“It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I’ve learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place.” ~Angelina Jolie
When you’re sojourning overseas and you’ve got tons of luggage — it’s a real schlep, right? It’s much easier airport hopping when you’re traveling light. And a lot less to think or worry about too.
Life is no different.
Let Go Of the Bone And Try Something Fresher
You can’t expect to be light-hearted if you’re holding on to the past.
There’s a prime piece of T-bone steak waiting in his bowl but the Rottweiler is hanging on to last night’s dried up, old bone. Sound familiar?
“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterdays junk” ~Louise Smith
Letting go of our past isn’t easy — no-one said it was. No matter if you are grieving a physical loss or an emotional wound — we all have ‘baggage’. Our job is to unpack it.
You don’t want to go the rest of your life carrying a backpack, do you? Not only will it give you back ache but it will also slow you down, tire you out and rob you of your present joy.
Baggage Was Never a Forever Thing
Your past was never meant to be carried as a burden. What happened to you — no matter what it was — all had a soul teaching for you to move through. Your job is to get the lesson.
If you’ve experienced abuse — perhaps your discovery is that you found your strength to move on or your power to forgive. If you’ve experienced death — maybe your pearl of wisdom came in the shape and form of learning to let go in love or to find peace in vulnerability.
These are merely suggestions as we all have vastly different reasons for going through certain life experiences.
Every time I look back at the tougher times of my life, I can see there was always an illuminating teaching for me. You can very rarely feel it when you’re in it. It takes time to work through grief and heartache — which is perfectly natural and everyone’s period of mourning is different — just don’t get lost in the past.
Related article: Dealing With Life’s Traumas
A Personal Metaphor For Loss
In 2002 my husband and I moved to the UK and stayed there for 3 years. It was a thrilling experience but I did miss my homeland.
After a year of being there, I lost my father. It was such a devastating experience and I had to catch an emergency flight back to South Africa to help my mother with the necessaries.
When I flew back to the UK I began to shop. I bought everything and anything — it was pure compulsive behaviour. And to make matters worse, I shipped it all back to my mother to keep for me for when I returned, which she did.
I spent more posting the boxes of ‘stuff’ back than I paid for the items…true madness.
When I returned home for good, my mother led me to her garage where all these boxes were stacked to the ceiling. I couldn’t believe how much I’d sent (and spent)!
I went through all the treasures I had sent myself to find it was all…well, for want of a better word…crap!
I didn’t need it and ended up giving most of it away.
Related article: The Secret to Letting Go of Every Fear
The Diamond in the Tale
What I did learn, in hindsight, was that I was filling a void left by my father’s death — shopping was my coping mechanism.
I could have kept the boxes but I knew that would have been holding on to the past and those boxes would turn out to be made of cement, holding me back and filling space I needed for my future.
It was the most freeing thing to do when I gave all that junk away. It even turned out to make two very special ladies extremely happy!
As I was clearing out the boxes from the garage, two Xhosa ladies came walking up the road selling beautiful hand-made baskets.
They saw some of the things from my boxes and asked if I would consider trading with them. I told them they could have the stuff but they insisted on giving me two awesome baskets. They literally danced and sang in joy back down the street with boxes piled on top of their heads.
I still have those baskets and every time I look at them I am reminded of this lesson with a smile on my face.
There is gold to be mined in our experiences — good or bad. Your job is to find out what your soul wanted to take from the experience. Then leave that bag, don’t check it in at your next stop. Live lighter.
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