I discovered this ray of sunshine bag, sitting alone on a shelf, that I did not know I needed but somehow could not live without.
“The things you want are always possible; it is just that the way to get them is not always apparent. The only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be a considerable obstacle because you carry the baggage of insecurities and experience”
Have you ever stopped at a store for something and came out with that one item and much more? Or perhaps you purchased something completely different from your initial intent? Twenty years ago, I stopped at a closeout store to find a black skirt. Instead, I discovered this ray of sunshine bag, sitting alone on a shelf, that I did not know I needed but somehow could not live without.
Recently, it struck me that an overstuffed Big Yellow serves as a metaphor for my past baggage I have carried around each day.
Over the years, I have traveled many places and have enjoyed numerous adventures with what I have come to affectionately call “Big Yellow." Domestic or abroad, whether I roll or fold my clothes as a form of packing preference, I inevitably find a way to cram and jam more things into it ultimately satisfying “you never know what you might need” philosophy. Either way, I am comforted by the thought of being well-packed and fully prepared.
Recently, it struck me that an overstuffed Big Yellow serves as a metaphor for my past baggage I have carried around each day. Like standing in the check-in line at the airport, shuffling our feet forward towards the airline professional as they repeat over the loudspeaker “never leave your bag unattended”, desperately hoping that it makes the weight limit. There has been more than one occasion where I have been asked to transfer some items from my luggage to my carry on to successfully check Big Yellow through and proceed with my travel plans. Another metaphor, and life lesson: to reset and lighten our load. By that I mean, unpack.
According to the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, “To successfully open the door to heightened awareness, we must open it inward.” In doing so, we discover all that we have been holding on to, both good and bad, and that which is weighing down our journey. The term unpacking as it relates to our lives is very similar to cleaning out the bedroom closets. Why is it a dreaded chore? Is it because we must come face to face with our past and perhaps relive poor choices? Regardless, it is imperative if we are to create a future based on our now, not what was nor what might have been.
To unpack, you must first stop and smell the Cinnabon rolls! Unplug from all technology. Feel the warmth of your own breath on the back of your hand and begin to practice gratefulness for another day. One tool I teach the youth I work with is called “five times grateful” or 5xgr8ful. Each morning when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, say out loud five things which you are grateful. Then at night, just as you get back into bed, say five things. They can be different each time or the same. It really does not matter. What does matter is that you are incorporating a practice of gratefulness in your life.
Consequently, your life and the universe will respond by giving you things for which to be grateful for in return.
Next, awareness is key. How are you spending each precious moment? Do you feel like you are always running to catch your next flight and dragging along Big Yellow? Are you investing your time in love or in dread? Perhaps begin keeping a daily journal so that you may become more consciously aware of your innermost thoughts. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind, whether it be one word or one full page. Bottom line, they are your thoughts. And if you do not like them, you are the one who can change them. The shift in momentum and magic all begins with awareness.
A simple way to do this is through positive affirmations. Start with five meaningful phrases to repeat (out loud) a few times each morning as you begin your day. For example, “I am healthy. I am independent. I am strong. I am loved. I am respected.”
Once aware and focused on the good in your life, continue to go deep and explore all that is within and around you. What makes you feel most centered, in balance? I hike almost every day and feel an instant connection with the energy the moment I enter the tree-lined pathway. Surrounded by nature, I graciously bow and acknowledge the plants, critters and flowing streams who so lovingly share their home.
We create (successfully) from a place of wholeness. Put another way, it would be like building your home on a cracked foundation. Sure, the home may look good, however, potential problems will inevitably find a way of creeping up and out due to the unstable base.
Throughout the years of delayed flights to missed connections and all the life experiences in between, I have slowly learned how to consciously unpack. Although not totally pain-free, it is through this pruning process that I have begun to fully embrace and create the life for which God has intended.
In doing so, sometimes we just might discover that it is ok if the airlines lost your luggage. Breathe, smile, and seize the unexpected opportunity to discover something new or better yet, learn to go without. Yes, your name may be tagged on your bag, but that does not mean you have to carry it around with you every day for the rest of your life.
The ancient Persian poet Rumi reminds us “The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself: everything that you want, you already are.”
Through the practice of positive affirmations, journaling, and finding your passion to center yourself may ultimately lead to a place of wholeness and alignment with your authentic, inner self. As part of my own journey, I personally have found this to be true. It all begins with the process of unpacking. And leaving Big Yellow behind.