Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sneak Peak! Step 6. Pack the Righ Gear: Are You Carrying Extra Baggage?

Step 6: Pack the Right Gear:
Are You Carrying Extra Baggage?


“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”- Charles Dudley Warner

“Simplify, simplify.”
- H.D. Thoreau
“One “simplify” would have sufficed.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson in response

Tools: Reflection, Balance, Releasing, Being Present

  To acknowledge any extra “baggage” one is carrying, such as negative emotions from past experiences.
  To feel these negative emotions, then release them.
  To start finding a healthy balance of what one needs and doesn’t need.
  To welcome and be present with new positive emotions and feelings that enter your life.

Now that you have a destination in mind, it’s time to start preparing for your adventure.  You may have some special supplies, friends, and emotions to help you on your newly designed journey, but to fit it all in your pack you might have some letting go to do first.

We all know that carrying any extra weight on the trail is no good.  Whether you are hiking or running, it can slow you down, be very uncomfortable, or be a downright pain in you (your) back!  On the other hand, not carrying enough isn’t good either.  Running out of food with miles to go can lead to a very grumpy hiker/runner!

Finding that balance between not having too much but not having enough isn’t always easy.  For most, it takes a lot of trial and error and reflection on what when right and wrong.  “Okay, next time I run for 2 hours I only need to carry one water bottle and one gel.”  Eventually, you’ll figure out what works for you.  Just remember, what works for you may not work for someone else, and vice versa.  On the other hand, if you don’t take the time to reflect, you’re not going to figure out what works and what doesn’t.  Same goes for that other baggage we all carry…

The past is important and there is much to learn from it.  It is not, however, meant to be dwelt upon.  Once you take your lessons from it and reflect on some of the good memories, it’s time to be present. No need to worry about the future either, just keep a gentle gaze toward those distant mountains.

The problem is most of us are too stuck in the past or working so hard for the future that the present moment is all but forgotten…and then we wonder where the time went!


Example Scenario:

Pretend you are going on a weekend hiking trip with two friends in a beautiful mountain range.  At the trailhead, everyone gets out of the car and grabs their packs.  You notice your one friend’s pack is bursting at the seams, while the other has a pack that is smaller than your old book bag. Still, you figure it’s best not to say anything.

Within a few hours, things start to go awry. Your friend with the small pack is moving fast, not even taking a break at the overlooks to check out the amazing sunrise.  Your other friend is moving slightly faster than a snail’s pace, slowed down by the weight of the pack and already complaining of an aching back.

Fast forward to the next day, and everyone wants to quit.  The friend with the small pack is trying to mooch off of everyone else, also having missed all the views.  The friend with the big pack is in pain.  You are stuck in the middle, also not having fun being “weighted down” by the negativity of your buddies.

Meditation Hike:

*You can do the meditation below literally or figuratively using mental imagery.  I will use the word hike, but please feel free to interchange this with “run”.


As you start off your hike, imagine yourself carrying a heavy backpack.  Each step feels heavy and weighted.  Not long into your hike, your back starts to ache from the heavy weight.  The straps start cutting into your shoulders.  Your breathing may even become shallow and labored.


Finally, you come to a halt.  You cannot take any more of this pain caused by the heavy weight you are carrying.  You take off your pack and open it.  It is full of rocks.  The rocks represent the extra weight you have been carrying around you for the past year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc.


Put on this heavy backpack one more time.  Feel its full weight.  Take a moment to let it sink it.


Then, reach into your pack and take one rock out.  It is labeled “guilt”.  Hike with the rock in your hand for a few minutes. Feel its heaviness.  Then begin to think about where your guilt has stemmed from. Maybe you feel you haven’t lived up to someone’s expectations, maybe those expectations are even your own.  Or maybe you hurt someone, or someone else’s hurt was put on you.  Whatever it is, let yourself feel it fully.  Then let it go.  Swing your arm back and hurl that rock as far as you can.  It is no longer attached to you.


You pull on the next rock.  It is labeled “unworthiness”.  In your hand, this rock not only feels dense but sharp.  With it come thoughts like “you’re not good enough”, “you can’t” and “you’re not worth it”.  Reflect on when your feelings of unworthiness first began to creep up. Take a few minutes and just walk with these words and the feelings they bring up.  Then release them. Take that stone and throw it through the trees and out of site.  You are free from its weight.


Keep taking out the rocks in your pack.  Do this exercise with each one.  Feel its weight, think of where the feeling stemmed from, then release it from yourself.


As you empty the rocks in your pack, feel yourself become lighter and lighter.


You hike on happily until you realize you feel empty. Something is missing.  At first you can’t figure out what it is, but eventually it comes to you.


All the extra unwanted feelings and emotions you’ve been carrying around had left no room in your pack for the good ones.  You missed out on letting in love, compassion, beauty, and grace.  It’s time for you to let those in.


As you continue hiking, you see a tiny ball of light coming toward you through the trees.  You are not afraid, and you let this brilliant light come through your chest and fill your body with love.  Take in this feeling.  It is yours to keep.


Continue letting in these little balls of light full of kindness, compassion, strength and whatever else comes to you that you may have neglected.  Feel their lightness, and their fullness.


You are full, but not weighed down.  This type of fullness leaves you feeling happy and complete.


Your stride is no longer heavy and slow, but light and strong.


The energy is yours to keep for the rest of your journey.


Journal Questions:

·         What extra baggage (negative emotions/thoughts/experiences) have you been carrying?  What about any people or things in your life?
·         How did it feel to release them in the meditation?  Do you need to do any additional works?
(Writing through them is a great start and enough for some, but a licensed therapist might be needed for others.)
·         What do you need more of? (Personally, I need to be more compassionate to myself.)