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Traveling Light

Yikes! Look at that baggage!

How often do we have an unpleasant experience and then carry it around with us for hours, days, weeks, or even years? I do it and I bet you do, too. It’s called being human.

But boy, I’d much rather not do it! I’d rather be like my dogs. Although, thinking about that, I know there are some things dogs carry. Trauma. The memory of going to the groomer or the vet. More often, Miles, at least, carries happy memories. He totally remembers every house where a kind friend lives. He knows which of my adult piano students brings treats or sits down on the floor to play with him. And those are much stronger with him than any bad things.

Maybe a scooter backpack?

You’ve probably heard the story of the two monks who were walking along and were confronted by a wealthy woman and her servant. There was a big mud puddle between them and the woman was very upset at the thought of having to walk through that. So the older monk carried her across and set her down gently on the other side. She did not thank him and went away still grumbling. After a few miles, the younger monk angrily asked his elder, “How could you carry her and then let her treat you like she did?” The elder said, “I put her down long ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

Those unpleasant memories we carry around are heavy. And yet we’ve stuffed our backpacks with them, maybe put them on wheels so we could drag them along, or shoved them into heavy bags that weigh down our shoulders. Boy. It’s hard to just leave them. And yet, just think how much more joy we’d have without them! These are our journeys, our own lives that we burden with hurts, slights, and bad memories. Not someone else’s. We only punish ourselves by carrying these things around forever.

Ahh. Much better.

Here’s what I want to have in my little backpack.
* Equanimity
* Openness
* Acceptance
* Love
* Wonder
* Joy
* A cozy jacket
* A tiny stuffed dog
* A little chocolate

Having a list of what you do want is helpful.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had your own inner TSA agent going through that backpack and pulling out all those burdensome things, saying, “I’m sorry, ma’am, you’re not allowed to carry that. You’re going to have to throw this out, too, if you want to go on.” Trash can sitting right there. Toss, toss, toss. I know just what I’d throw out. And I can see myself skipping away, light as a feather. La!

Oh, it’s not as easy as all that but we can lighten our loads. I love this image. I just now made it up, too. I hope it helps you on your journey.

“I was coming to see the heavier your heart got, the stronger you had to be to keep carrying it around.” ― Alexandra Bracken, In the Afterlight

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”