It was about a month ago. I’d pulled on my ankle-length socks, slipped into my comfortable walking shoes and set out for an energetic workout around the block.

Halfway through my first turn, I felt a nagging annoyance under my heel. At first, I ignored it, assuming it was the balled-up portion of the sock and continued walking. A sharp pain hit me as I walked ten steps further and that’s when I realised that there was a pebble in my shoe.At this point, I was divided. My workout counter on the phone was running and I didn’t want to lose my pace or time. I’d worked hard to bring it up to a respectable number. On the other hand, the irritating pebble wouldn’t quit. Smug and confident, it rolled around inside my sock, forcing me to take a decision.

Sighing, I stopped by the side of the track, pulled off my shoe and sock. Shaking it vigorously, I watched as the pebble popped out and casually landed in a pile of grass. If it could speak, I imagine it would have laughed at me: at my incompetence, my inability to walk despite a niggling pebble and how easily I lost my cool over a tiny fragment of rock.

After watching it lie there for a few seconds, I smiled and drew my footwear back on and continued on my walk. Even as I did, a thought nudged itself into my brain; it was so powerful that I paused yet again and opened up the notepad application on my phone and typed the phrase: ‘Pebble in your shoe’.

A part of my mind listened to the music coursing through my ears via my headphones while the other part pondered the significance of what had just happened.

A pebble in my shoe had stopped me in my tracks. So, what does that mean? Do I curse the pebble for making me pause or do I bless the pebble for slowing me down and savouring the act of walking and giving thanks for having feet that could feel the sting of a pebble?

I then wondered what this means, when extrapolated to my blogging and writing journey. I’ve outgrown the need to blog with stats in mind, honestly. I love stats, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not the end goal.

No, I love writing and the connections that come my way through blogging and writing. I love the way the words emerge from some hidden corner of my brain and find their way on to the keyboard.

So I haven’t been pushing to write/blog with a concrete goal to reach before the end of the year. I blog now to savour the experience of writing, the feeling of blogging and watching the words take shape on paper (figuratively speaking, of course).

Earlier, I wasn’t able to write if I had music pouring into my eardrums. Today, though, I find music calming and creative. I can feel the fingers skim over the keyboard while I listen to Yanni or Shania Twain.

I’ve been reading Murakami’s What I talk about when I talk about running and the book is so fluid. It simultaneously straddles the worlds of running and writing that you find yourself catching your breath with every description he writes.

Such a small, trivial incident, this pebble in the shoe, wouldn’t you say? Yet, it’s the little things that make us aware of  and question the bigger things in our lives.

That’s what happened to me. I find myself trying different things as a writer and it hasn’t stopped. Am I successful? Honestly, I can’t tell. But it doesn’t matter.

Each pebble will remind me of something else, a different experience that I will savour and love, for the exquisite beauty it gives me.

When all of that happens, you begin to bless the pebble in your shoe. If a pebble can cause you to reflect on your place on this earth, your role in the cosmic dance and your journey as a writer or blogger or singer or artist or dreamer, then that’s the job of a pebble well executed.

The next time you find a pebble in your shoe, get annoyed. Afterwards, think of the lessons that a humble pebble taught a tiny blogger in the writing universe. Then smile and keep walking.

28 thoughts on “Do you have a pebble in your shoe?

  1. Its about Mindfulness, of how aware we are of the moment. I always say life is a masterclass constantly going on dispensing valuable lessons, its up to us be attentive learners.

  2. You’re one zen lady you know that? And yet I do understand how one gets wired to look for deeper meaning in things. It just might be a by-product of writing because writing make you observe and analyse even the mundane stuff. And then it becomes a cycle – write-observe-think-write some more. That’s cool.

    1. You’re right. Writing and reading attunes us to the finer things in life and I mean the things that make us pause, ponder and go a-ha, maybe this is what it means.

  3. You got all that from a pebble in your shoe? I bow to thee, oh wise one. Sprinkle some of that fairy dust on me too.

    P.S. Haven’t read anything by Murakami..yet. That book looks like a good place to start.

    1. This is my first book by Murakami and I am told ‘Kafka by the Shore’ is even better. But I think that’s fiction. This non-fiction of his is something I am loving.

  4. I guess bloggers are wired to find a deeper connect with even the most mundane happenings for our minds are constantly working with the dashboard in mind. Whether or not we choose to finally write it or publish it, the dots are being connected. And, that’s a great trait to have. Lovely post!

  5. Success is something that changes from person to person,, if what you search for is money then success is proportional to the amount of money you earn, however if you are in search of satisfaction- then all that counts is personal satisfaction. I feel for my satisfaction and happiness comes before anything else. a feeling of content is all that is needed to feel successful.
    Loved your writing

    1. Thank you, Menaka. Money and success aren’t bad by themselves. If we allow them to consume our entire being, then yes, that’s a bit of an issue. Working on something because we enjoy it is the best way forward, in my opinion. Thanks for your kind words about my writing 🙂

  6. All that from a pebble in your show? Talking about ‘stepping stones’ 😉
    Jokes apart, there’s a lot of truth in what you’ve written, and yes, sometimes we all need ‘tiny’ things to make us see the bigger picture

  7. Stepping stones to all things good literally. With so much going on at work, worrying me and frustrating me, I think this is a good reminder. It’s wonderful how one pebble can lead to a train of thought and then a post. I guess we bloggers are like that. I love how you weave your words, Shailaja. It’s so comforting and yes, I’m going to read the book you mention here too 🙂

    1. I know you’ve been very stressed especially on the work front, Naba. It cannot be easy. Big hugs and know that I am just a phone call away. The book is wonderful and I am sure you would love it. Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Wow! The pebble who inspired this post is no doubt rolling somewhere on the road, or maybe annoying someone new now!

    When a pebble gets into my shoe, I do something of a one-person jazz on the road. #SuperLazy . I get the point of not wanting to affect the fitness points. And then people walking besides start staring and wondering as to what went wrong, like they’ve never had a pebble in their shoe in their entire life!

    1. ‘One person jazz’ 🙂 Trust you to come up with something so funny! I think every thing has its purpose in life; yes, even the pebbles. May it trouble more people so they step out of their shoes and look at the situation better.

  9. Yes, these small hurdles can lead to larger victories. But, do we obsess/need to obsess over every tiny detail is the thought that came to my mind when l read your post. As it is, l am told that l overthink everything. 😉 Have a good week ahead, Shy.

    1. What re, Rachna. You still don’t know me after all this time. This is what I do. 😉 I love looking at everything and learning something from it. I think that’s what makes me who I am. Thanks Rachna, have a great week ahead too.

  10. How did the pebble in the shoe lead to these deep thoughtful words? 😮 Once in a while we do need these pebbles… If only to slow down and reflect back. The satisfaction of wwriting a good post transcends eeverything else… The stats, the numbers or ranking.

  11. And here I am being accused of thinking too much. I guess it’s because people think they develop. Emotionally, spiritually and in our outlook towards the world. I loved your thinking process and how that pebble brought out this lovely thinking post :*

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