Tuesday, October 23, 2012

packing up, paring down

"Travel light," my friend Chit told me, when I set off from the island. God knows, I've tried my best.

I probably could have done without the bikini--but having lived on an island, I always travel with one. Did I really need the little yellow cotton miniskirt or my homemade ripped up cotton T? Did the few days it was warm enough to wear them in Spain make it worth it? On the most part, the clothes I brought have properly served their purpose. Recently, I've been wearing a significant amount of them at the same time to keep sufficiently insulated in-doors. But I hardly used my practice poi. I didn't sweat enough to need more than one yoga towel. And I didn't get through all the notebooks and reading material I schlepped from Asia.

Packing once again, meticulously compressing the clothes and items that have made up my sum total belongings these past 3 months, I ask myself, did I really travel light?

All the stuff fits. All within weight limit. As a rule, I try to never bring more than I can carry.

Then there's all the baggage that we can't so easily quantify because, most of the time, we don't even know that it is there. The invisible suitcase or backpack that is filled with some of the oldest, funkiest, most useless sort of junk: catalogs of past ills, stories of self-sabotage, chestfuls of fears, storehouses of childhood trauma.

Without realizing it, I carried an enormous weight though-out Europe, old ghosts that piggybacked from place to place. They saddled me and rode me around like a show pony.

It's not entirely my baggage's fault. Whether or not I had consciously chosen to do so, I had brought it with me. And life on the road wasn't easy. Love may have been on the itinerary but it was more like love on the rocks. And the bumps unlocked the secret carrying case, allowing some of my oldest issues to come tumbling out into the open.

It's hard to move forward while bearing the burdens of the past. These things I've been carrying have made the journey heavy. They stalled my progress. I had a choice: continue to go nowhere or begin to let go.

Now, I realize how bogged down. And while these issues don't just simply go away, they do start to shrink under the light of day. With perspective, they get smaller and smaller and, in turn, I feel lighter.

When this trip started I was intent on moving forwards. What I see now is that the intention of pressing onwards is intrinsically linked with the past. But perhaps that's a part of the process, how our ability to move on, to grow, is contingent on letting go of the old things that impede us.

As I continue to unload the dross, I am wary that there is most likely more in there, this Mary Poppins-like carpet bag, which despite it's so-small-it's-practically-invisible appearance is quite mysteriously expansive. I can only hope there will be time and opportunity to carefully unpack everything.

Before I left North Yorkshire, my lovely host, upon seeing my luggage, commented on how I manage to travel light. Hmmm, not quite. But I am trying...

No comments:

Post a Comment