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What Are You Packing on Life’s Journey?

By January 16, 2017Musings

I was looking at my antique suitcases the other day. They aren’t mine. Well, now they are. But they once belonged to someone from another time and place…a time and place far removed from today.

As I stood admiring the suitcases’ frayed leather straps, now-fading stickers from far flung places, intricate brass corners and fancy lock-and key closure, I imagined what the original owner might have packed inside…for what trip…for what purpose.

Did they take a minimalist approach, packing only the essentials? Or did they cram every conceivable “might need this” piece of clothing and paraphernalia inside ’til the suitcase required a feat of strength simply to close the latches.

Were the items neatly folded and arranged, making maximum use of the space while maintaining minimal disruption to the contents en route? Or were things simply thrown willy-nilly into the case with much grunting and groaning about how things just didn’t fit, that there was just too much to fit into the small space, and there was just no time to re-pack it properly in the first place.

Each day is like a suitcase. It has a limited amount of space and time. And that space and time can be crammed full of “stuff”, or it can be filled with the essentials.

How heavy is your suitcase?

I started to think about those who struggle under the weight of their suitcase, and those who move along with ease. It made me think of those who pack too much into their day, feeling weary, frustrated and exhausted by day’s end, only to start packing the next day full to the brim. I want to say to them: lighten your load. Remove the things you do not need. Pack the important things. Include the beautiful things. Place the productive things into the suitcase that is your day.

Whenever my suitcase is too heavy, I imagine myself on a beautiful beach. I’ve arrived laden down with suitcases, full of things I think I’ll need. I’ve over packed, and I know it. My arms are tired. My back is aching. The weight of my day feels like the weight of the world.

So then I picture myself taking a few steps along the beach, placing one suitcase down. I stand a little straighter and walk a little lighter.

I take a few more steps and place another suitcase down, thinking: that feels good. I smile. I take in the scenery around me. It’s really beautiful.

A few more steps and another suitcase is left on the beach. Now I feel liberated, expansive, light and full of energy.

When all the suitcases have been left behind I look back at the burdens I’ve been carrying. I laugh because I realize that much of what I was carrying was unnecessary, and served only to burden me. I resolve to pack lighter now. And that means doing the important things each and every day, and not permitting time-wasting, energy-sucking people or things to take priority over the important stuff.

What baggage can you leave on the beach today?

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