One of my friends wrote a beautiful piece upon returning home from a conference entitled, Journey to a Lighter Suitcase, which she has generously given me permission to share with you. In it, she confesses that when she was packing for the trip, she loaded up on all kinds of clothes, because she so wanted to fit in, so wanted to dress appropriate, and wasn’t sure which outfit would make her accepted by the group. The result was the heavy burden of an over-packed suitcase.
What a wonderful analogy for life. In our uncertainty, we load up on so many things to create the life we think will make us happy—collecting knowledge, experiences, or special grooming and clothing so that we may be accepted, respected, and gain success in a multitude of areas. But all these acquisitions and actions, along with our unprocessed layers of emotional experiences, mean a quite heavy suitcase. A heavy suitcase is unwieldly, thwarting swift movement. Think of how we had to lug our suitcases through the airports before someone came up with the idea to put wheels on them!
So do we want to continue hauling all this stuff, trying to put wheels on it to move it easier? Or do we want to release what isn’t necessary anymore, and in our unbridled, lighter self, rise into our revealed nature, full of our own glory?
You are all that, you know: brilliant, magnificent, creative, unlimited, and unique. Your personal expression is meant to be seen and felt on the planet unencumbered by those affectations.
So, I have some tools to help the shift to unloading what is old, unnecessary, or non-productive from your suitcase. The first is the Set Your Intentions for 2016 instructions, and the second is My Goals Worksheet. Let’s all lighten our suitcases!
And here is my friend, Lauren’s, beautiful piece! In her story, we know she was ready to emerge from her cocoon, and the environment she found herself in allowed her to see that.
Journey to a Lighter Suitcase
By Lauren May
I attended a business meeting this past weekend. It was a powerful three days. I am not the same person, and as a result I will never pack my suitcase the same again. As I was getting ready for the weekend, I thought through what I needed to pack. I had all the for sure things like pajamas and a toothbrush. Those things don’t take up much room. Then I packed MY clothes, the clothes I love to put on when I think no one is looking…my comfy khaki’s and sweatshirt that I wore on the beach early each morning or the sweater and jeans that I wore in the elegant lobby late at night while reflecting on the day when no one was around except the lone check-in attendant and the cleaning crew.
But the bulk of the space in my suitcase was occupied by all the weight I carry to make up for part of me that feels ‘not good enough’ which had my suitcase overflowing. That layer included the clothes that would assure the hotel that I was a proper guest and not the ‘not good enough’ person I truly felt inside. Surely, the right clothes would hide the fact that I didn’t belong in this elegant place. It also included all the outfits for the business meetings in case our group dressed this way or that, uncertain what it would take to blend in and not be THE ONE who wore???? that would have me stick out like a sore thumb. There were even moments after my suitcase was stuffed and hard to zip shut that I thought maybe I needed to go buy…whatever… just in case. Running out of time and space was honestly what saved me from packing more.
On the first day of our meetings I wore my chameleon outfit; the outfit that isn’t too dressy, isn’t too casual. I would blend in enough this first day then adjust once I saw who I was supposed to be. It was a plan that had worked well at other business events. Yet it didn’t take long to realize that this meeting was different and this group was different.
Shortly into the first day I had an overwhelming sense of being accepted and honored and SEEN for who I was, not my clothes or my hair or my nail polish, (or lack of) or my purse or my shoes…NONE of it. It was like the moment when the Grinch realized there was something more to Christmas than just the presents and the feast. It was Spirit that mattered most in Whoville and Spirit that mattered most in my business meeting. This group saw my authentic self, not all the false images I present as me hoping to be good enough. I didn’t have to pretend to be witty or smart or powerful or anything. I just had to be me. Not only did I feel accepted, I felt honored and revered. Relief doesn’t adequately describe the feeling. The protective wall that took a lifetime to build came tumbling down to reveal the true me, unencumbered by all the expectations of what I believed others wanted from me. Rather than feeling weak and vulnerable, I felt powerful and unapologetic. I felt liberated. What a gift! There is no turning back now.
From now on, when I travel, my suitcase will be much lighter. I no longer need to pack my ‘not good enough’ clothes or my ‘makes me fit in’ clothes…no! From now on I pack MY clothes, the clothes that allow me to be me. I will travel with an ‘enlightened load’.