The Luggage of Life (Part 1)
Looks like you’ve packed your bags and are all ready to go on a stress free trip! Excellent! It will be worth it. Now, there’s just one final preparation to make before we leave. Please do me-and yourself-a favor, unpack your bags. That’s right; in fact, you can just leave them behind. They’ll be fine without you. You won’t need them on this trip.
Isn’t that a strange and stressful thought? How many so-called vacations have you been on where you didn’t pack a single thing? Sounds crazy, right? Therein lays my point and you newfound power: Perspective. Anything and everything can and will stress you out if you let it. True, sometimes stress blind sides us and hits us when we least expect it, making it more difficult to diffuse. However, most of the time your stress comes from trying to run through life while carrying heavy suitcases packed with what if’s, should of done’s and if only’s. Is it surprising how many days you’ve pretended to live while carrying around all your heavy luggage of losses and regrets? That’s why your destination of relaxation seems so far way, or even non-existent.
For example, have you ever noticed how when you finally have the weekend off to enjoy all those great plans you made, something always gets in the way? The front yard lawn needs rescued more than the backyard barbeque, or the cool pool loses the duel with the chores that should have been done last weekend? Even if you travel a thousand miles to escape to the tropical isles, the relief is only typical and at most topical; not to mention financing all that fun probably caused you and your bank account some stress in the process.
Therefore, it’s not where you go that determines your ability to relax, but how you go. The real danger and damage is being done on the inside. If you don’t get rid of the innermost messes, the stresses will follow you wherever you go. You cannot escape yourself. Time and distance will not dissuade stress and no superhuman feats will defeat it. Because beyond the well planned weekends and beneath the intriguing itineraries and continental breakfasts your stress is only suppressed waiting to surprise with demise when you get back. How? Because you never really left your stress behind; you brought it with you.
So how do you learn to live life without all that extra baggage? Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could have a personal TSA agent check you over every morning before you left? Perhaps let’s not go that far, but the analogy still fits well. Maybe you could have a machine that you could step into that would not only beep when you were stressed but identify it and tell you how to get rid of it? What would your life be like if you could begin your day with nothing in your pockets; no cell-phones, smart-phones, laptops, lattes, shoes, or car keys and just enjoy the morning?
I realize life is much more complicated than that. We can’t always take time to enjoy the sunrises, smell the roses, or even remember to give thanks for another day. We’re used to waking up in survival mode, not with a smile and an attitude of gratitude. But that can change. That’s why we’re taking this trip; not to escape our lives, but to examine them and then expel anything that is causing us stress so we can embrace life, not hide from it. In other words, we’ve all become professional packers. Now it’s time to become professional un-packers. We can begin TODAY to start learning to live life without luggage.
So when does our trip begin? Not when, but where. It begins inside your heart and mind. Before you take one more step, travel one more mile, or sleep one more restless night, get a sheet of paper—an envelope from junk-mail, anything—don’t stress out trying to find the perfect piece of paper! When you find something, write down 10 things that are stressing you out—yes, only ten. What’s stealing your joy; keeping you up at night and making you weary throughout the week? That’s all you need to write right now. Don’t try to solve them, or punish yourself for them, just write them down. If you want to you can hide them, for now. If you want to e-mail them to me to get a different perspective and a piece of my peace, my e-door is always open. As I said before, we’re in this together and this trip will change your life. That trip and change begins now!