Lightening the Load

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As you can tell by the title of my blog, I like to travel light.This applies not just to tangible baggage but also to intangible things that can weigh you down like habits, beliefs and behaviours which don’t support your current life or future goals. Tangible is easy, you see a dress or sweater you once enjoyed wearing and suddenly its lost its value or use on the next step of your journey. The intangible is harder and can take some effort and determination but if you don’t do it ,then you are trawling the past along behind you and not fully experiencing everything a fresh journey has to offer. This recent  visit to my family in Canberra has been remarkable as a time of letting go of things, habits, old possessions,beliefs and behaviours I once used to value but no longer do.

I didn’t get rid of everything when I left my former life three years ago in a small coastal town but kept a couple of boxes in my son’s garage. Things that were once valuable in either monetary or aesthetic terms but  which now, as travel has changed me in ways both obvious and intangible, I realised no longer valued or wanted to keep. At the time of setting out on the adventure of travel through house sitting, I kept these few things assured that I would want and need them when I settled down, whenever that would be. This visit something within urged me to review and re-evaluate their usefulness. In other words I felt the urge to purge.

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So I came face to face with the past, and in particular who I was in the past, just by touching these possessions.
A fragile lamp sculptured as a sea sponge with hard to find tiny globes, Royal Doulton plates with images of wizards and fairies, a crystal Lalique platter, a wooden bowl made of Tasmanian ash ;all lovely to look at,all expensive.

But what had possessed me to buy such things and of what possible use could they be to me on my journey, now or in the future? We like to think that things, non sentient creations, are neutral but in fact its we who imbue them with life by investing them with our feelings-both good and bad as some people invest in retail therapy and hoarding as a way of dealing with negative feelings-values, beliefs and even behaviours. The price of something, we like to think, can be an indicator of our self worth but in truth that is never the case. Its our beliefs and value systems which does that. So after dipping my hand in the waters of the past, I let them go and felt good about it.

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The purge of possessions coincided with FebFast, (www.febfast.org.au/) a heath event in which you choose to give up one or more common social addictions such as sugar, alcohol, smoking, caffeine or 24/7 connection to technology for the month of February. I chose sugar and alcohol as I don’t smoke and couldn’t imagine life without my coffee in the morning. It helps that I am doing it with other family members, my son, daughter  in law and her mother. And after attending a barbeque where others drank wine and ate cake I can say that there is strength in numbers! At this point in time I am half way through and feeling lighter in my body-my liver in particular!

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Many people can’t imagine not being dependent on possessions to define who they are but really when you let go or is that let loose? It becomes clear that the lighter your load, the more there is of your quintessential self available to enjoy life.

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