something is really wrong with them to be lost in false glittery branded fake things n looking down on folks who are having the real fun!! Instead of racing for the new car, or gizmos or exotic vactions n villas, I’d just soak up the sun n chill. !!

Also check out my another favorite: Society

March 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . Happiness, Music, My Favorite Things, My lifestyle, My Values, Quitting the Rat Race, Simplicity, Wisdom. 1 comment.

These are a few of my favorite things: #13 (The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant)

English: Guy de Maupassant. Français : Guy de ...

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant is a tragedy that highlights the downside of discontent, ingratitude & showoffism (living to impress others & be admired by others). Matilde is a very beautiful woman born to a poor family & married to an equally poor clerk in the Department of Education. Her husband is very loving but Matilde is very unhappy. She feels she is born to lead a life of luxury & to be rubbing shoulders with the rich & famous.  She has lot of things going for her…she is beautiful, she has a loving husband & a good domestic help so she doesn’t have to slog it n do the domestic chores. But instead of enjoying the good things she does have she’s always pining for things she doesn’t have. One day Liosel brings her an invitation to a ball dance held by some high official in his ministry. Liosel also gives her money that he’d been saving, to buy a new dress for the ball but then she also wants jewellery to go with her new dress.  When Liosel suggests she could wear flowers she scoffs at the suggestion. Then it is decided that she will borrow some jewellery from her rich friend Mme. Foresteir. Thus Matilde attends the party dressed upto nines complete with the borrowed necklace. She is the center of attention that evening. That is perhaps the best evening in her life, reveling in all the attention lavished on her. But alas! Before the Ball ends she loses her friend’s necklace. So they buy a ditto new necklace on instalments & return it to Mme. Forestier. Then spend the next ten years slogging to earn the money to pay for it. Matilde has to do away with her domestic help & do all the chores. Soon she loses her beauty & starts ageing prematurely due to toil & worry. The final tragic moment occurs when she meets Mme. Foresteir in the market one day & learns the the necklace she borrowed was a fake!!! The story wouldn’t have been half as tragic if the lost necklace was indeed real n expensive. Through the fake necklace we are given the message that at times we may be lured by the glitter of glamorous life but it is nothing but hollow n empty from inside. The real joy comes from contentment & gratitude for the things we have in life n not for running after mirages.

Here’s a beautiful animated adoption of the story (subtitles in English)

February 5, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . Happiness, Quitting the Rat Race, Reading, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom, You tube. Leave a comment.

These are a few of my favorite things: #12 (Consolation by Billy Collins)

Consolation by Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins (Photo credit: marcelo noah)

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Though the poet has written the poem humorously & as a means to console himself for not being able to take a vacation in Europe, I see it quite in the literal much better indeed not to be tiring yourself on holidays to some obscure place doing the usual touristy things, running from one tourist hot spot to another, spending insane amount of time & energy on planning n logistics. Why not relax at home instead & enjoy your own city with new eyes? I know a lot of people who go to distant places for holidays but don’t know their own city intimately…why? Is a place alluring n beautiful only ‘cos it is far off?   Perhaps a part of vacation charm lies in  impressing neighbors n peers with the money you spend on your holidays!! Perhaps it’s a status symbol….perhaps people who are convinced about the benefits of always being busy n of multitasking like to do things on holidays too, bungee-jumping, hiking, rafting, blah blah, this already is looking tiring to least holidays should be reserved for relaxation n just being.. i’m sold on the concept of comforts of home rather than huffing n puffing on holidays.

Home is the Best

Here is Billy Collins reading his poem:

February 4, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . My lifestyle, My Values, Poetry, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Solitude, Wisdom, You tube. 2 comments.

These are a few of my favorite things: #11 (Society by Jerry Hannan & Eddie Vedder)

These are a few of my favorite things: #11 (Society by Jerry Hannan & Eddie Vedder)


It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won’t be free

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me

When you want more than you have, you think you need
And when you think more than you want, your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
Cause when you have more than you think, you need more space

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you’re not lonely without me

This is a beautiful song both in music & in lyrics. Song for the people who refuse to be a part of the crowd. Our so called ‘society’ is nothing but crowds who have agreed pretty crazy & stupid definitions of happiness & success. Success is defined by one’s possessions & power. Whoever has the most stuff wins!! Looks pretty bad to me. No thanks, I’d rather be singing the song of my own soul than be caught up in this silly, mad frenzy. Society has no place for individuality. Those who live by their own rules are failures in the eyes of society. But ironically the so called successful people who played by society’s template of success (get good grades, slog your ass off in some stupid dumbass job that you pretend is very important, get married, produce 2.5 children, get a house, get 2 cars, go to exotic vacations, compete with the neighbors, compete with co-workers over who has more stuff, who eats out more, who vacations more n so it continues) are deeply unhappy & at a loss to understand why they feel so bad when they are doing all the ‘right’ things. This template looked non-sense to me from the beginning. Never appealed to me. I never felt the need to be a super-woman, to have it all. I’m my own person & that is more than enough for me. It’s really a mystery that people actually engage in all this n then they die without having known what is life really all about, what peace of mind is, what individuality is. How much happiness you can have sitting in your room, idly thinking, contemplating, gently communing with nature, taking things slow, living life at the pace of life n not running endless rat race. As Mark Twain noted, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”

Also see my other favorite: Soak up the sun

February 1, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Consumerism, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Solitude, Wisdom. 1 comment.

Zen & The Joy of Cooking: Zen Moments #5

English: paella cooking in Spain, by José-Manu...

Image via Wikipedia

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”~Alan W. Watts

Today a news item caught my eyes ‘Community kitchen’ gives Bohra women freedom from cooking’:

‘Hundreds of women  from the Dawoodi Bohra community have been unshackled from the hearth thanks to the ‘community kitchen’
“Women spent most of their time cooking. Our religious head wanted to free them from the kitchens so that they could focus on more constructive work” ‘

Many people I know have same feelings as above towards cooking. They resent the time they have to spend in kitchen to cook. Maids are engaged to take this drudgery off their backs. I don’t associate words like drudgery, shackle, chore with my cooking…it is one of the core things I do for myself n my hubby very lovingly. I guess food cooked with love & care nurtures the bonds of affection. As my hubby always tells me that the reason he always finds food cooked by me delicious is because the main ingredient that I put in all my dishes is love. Likewise he also enjoys making tea for me & cooking for me on weekends. Also, Cooking, if done with the right frame of mind can be a very meditative, a very Zen like experience.

This article from New York Times brings out the various facets associated with the fine Art of Cooking
(The Zen of Cooking, Or Joy When Time Allows)

‘Cooking enhances a basic human need, he said, and therefore offers inherent pleasure.
“Cooking covers tremendous levels of complexity, varying from simple rote activity to artistry, thereby challenging people to do better and better,” says Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and author of “Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience” .
“I’m not surprised that cooking won’t go away,” he said. “I can lose myself making a Bolognese sauce, finely chopping the onions, the carrots, three kinds of meat, and the slow, slow simmering. There is a sense of order and control and something so wholesome and tactile about cooking. Besides, how many times does modern life offer the opportunity to create something with one’s hands?”
For home cooks like Ken Henke, a trial lawyer in Lafayette, La., the drudge aspects of preparing a meal are magic. “Cooking’s my therapy,” he said. “You have to concentrate on an onion when you’re mincing an onion. You can’t think about your high-stress job. A minced finger is not a pleasant addition to a gumbo.”
“Cooking a dish has a beginning, a middle and an end,” he said. “To me, that order can be as soothing and challenging as composing. In years of cooking, I’ve certainly gotten to know my limitations technically. But I’ve also come to see the kind of courage and tenacity that I have.”
Microwavable meals and cans that require only an opener can be a boon to harried life, but they don’t offer enough challenge to deliver such insight.
“If human beings only cared about satisfying a basic instinctual need, we’d grab food off a rack,” Dr. Csik szentmihalyi said. “But we don’t. To do that would be robbing ourselves of the possibility of an optimal experience.”
Saving time in the kitchen, in other words, doesn’t necessarily guarantee large deposits in the pleasure bank. Just as cooking transforms food, it can transform individuals. And this phenomenon isn’t limited to culinary professionals or hobbyists.
Cooking seems to be supplanting the proverbial basket-weaving in psychiatric and social rehabilitation efforts. Barbara Hughes, a social worker who runs a cooking program for homeless women in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan, has found that, for her clients, “the act of reading a recipe, organizing ingredients and assembling a finished dish can become a model for responding to other life challenges.”
John Floyd, 28, had a similar experience. While serving eight months in Rikers Island on a weapons charge, he learned to cook in the prison’s Fresh Start program, and now he works in a restaurant as well as for a catering company, Catering With Conviction, that is operated by Fresh Start graduates. He says that learning to cook taught him basic organization skills, which helped give him self-esteem.
“I’d look at a dish, say a souffle, and know that’s rough to make,” he said. “I work at it and it’s a drag for a while. Then I make it, it comes out good and I’m sitting there knowing that that souffle is part of me. You can’t fake it in a kitchen. You do it right or you don’t. When you mess up, it’s not that big a deal. When you do it right, it gives you a good feeling and you start to think maybe you can do other things right, too.”
Like most other cooks interviewed, Mr. Floyd said that after submitting to the tedium that cooking requires, one becomes aware of the activity’s sensory pleasures. “I’m cooking fettuccine Alfredo for my sister last night and I take a whiff and, you know, the world seems O.K.,” he said.
Dr. Thomas Moore, a psychotherapist in western Massachusetts and author of “Care of the Soul: a Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Daily Life” (HarperCollins, 1992), said that the sensual aspect of cooking — the aroma, feel and taste of ingredients — allows people a connection to the natural world that is “invigorating, enlivening and ultimately quite healing.”
Marianne Mosely, 53, a computer programmer in Worthington, Ohio, said that after 23 years of making dinner for her family of six, she became “obsessed with putting the ‘nurture’ back into nutrition.”
“One evening between opening cans and wrapping things in plastic for the microwave, I realized that time-saving activities are more tedious than cooking,” she said.
But experimenting with new dishes for several hours on the weekend and several evenings at home, she said, “takes time, but it’s relaxing time, not drudge time.”
Bill Meisle, an actor and home-cooking enthusiast who lives in Camden, Me., said that shaping ingredients into a meal for his wife and four children “satisfies the alchemist in me.” And rising to the technical challenge of cooking, he added, “is profoundly gratifying to the provider in me.” Mr. Meisle called cooking “a curative process,” and said that eating his creations was gratifying, too.
Although eating ranks higher than cooking on Dr. Csikszentmihalyi’s pleasure scale, devoted home-cooks seem more interested in baking their cake than in eating it. “Taste is almost an afterthought,” said Mr. Waxman of Kitchen Arts and Letters. “It is the process of making something with their hands that stimulates and excites people.”
Performers like Mr. Adams, the musician, and Mr. Meisle, the actor, admit to relishing the “voila!” in unveiling their dishes. “It’s a great joy to give sensual pleasure to a group of attractive men and women at my table,” Mr. Meisle said. “There’s also a certain sublimation of desire. I can please them without getting involved.”
Even so, like dozens of other cooks interviewed, Mr. Meisle said that it was the quiet hours of chopping and simmering, kneading and mixing that pulled him to the kitchen three or four nights a week. Like most cooks, he finds the technical challenge and sensory balm of cooking a rare solitary pleasure.
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi said, “Cooking is one of few activities that people feel better doing alone.”
Like the hands-on challenge and tactile balm of cooking, the solitude of it is an antidote to the nanosecond pace of today’s world and probably a key reason that cooking won’t go away.
“There is a nascent wish for time and privacy that we used to try to address by making food products seem simple, fast and not too messy,” said Primo Angeli, the San Francisco designer, who creates food packaging for large food processors like Quaker Oats. “But people didn’t want to be totally free of the kitchen; they wanted to be free and creative and unto themselves in the kitchen.”
To Mr. Angeli and other food marketers, an oft-quoted remark by Julia Child is still the best evocation of the hunger for purposeful solitude.’

February 15, 2012. Tags: , , , . Happiness, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Zen. 1 comment.

Meet an Unlikely Zen Master: Zen Moments #4

“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan, and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, “That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen, you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because the sound of the rain needs no translation.”~Alan Watts

Ruskin Bond is one of my most favorite authors. He writes with a Zen like simplicity. His simple life (the kind of life I admire) gets reflected in his writing. Though he is more famous as a children’s writer, I am rather fond of his books that are a part of his memoirs. It seems that some people have a very interesting life & meet more interesting people or rather it is their observation power n the talent to spin tales about the incidents which we might just take in our stride without particularly reflecting over them or finding anything extraordinary in them, that makes the stories of these people so special. Ruskin Bond is one such person.  I recently read his book “The Parrot who wouldn’t talk & other stories’, on one sunny winter afternoon. I read this book in one sitting & by the time I finished it, I was in raptures, totally enthralled.

Ruskin Bond says ‘I think everyone has at least one eccentric aunt or uncle in the family, I had more than one. My boyhood days were enlivened by them.’

The Just Jacket reads ‘India’s best loved children’s writer Ruskin Bond introduces us to some of the most endearing and adorable characters he has ever written about-his grandfather with his unusual ability to disguise himself as the street vendor, carpenter or washerman; the eccentric & ubiquitous uncle Ken, with his knack for disastrous escapades; the stationmaster Mr. Ghosh and his family comprising of several white mice; and Aunt Ruby, whose encounter with a parrot who wouldn’t talk will make you burst with laughter!

Heartwarming, funny & delightful, these stories are marked by Bond’s inimitable style & trademark humor.’

In the introduction of this book Bond says

“Gentle Reader,

I’d like to meet some of my friends and relatives. These are the important ones:

Grandfather, a man of many gifts, and good company for a growing boy.

Granny, who made great gooseberry Jam & looked after everyone.

Uncle Ken, who got into some strange situations and needed his nephew’s help in getting out of them.

Mr. Oliver, Scoutmaster & schoolmaster.

There are others too, including your author as a boy.

I wrote most of these stories in Mussoorie , during a particular severe winter. As I sat by the fire, the ghost of long-gone relatives crowded around me, demanding that I write something about them.”

One of my most favorite stories in the collection is ‘Bicycle Ride with Uncle Ken’ (though I love all the stories in the book, I must confess I am partial towards the one with Uncle Ken, he gets into some real funny situation & the ones with him are the most hilarious). Young Bond & his uncle go for one of their long bicycle rides & see a ‘Rest & Recuperation Center’..thinking that it is a kind of hotel or hostel, they go in for refreshments, the uncle is eager to meet the inmates…not realizing that it is actually a lunatic asylum, uncle Ken decides to play along with the inmates, all of whom claim to be somebody famous, one is Tansen & another is Prathvi Raj Chauhan and yet another is Napolean. When they see a man in white coat approaching the enthusiastic Uncle Ken playfully says ‘You must be Dr. Freud’ & the Doctor replies ‘Nope, I am Dr. Goel, you must be our new patient’, this is the most hilarious moment in the story, it is only after much pleading & when the real new patient arrives that uncle Ken is let off.

In ‘At sea with Uncle Ken’, the uncle falls in love with a girl aboard a ship & is left behind at a remote place when he is accompanying her to a shopping spree at a stop. Such are the absurd situation Uncle Ken always manages to get himself & others into. At another time he put the very young Bond (9/10 yrs of age) on a wrong train. As Bond says, ‘With Uncle Ken you always expect the unexpected’.

Along with humor, the book is also filled with quiet wisdom & some Zen like observations, sample this:

‘A bicycle provides it’s rider with a great amount of freedom. A car will take you farther, but the fact that you’re sitting in confined space detracts from the freedom of open spaces and unfamiliar roads. On a cycle you can feel the breeze on your face, smell the mango trees in blossom on your face, slow down and gaze at the buffaloes wading in the ponds, or just stop anywhere and get down & enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of sugarcane juice. Footslogging takes time, and cars are too fast-everything whizzes past before you can take a second look-and car drivers hate to stop; they are intent only on reaching their destinations in good time. But a bicycle is just right for someone who likes to take a leisurely look at the World.’ Now isn’t this top class Zen attitude?

The stories are also filled with ample wisdom though they are definitely not moralizing. The wisdom is subtle & I think this form of wisdom works the fastest & most effectively. In the story ‘Parrot who wouldn’t talk’, aunt Ruby buys a parrot, as talking parrots were very fashionable in those days, she tries to teach her parrot talking, but the parrot refuses to oblige, in anger & frustration Aunt Ruby repeatedly tells the parrot, ‘you are no beauty! Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’ The young Bond feeds the parrot everyday & one day feeling sorry for it, releases it from it’s cage. It looks like the parrot has grown fond of Bond, so after being freed, it flies regularly into the balcony & sits on Bond’s shoulders & takes feed from him. When aunt Ruby comes the parrot speaks to her & what does it say to her?? ‘You are no beauty! Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’ …so it has learned talking after all. Isn’t life like this too? A boomerang, an echo, whatever we give out to the world, is returned to us, in due course. I am not very sure whether Bond wanted us to take this lesson or not, but the story spoke to me of that apart from being a good natured, humorous tale.

Reading this collection made me hungry for more..I am taking out my old books, ‘The Lamp is Lit’ & one more that is missing from my collection, I am frantically searching for it, I am looking forward to spending many more delightful afternoons lost in the world of this (unlikely) Zen Master!!

February 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Book Review, Books, Reading, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Zen. 3 comments.

Zen & the Art of Enjoying Everyday Life : Zen Moments #2

A small zen garden in the Japanese Tea Garden,...

Image via Wikipedia

A very famous saying/quote in Zen goes thus:

Before Enlightenment chopping wood & carrying water

After Enlightenment chopping wood & carrying water

Zen does not have any God or prayers. It just encourages us to discover our true selves & then be a lamp unto ourselves. When we practice Zen every moment becomes a Happy moment, a Zen moment.

The above quote is very significant. Though after enlightenment we continue to do the things we did before, the quality of these tasks changes dramatically. Before enlightenment chopping wood & carrying water (or cooking & doing dishes) is a chore, a burden, something that is done reluctantly, we’d rather be enjoying ourselves, having a high life, going to expensive restaurants in our big glitzy cars & such. There is an anger that we have to do these boring tasks. Our mind is pre-occupied with thoughts of past n future while we hate every second of our present moment. When we practice Zen though we continue to do the same things our feelings about these tasks is hugely transformed. We actually enjoy doing these tasks, we do these chores with devotion & dedication, with mindfulness & realize that there is tremendous beauty in doing them.  We realize there is nowhere else to go. We start to enjoy simple pleasures as a clean room & good food rather than exotic holidays & expensive clothes!! When we do things mindfully & with a happy heart, the quality of that thing changes.

Consider this Koan from ‘The Gateless Gate’:

A monk told Joshu, “I have entered your monastery, now please teach me.”

Joshu asked, “Have you eaten your rice porridge?”

The monk replied: “Yes I’ve eaten.”

Joshu said, “Then better wash your bowl.”

At that moment the monk was enlightened!!

After reading Zen books & learning about the basic concepts of Zen for last few days, I’ve been finally motivated to actually practice the practical aspects of Zen. Zen is more of doing rather than empty philosophizing. Zen is very experiential. Zen encourages simplicity. I’ve been spending my last few days in a Zen state. Finally I was motivated to clean my perpetually scattered closet, which was in nothing short of a nightmarish chaos. I always took the excuse that the closet was very small & did not have adequate space for my clothes & things. But when I finally decided to take the bulls by horns, it was surprising how discarding a few useless items can create space for the rest of our stuff. Earlier I was planning to buy an expensive wardrobe to accommodate my ever increasing collection of dresses, foot wear, accessories, Bags, Knick-nacks & what not. But then I applied Zen thinking to my problem, I came up with innovative & inexpensive solutions. I could do with a few inexpensive racks for my books & collapsible foldable shelves for my clothes & shoes. Now I’ve achieved a somewhat uncluttered & better room which I’m sure will turn into a beautiful sanctuary in next few days. I want to make many changes to the way we are used to doing things. I want to enjoy simple beauty & as I’m very fond of my cups of tea, I guess I’ll start with a beautiful tea set & tray to go with it & enjoy a beautiful Tea ceremony every day.

Thich Nhat Hanh says this about drinking tea mindfully (yup with Zen even tea drinking can become our meditation)

“When you drink tea in mindfulness, your body and your mind are perfectly united. You are real, and the tea you drink also becomes real. When you sit in a café, with a lot of music in the background and a lot of projects in your head, you’re not really drinking your coffee or your tea. You’re drinking your projects, you’re drinking your worries. You are not real, and the coffee is not real either. Your tea or your coffee can only reveal itself to you as a reality when you go back to yourself, and produce your true presence, freeing yourself from the past, the future, and from your worries. When you are real, the tea also becomes real and the encounter between you and the tea is real. This is genuine tea drinking. You can organize a tea meditation to provide an opportunity for your friends to practice being truly present in order to enjoy a cup of tea and each other’s presence. Tea meditation is a practice. It is a practice to help us be free. If you are still bound and haunted by the past, if you are still afraid of the future, if you are carried away by your projects, your fear, your anxiety, and your anger, you are not a free person. You are not fully present in the here and the now, so life is not really available to you. The tea, the other person, the blue sky, the flower, is not available to you. In order to be really alive, in order to touch life deeply, you have to become a free person. Cultivating mindfulness can help you to be free.”

We can enjoy such beautifully simple pleasures everyday in life. We don’t have to wait for any special occasion to celebrate life, with Zen every moment is beautiful, every moment is a celebration, yes even when we are chopping wood & carrying water, when we are doing dishes, sweeping the floor, dusting the furniture, with Zen all these things are labors of our love, our love for life itself.

January 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Happiness, My lifestyle, My Values, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom, Zen. 4 comments.

Quitting the Rat Race #10: Finding Joy in Chopping Wood & Carrying Water!

There is a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” What’s the difference? The tasks are the same & yet different, ‘cos of a change in how we view them!!

Before enlightenment (in our context while we are still running the Rat Race; Quitting the Rat Race is nothing short of Enlightenment!!!) chopping wood & carrying water seem boring & mundane. We resent doing that…we do it grudgingly while our mind craves for excitement. We’d rather be living a high life, seeking thrills & excitement, planning our next purchase, next promotion, & impressing people with our shiny possessions. There is a huge Gap between reality & expectation & our mind is under constant stress.

After Enlightenment we start appreciating the beauty of mundane stuff. We perform the task of chopping wood & carrying water with Zen like ease & peace, basking in the sun & appreciating the miracle of existence & nature. Every breath is filled with peace & Joy. Profound Spiritual Joy can be found in everyday activities. The Chop Wood Carry Water attitude can be applied in the context of our everyday chores & help us realize that there is joy  in doing the laundry, cleaning, paying bills, bathing, cooking, and doing what many people sadly think is boring everyday needs. 

In this day and age where people rush here and there and express a sense of loss, because they feel they need to always be doing something noticable, I think this attitude would be a great healing tool, in teaching people that doing the “chores” of life, can in fact be a relaxing and growth enhancing activity.

This also reflects the attitude of rejoicing the way things are rather than always wanting for something else to happen. Usually our attitude is something like “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”~Abraham Lincoln. We just crave for the things that we don’t have instead of enjoying what has indeed been given to us. 

”The Master sees things as they are,Without trying to control them.He lets them go their own way, And resides at the center of the circle. He/She understands that the Universe is forever out of control, And that trying to dominate eventsGoes against the current of the Tao. Be content with what you have; Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, The whole world belongs to you.” ~Tao Te Ching.

This is the only meditation I know. 
While I eat, I eat. 
While I walk, I walk. 
And while I feel sleepy, I sleep. 
Whatsoever happens, happens. 
I never interfere.


October 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Happiness, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Uncategorized, Wisdom. 4 comments.

Quitting the Rat Race #9: Don’t be A DINK, DITK, DIOK

A cook sautees onions and peppers.

Image via Wikipedia

I was talking to my friend a few days back & she happened to mention about her couple friend, both husband & wife hold good Jobs in MNCs, are making good money, have no kids, & have no time for frivolous activities like cooking at home. So every single day they go out to eat!! I was incredulous. What use is all the money in the world if we can’t take care of basics thing in life like eating. Eating out every day is seriously injurious to health.

It is my serious belief that only one of the spouses should work outside the home, to earn the bread & butter. If both work, home life invariably suffers, no exceptions. When I stopped working after marriage, one of the major reasons among many was I wanted to give my hubby home cooked lunch, I didn’t want him to eat cafeteria food everyday. & since he has to go to office really early in the morning, I have to get up early & there is no way I could finish cooking, get ready & go to my own work. So making lunch in the morning & a good snack in the evening are apparently more important to me than cold hard cash. Also both of us coming home carrying stress from the outside world did not sound very appealing to me. I am always ready to welcome him with a smile when he comes home tired & stressed. When he come we spend peaceful time together. I can let go of the money part for a better quality of life. Some couples earn more but their quality of life sucks. & if one spouse manages the home efficiently, you can actually prevent lotsa wastage. Thus a penny saved is equivalent to a penny earned n wasted. 

October 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Consumerism, Happiness, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Personal, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom. Leave a comment.

Don’t Stay Hungry, Don’t Stay Foolish: Quitting The Rat Race #8

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

These are the last words of the last issue of the Whole Earth Catalogue published by Stewart Brand and his team. Steve Jobs used it in his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University.

Stay Hungry: means don’t be too easily satisfied or grow too comfortable; do not feel content with what you have already achieved but always feel hungry to do more and more.

It’s a widespread & widely accepted myth that staying dissatisfied with the status quo is a way to make progress & improve your-self. It is assumed that only hungry, dissatisfied people can move forward in life. I disagree with this point of view. Staying Hungry is just another method to stay stuck in the rat race, that cycle of consumerism & over-work!! Wisdom lies in Accepting the present moment in totality, being absolutely satisfied with the way things are, no struggling, only peace.  Being grateful for the bounties of the present means being satiated & not perpetually hungry. Staying hungry is a recipe for perpetual dissatisfaction. Always wanting more, we become like a hungry ghost, a creature with a big mouth, a narrow neck, and a big belly, who is always hungry and can never get enough.

If we want serenity we should focus on the present moment & not scatter our attention on imaginary future.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future but to live in the present moment

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. 

Nothing ever gets anywhere.  The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere.  The moment is the only thing that counts.  ~Jean Cocteau

Forever is composed of nows.  ~Emily Dickinson

A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment — a bird on the wing catches his eye so totally; just a butterfly, its beautiful colors, and he is enchanted; the rainbow in the sky… and he cannot conceive that there can be anything more significant, richer than this rainbow. And the night full of stars, stars beyond stars….

Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure. Ignorance is poor, it is a beggar — it wants this, it wants that, it wants to be knowledgeable, it wants to be respectable, it wants to be wealthy, it wants to be powerful. Ignorance moves on the path of desire. Innocence is a state of desirelessness. ~Osho

…acceptance, total acceptance, means no desire. Desire arises out of nonacceptance. You cannot accept a certain situation, so desire arises. You live in a hut and you cannot accept it; this is too much for the ego, you want a palace – then you are a poor man, but not because you live in a hut, no. In huts, emperors have lived. Buddha has lived under a tree, and he was not a poor man. You cannot find a richer man anywhere. No, your hut doesn’t make you poor. The moment you desire the palace you are a poor man. And you are not poor because others are living in palaces, you are poor because the desire to live in the palace creates a comparison with the hut. You become envious. You are poor.~Osho

Whenever there is discontent, there is poverty; whenever there is no discontent, you are rich. And you have such riches that no thief can steal them; you have such riches, no government can take them by taxation; you have riches which cannot be taken away from you in any way. You have a fort for your being, unbreakable, impenetrable.

It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.  ~Margaret Bonnano

Enlightenment is the realization that we have only the present moment to live. The next moment is not certain — it may come, it may not come. In fact, the tomorrow never comes. It is always arriving and arriving, but never arrives. And the mind lives in the tomorrows… and life is possible only in the present.~Osho

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.  ~Alan Watts

Today is you own. Tomorrow perchance may never come by Swami Sivananda

When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future.  When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.  ~Author Unknown

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.  ~Dale Carnegie

Pile up too many tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays.  ~The Music Man

October 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Current Events, Happiness, Hmm..., Inspiration, My lifestyle, My Values, Osho, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom. 3 comments.

Quitting the Rat Race #7: Lessons from the Mexican Fisherman

Perhaps everyone has heard the story of the Mexican Fisherman. The Mexican Fisherman is the hero of the people who are out of rat race.

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senior.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senior, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, senior?”

The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, senior? Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The Mexican Fisherman represents the spirit & essence of people who have quit the Rat Race. While other people are  like the American Businessman who is busy acquiring money & things & is planning to rest & relax later, a day which might come or not come. The Mexican Fisherman is happy in the present, the American Businessman is chasing happiness in the elusive future.

 “Man…sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~The Dalai Lama (when asked what surprises him the most about humanity)

October 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Consumerism, Happiness, Hmm..., Humor, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Teaching Stories, Wisdom. 7 comments.

Quitting the Rat Race #5: Can Money/stuff Buy Happiness? Putting Things in Perspective

That is the lure of money: It lets people believe that they can be happy with money only if they have just a little more!!!

Yeah Money buys you stress n tension but not to worry it will come handy to buy anti-depressants !!!

That is the lure of money: It lets people believe that they can be happy with money only if they have just a little more!!!


September 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Consumerism, Happiness, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Simplicity, Wisdom. 5 comments.

Quitting the Rat Race #4: Killing the cycle of consumerism & (over) work


Image by 特有生物研究保育中心 via Flickr

I guess there is a very close inter connection between  simplicity (living simply enjoying peace rather than stuff), frugality (saving money whenever & wherever we can but still feeling rich & luxurious: yes it is possible), solitude (enjoying time alone n you no longer see the Joneses, so no danger of falling into the trap of trying to compete with them) anti consumerism (stop finding joy in stuff) minimizing our (carbon) footprints on the planet (it makes me uneasy when people come loaded with poly bags containing stuff they don’t even need) & quitting the rat race (goodbye work, hello leisure).

 When we embrace simplicity, frugality & an anti consumerist lifestyle, quitting work is a piece of cake…no more working at a job we don’t want, to buy the stuff we don’t need, to impress the people we don’t even like, & in the bargain plundering the beautiful nature which we actually love!!!

In their ground breaking book ‘ Your Money or your life: 9 steps to transforming your relationship with money‘, authors Vicki Robbins & Joe dominquez say we must not measure the cost of any stuff in terms of money we spend on it but in terms of ‘life energy‘ we have to spend to earn that money. They have redefined the concept of money itself. Money doesn’t simply mean a ‘medium of exchange’ but ‘Money is something for which you trade life energy’. 

In order to apply this principle, you first calculate your hourly wage.  You will then see exactly how much your life energy is worth, and you will be able to measure the cost of money spent in terms of valuable life energy lost, instead of just dollars/rupees/whatever.  (This would come handy in cutting down spending money on useless stuff)

Once you have finished, you can do some eye-opening conversions.  For example:

How much life energy do you spend at convenience stores/restaurants daily?  Could you spend less and still be happy if you cooked at home? & we could think in these term whenever buying stuff big/small. I mean we don’t even need to carry out exact calculations. A general grasp of this concept makes us a little more aware when we are about to spend money.

I am very happy to report that I’ve cut down my own consumption in several areas once i became aware of the concept of ‘life energy’ value of money. This was my precursor to quitting the Rat Race.

‘My dad did not change his lifestyle, he early on recognized that there is a power in keeping a low overhead, he realized that there is a line that balance between having what you want and doing what you want and the more you have what you want the less you will do what you want. So once he says, I have a pair of jeans, a pair of boots and 2 jackets, I can do anything.’
Mario Van Peebles on the accomplishments of his father Melvin Van Peebles.

For me this arrangement works out just fine ‘cos perhaps I’ve been lucky to realize that stuff  ≠ Joy. My home has very simple furniture, just the bare functional basics & I just roll my eyes when I see people’s house that ceased being homes long ago & resemble more closely to museums, they have assorted nick knacks from all over the world displayed proudly (i think comically) in HUGE shelves. So much money down, the drain, so much life energy wasted’ & so much clutter. Spend money & buy head-ache. & more life energy to be wasted on cleaning the dust accumulated on all that stuff.

Ponder Over These too:

“It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Much of our activity these days is nothing more than a cheap anaesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.” – Unknown

“The things you own end up owning you.” – Tyler Durden in Fight Club

‘There must be more to life than having everything!’~Maurice Sendak

“There is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”~Gandhi

With money you can’t buy wisdom, you can’t buy inner peace. Wisdom and inner peace must be created by yourself.~Dalai Lama

“Man…sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~The Dalai Lama (when asked what surprises him the most about humanity)

September 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Book Review, Books, Current Events, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Personal, Philosophy, Quitting the Rat Race, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Wisdom. 8 comments.

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