Leave your Baggage Behind
I was now separated from my family and was instead with the customs officers in the UK answering questions and having my baggage searched, much to my kid’s mortification and my husband’s amusement. How had this happened? Because I had become too concerned with my baggage and not focused on where I was going. But to start at the beginning…
I had a 2 month period this year where I was on 14 flights in 6 different countries, each with a different purpose and a different baggage allowance. The first was a diving trip to the Red Sea which involved three flights, two different baggage allowances and one flight only allowed one bag. By the time the heavy essentials for diving were put in, which would enable one to breathe, float and keep warm (the basics of survival and physiological needs) clothing was limited to a sarong and a hat, although to my mind, cappuccino sachets and rescue tablets would also count as essential survival items.
We were advised that we needed to protect our baggage as it was valuable and much had gone missing in airport transits. Business was booming at the cling film wrapping booth and their eyes lit up at 17 people, all with money to spend if it meant that the baggage would arrive intact.
The whole journey was preoccupied with protecting the already cling film protected baggage, weighing the baggage and working out ways of transporting the baggage through unknown territories and uneven surfaces.What a relief when we could board the boat and give all the baggage to the crew to look after, sort and give out when needed.
The next flights involved packing for different weather conditions in one trip and decisions included guessing for every weather eventually and probabilities of extreme family activities as Europe can have all weather conditions in one day. Of course, once we arrived, we went to the shops and found all kinds of new things that were more appropriate, more exciting and that made our baggage that we had carried obsolete.
In the 9th flight, the customs met my baggage. This was a budget, no frills, flight to Portugal, where the maximum weight for any length of stay was 10kg, unless you wanted to pay extra luggage, which was more expensive than the flight. The airlines philosophy is “ you want to go heavy, you pay the fine” and where extra luggage costs you the equivalent in body weight, so that you are motivated to holiday in a near naked state.
As we had not been to the destination before we were not sure what would be required and what food would be available so the previous day was filled with activity of prioritising what was important, light and adaptable and how much extra could be dumped in the kid’s baggage as they seem to travel the lightest.
For me, multiple books were essential but was my 4kg of books is as essential as shoes? One daughter was adamant that the hair straighteners were the essential that could benefit everyone. My husband lost the baggage essential war and when his shoes were found to weigh 2 kg he was downsized to one pair of flip flops and using the communal female razor. With a six hour travel experience ahead, questions were asked – would starving be a better option than carrying food and had they heard of vegetarians where we were going? Do I bank on hot weather to drip dry by because I had no towel. Add to that the toiletries debate, which must fit in a sandwich bag size plastic bag and hours were spent decanting every cream and liquid into tiny bottles.
When we found out that we did not count in the weigh-in, we all arrived(as did the majority of the passengers) wearing coats with big pockets that carried three books each, five layers of clothing (in an unheard-of heat wave), including sarongs round the neck and all jewellery at once. A quick toilet visit was impossible but at least we had the baggage sorted.
All I was concerned about was getting the baggage through and all was well until customs spotted the sweaty women with the nervous tick who was filling up the tray at the x-ray machine with a treasure trove of metal, scarves, belts and shoes and they asked me where I was flying to.
I was so flustered at having to do a magicians show where I was pulling out hidden objects out of nowhere, to go in the tray, that I couldn’t remember the name of the airport and with a confused look whispered “I don’t know”. “Where are you staying then?” they then asked suspiciously. Confusion changed to panic as I realised I didn’t know the town or villa in Portugal “I don’t know where I’m going” I squeaked. This was not a good answer I guess and I was led straight over to the drug squad corner where all my tiny bottles, which I had not labelled, were tested and the pupils of my eyes inspected. When asked what was in the bottles, I was again reduced to “I don’t know” answers and even more of my baggage and clothing was put in another tray.
I was eventually cleared of drug trafficking, assigned the “mentally incapable” category and released with sympathetic looks to my unsympathetic family.
As I sat in departure I thought about the time and energy it had taken to pack my baggage so that everything could come with me rather than spending the time looking at the experience which lay ahead and remembering where I was going. After all that, we arrived at the villa only to find a well stocked library which anyone could use and also take books away if we wished, supermarkets brimming with food that a vegetarian could eat and a beach that only seemed to require half of a bikini as clothing.
We are very attached to our baggage and in America, post 9/11 flight attendants are apparently now trained in an emergency to say “leave your baggage behind” as analysis has shown that even in a crisis people still can’t seem to leave their bags and their proof of identity behind.
Since my travels I have spent time simplifying my life baggage, looking at how to lighten the load and looking at who else’s baggage I’m carrying. It important periodically to ask questions on our baggage such as “what clothes do I need (and more importantly still fit), how can I lighten the IT load, what is important in the house, what work is important, who is important, what activities give me joy rather than those that I just carry out of habit and more importantly what beliefs and behaviours not longer serve and are just baggage that weigh me down”.
I also want to keep trying to focus on where I am residing at this moment in my life and where I am wanting to go so that my present and future determine my baggage rather than the past, as emotional baggage from the past is a form of self sabotage for the future.
Five things to remember when packing for the future:
There is a rule of 5 which relates to our memory. The brain can only cope with 5 priorities at a time before forgetting or dropping items. Baggage can be a heavy vibration and especially emotional baggage and multitasking increases our inertia and slows our momentum. What five things/ people would you take with you to a desert island? What do you carry in your handbag? What does your baggage say about you or what’s important to you and do you have a choice whether to carry it with you?
“I can choose to let it define me, confine me, refine me, outshine me, or I can choose to move on and leave it behind me” – unknown
In this year of endings and beginnings we have to make a choice of ‘leave it behind or be left behind’. What luggage is there in your life that you are carrying because it’s familiar or comfortable rather than a reflection of where you want to go. Look at your house, your cupboards, your friends, your body, your responsibilities and apply the ‘love it, use it or lose it’ approach.
“You can’t fly if your wings are holding the baggage of yesterday. Let go. Fly”
Know the Destination
We don’t always know where we are going at times so if the destination isn’t clear, focus on the present, what gives you joy, energy and a feeling of lightness and put down the bag for a while until you know what and when to start packing. If you know where you want to go, and have a clear idea of the experience you wish, it helps you to focus on packing for the destination rather than toting the ‘same baggage fits all’ journeys.
“Don’t forget to pack your courage for your journey to greatness” David Wenbaun
“Is this your own baggage ma’am?”
Be careful you haven’t offered to carry others people’s baggage and then started calling it your own, or have accepted responsibility for unknown packages out of duty or lack of assertiveness. The bigger the bag there more room there is for everyone else’s stuff so own your own baggage and leave the excess weight behind.
Share the load
Ask for help in sharing the load or in helping you unpack the baggage that is proving difficult to let go of. Once you’ve identified the problem weight areas with someone else, it’s easier to think objectively and also remember that packing for new destinations always brings a sadness that has to be acknowledged.
“Everyone has baggage. The key is to find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack” – unknown
Travel Lightly My Friends
Travel lightly my friends, for heavy baggage only weighs you down.
It fixes your eyes to the ground and your wings forget how to fly.
You cannot see the sky, the sea, the ever changing seasons.
And you create different experiences to those where your head is held aloft.
Lace not the leaden shoes of past security and comfort that makes your footsteps weary.
Rather run with winged feet that leaves imprints of inner conviction and unhindered beliefs.
Buckle not the unwieldy holster of fear, control and external power around your hips.
Rather fill your pockets with creativity, abundance and authentic power to choose your world.
Tie not the constricting belt of self doubt, criticism and intimidation around your waist.
Rather wind a silken thread of I AM that gives you self esteem, personal worth and honour.
Fix not the sharp pin of isolation, clouded judgement and separated grief to your breast.
Rather clasp a diamond brooch of clarity that shines of compassion, beauty and harmony.
Pack not the rucksack of yesterday’s baggage, sorrows, and regret on your shoulders.
Rather carry pebbles of certainty in the present and feathers of optimism in your wings.
Hang not the rigid yoke of will power, of held back tears and control around your neck.
Rather a golden chain of freedom around your throat that surrenders to the moment and the higher plan.
Fasten not the band of blinkered sight, habits and others beliefs around your forehead.
Rather let your hair fly free in the wind, to experience the intuitive unfolding that awaits each new horizon.
Place not the battered hat of worldly needs, desires and false aspirations upon your head.
Rather a halo of inner wisdom and intuitive knowledge of the awakening of your soul.
Lay down your heavy armour, the metal shield of defence, and the weapons of attack.
And protect yourself instead with light and with angel’s wings of love.
When you wear light, you spread that light to areas of darkness.
And others rejoice in your colours and vibrations.
When you clothe yourself in love, the weight turns to gossamer threads.
And divine energy is released to lighten the load for all who travel life’s road.
So travel lightly my friends
For where there is light, it illuminates the journey of love
And shines on a new road to be travelled.
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