Everyone has baggage. Whether it’s the stuff you take when you board a plane or the lived experience you bring to each moment of your life, baggage is a part of us all.
Baggage is a term that doesn’t always lead each of us to glow with pride. We think of it as a collection of our cringe-worthy flaws and imperfections. Today, though, I’m asking you to pause and look at your baggage a little differently. There’s a reason that you carry that collection of experiences with you throughout your life. The same reason you pack a bag when you’re off on a trip.
It’s what you feel you need.
What we carry around with us on our life’s journey shapes our understanding of the world. It is our stories, our connection to each other, our gateway to empathy.
If we can take a minute and look at that suitcase and appreciate how some of those things inside have kept us safe, built our resilience and allowed room for compassion to grow, the weight we carry might not seem so heavy.
Now, I’m not saying everything you carry in that suitcase of life is going to be useful,
sometimes we overpack and just don’t know how to get rid of the things we’ve outgrown.
But there’s a reason you’ve chosen to carry those things. They have served you in the past and some part of you really believes that you might still need them.
How do you feel when you’re waiting in the airport at the baggage claim and your luggage has not appeared? You probably aren’t thinking Hooray! Now I am free of my baggage! That’s the stuff that you’ve chosen to bring along, it is what’s supposed to get you through.
When you go on a trip, your suitcase isn’t packed with everything you own (I hope), and in the same way, as we go through life, we don’t carry all our experiences forward.
We bring the ones that have served us the best or when it was most important.
My favourite item in my baggage is my armoured vest. It has slimmed down over the years, but I still keep it on hand for when I need protection.
I started building that armoured vest when I was being bullied as a child. It wasn’t just a vest then, I built a whole armoured suit as thick as I could manage and still move around. It was pretty awesome and for a while in my teens it even included a torpedo launcher and maybe a few grenades.
It wasn’t sleek or beautiful, but it did the job. It kept me safe.
It’s been hard to dwindle it down over the past few decades. Each time I’ve given up a piece of that well worn armour, I’ve mourned a little for the safety it brought me.
Some of it I’ve gotten rid of completely, whereas other pieces have been replaced with some thick and cozy fleece. It still provides protection, but it allows for more connection and is just not as heavy to carry.
There are darker things buried in my baggage, but there are lighter things too. This is where I keep the knowledge that being in nature helps me cope when life gets hard. This is where I carry my favourite hotwheels car that is there to remind me that play is therapeutic and can enrich my life.
My baggage has all the tools that have helped me get to where I am today. It is what has shaped each and every blog that I share with you here. It is sometimes my burden, but also my gift.
What treasures are you carrying in your baggage?