In a second you pack up all wasteful thinking about the past, present and future and remain positive, lighthearted and free of burdens and worries.

So what is in your suitcase? Remember to travel light; less baggage in the mind makes for easy travel.

Before moving to Asia, my friend volunteered to check my suitcase; she is a veteran traveller but to my alarm she advised me to cut it by half and then by half again. Convinced that I had been very clever in packing the minimum needs, I had to admit that those favourite CDs, clothes for interviews and nights out pushed the limits of necessity. But she said to me, “You can buy all that cheaply where you are going, so leave it behind.”

Respecting her advice and massively trimming the suitcase’s contents, I put the rest of my belongings—my complete household—into storage knowing that it would still be there, safe for me to pick up, when I returned if my friend’s advice had been too strict.

So I headed overseas with one small suitcase and a box of books [my professional library] sent ahead as unaccompanied baggage.

Sorting it Out

The sorting process had been time consuming. My ‘things’ were precious and there was always a reason why they should stay in the suitcase; I just might need them, I reminded myself. However, my friend assured me that the object d’art or handbag had to stay behind.

Criteria such as the mix n’ match approach i.e. one piece could serve several uses, e.g. a sarong could be worn, slept under, used as a towel or as a tablecloth ensured that versatility was the name of the game when choosing what to take. The second litmus test was whether or not I could buy it in Asia. As most of the goods in our shops are manufactured in Asia, the easy answer was ‘yes’; so item by item was discarded; I had to limit the weight because the new mantra was ‘travel light’.

Apart from that, this journey was for me to do new things. I was leaving behind years of work in the medical field so as to gain experience in publishing. This new and different perspective of myself was quite a gamble but in my heart I trusted that yes, this step was an important part of honouring the soul within, my essence. So the professional library was cut by half too.

A New Perspective

I had to be open-minded like never before and the keys to success rested with what was inside me, those special qualities plus years of work experience and not what was in my bag!

Clearing the Clutter

My friend brought me several cups of tea during the sorting process and helped me see that not only should I carry less baggage but also why some things just had to go; it was not even worth putting them in storage for later retrieval. That was the hard part. Many of my belongings were my mother’s until her recent death and so they held special importance and relevance to my sense of connectedness and perhaps too, my identity. My mother had gone as if a free bird, and so that needed to be my lesson too; be free at all times. So item by item, they were mindfully blessed and then offered to another family member, with love, but definitely out of my life. I cannot say this ‘letting go’ was a straight forward process but it was an important step.

Standing Back

Working my way through the bits and pieces I had accumulated, I could see clearly that each item brought with it a world of memories or a sense of ‘treasured love’. As this thought surfaced in my mind, I stood back and asked myself candidly, “Is the love bound to this object or is it something free and eternal and not bound by the shape, size or beauty? I discovered the item was definitely peripheral to the love.

As I worked on sorting my belongings, I was reminded of the story of a friend who had to flee Uganda with less than 24 hrs notice; in no time, the family took one bag with one change of clothes each and headed for the airport, departing their homeland with nothing but the small bag and its contents. The home, the utensils, the pets, the cars—all left behind in a moment. They had to start again, totally, but they were alive. That story rests in my mind, even now, when I try to simplify my life.

Letting Go

After a 48-hour sorting process, my friend returned to my side as I lay spread eagled on the floor exhausted, passing me a restorative cup of tea. Strangely, as I lay on the dusty carpet, I felt blissfully light as if on a cloud. I owned little or nothing and no thing or no-one owned me. I reflected that material things are just energy and energy stagnates when unused. Possessions, will burden the mind because they need taking care of even if unused. Let the energy flow and pass them on so that someone else can make use of them. It is the same with my thoughts, ideas, anger and arguments. Hold on to them and the mind becomes heavy.   It is time to let go.

See In A Different Light

I could see that the pain of all this packing up and letting go had brought me the gift of new sight. So much of what I had treasured and accumulated was in fact dispensable. In some sense, I had always known this but now, given the decision to live overseas for an indefinite period, I had to redefine myself as being intrinsically ‘whole’ and independent of things and mementos.

Once I had claimed this new inner space with fresh enthusiasm, another unexpected gift came my way. As I let go of the past, I became free to think clearly and positively in the present. Resoundingly, I knew that “I am not my past”. Once I had embarked on this path of self discovery and enlightenment, I sought fresh air, not the recycled air-conditioned stuff!

Meditation was working – I had found myself again and re-established a happy, loving connection with the ‘inner me’ that was previously loaded with all manner of old baggage and negative messages from parenting, school, relationships, work, and travels.

This taste of the original self – the pristine inner core – tantalised me to go further and anchor my identity in the ‘soul’, away from the storms and winds of circumstances and people’s opinions.

I saw clearly that there were redundant messages inside that spoke of “how others saw you”, “how others wanted you to be”, how you saw yourself” and “how you dreamt of being”, most of which were totally illusionary. The dictates of traditions, culture, approval-seeking, and other influences were all there but not me. If any of those dictates were ever at odds with my inner truth, then I battled inside and spun off into discord, disagreements and culture clash.

Small Bundles

Now that my inner suitcase has been packed so thoughtfully, I affirm daily that I am a small bundle of sparkling light – a soul – and that I am stronger than anything that appears bigger than me! The only thing I lose when I let go of something I am afraid to live without is fear.

Affirmations for the Power to Pack Up

You are powerful. To make a fresh start, you let go all painful memories and heart-wounds. Past is past.

 You are powerful. You release yourself from unhelpful beliefs and create a fresh self-image, based on actual talents and values.

You are powerful. If the web of superior or inferior feelings seeks to trap you, you stay unbiased and let ideas flow, free of judgment.

You are powerful. You cast aside the seductive threads of attachment and let yourself grow, unfettered by other people’s expectations.

You are powerful. If the past was hard, it does not mean the future has to be. You seek joy, not control, and walk carefree into the future.

by Helen Northey

Reproduced with kind permission of Eternity Ink

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