Tag Archives: emotional health

Baggage Fees for People…

13 Mar

Whatever life takes away from you, let it go.  When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. – don Miguel Ruiz

This is true whether life has taken from you your life savings, relationships (toxic or not), possessions, emotions, or people.

In our capitalist society, we grow up with the illusion that whoever amasses the most things – wins!  In addition to material things, we hold emotions and experiences, and keep them forever (even when it is not good for us!)  Sometimes I think we are like the TV showHoarders” with the amount of intellectual and emotional baggage we drag behind us.  (If you do not think you are “packing” baggage, think about how often you serenade friends with the same litany of a past hurt…)

The analogy of baggage fees for emotional baggage hit me the other day at the airport as a fashionista was unloading her luggage on to a baggage cart for an upcoming flight. She was aghast when the agent assessed her with hundreds of dollars in “extra” baggage fees, and I realized that this same situation could work well with the invisible baggage we all insist on bringing with us.

Think about it for a minute – why do we need to bring a “steamer trunk” full of childhood pain along to a family picnic?  The answer is that we DON”T!

Imagine if we could visualize the baggage that we and everyone else bring along when we go out?  Picture this hilarious scenario:  People at a picnic surrounded by masses of steamer trunks (full of crap), garment bags (with clothes that no longer fit) , sports equipment (long worn out), golf bags (with mismatched clubs), garbage bags (filled with discarded papers), and suitcases so old they need duct tape to stay together.

It would be the most bizarre scene from “Hoarders” (people who discard nothing!)

Baggage fees for people?

If we were forced to pay fees (which we do unconsciously) for each unnecessary piece of baggage we brought the world economy would restart in a minute!  The world would change for the better in two ways:

  1. People would carefully pack only the luggage they need to take on a journey and discard the rest (we would all be more emotionally healthy!);
  2. Those who wish to remain emotional “hoarders” would contribute financially for the privilege!

The emotional baggage we carry is invisible, yet we drag, push, and pull way too much of it along like some sort of badge of honor.  If it were real, some of it would smell bad, be oozing out of its containers, and some of it would be so dangerous as to alert the “HAZMAT” team (hazardous materials).

We do not realize that life could be so much easier (with great fitness benefits to our emotional health) by discarding, recycling, reframing, and forgiving the things we lost in the past and that life took from us. Things we thought we need to keep might actually be costing us unconsciously by holding on to them.  Clear out your storage locker and your mind of this clutter and make room for new emotions and wonderful experiences today. (Related post: New Math – Subtraction can add Years to your life!)

We need to take inventory and streamline our journey forward by discarding the worn out and out-of-date from our lives!

Starting today, I am going to work to discard the waste, and watch what bags I pack to go out tonight.

If it is more than I can fit into a small purse – it is tooooooo much!  If I go out and drag along a few extra steamer trunks (out of habit), I will ask my friends to collect baggage fees at the table.  What do you think?

Have a great (baggage free) week!


The cream always rises to the top…

15 Nov

My weekend was tumultuous to say the least, involving a family crisis and caring professionals.   Just when life’s waves seem to be manageable, painful experiences involving loved ones drives a “perfect storm” of people, emotions, and environment.  In addition, when one considers how people behave in a crisis – hindsight and reflection show a hodge podge of caring and concern.

Without going into details, it is suffice to say that tragedy was averted and things are on the path back to control and calm.  I am thankful for my friends and my adult children who perform at their best and illustrate it finely at the peak of a crisis.  When the perfect storm hits, I want them in my lifeboat! They are the cream that rises to the top in a bucket of milk (my analogy of society).

As in nature, there is always an equal opposite – in this case, those who are selfish defenders of their ego. Such narcissism becomes clear in the midst of such crisis.  They go about their everyday life in a self-centered fashion and expect everyone and everything to be at their disposal and circle around them as the sun in their own existence.   It matters not what is happening in a crisis or who is in need, what matters is that their personal ego remains intact and they still look good to the world.  If there is any chance to swoop into the center of the storm and seem a hero, it is this minority of people who will do so.

bell curve in natureI am sure you have seen this in your own life. It is like a bell curve of society – with outliers outside the majority of the general population.

At the one end, are the old souls in our lives who are like the cream that rises to the top – the giving, caring, unselfish souls who put everything on hold in a crisis to help out those in need.  Out of 100 people, there are probably 2-3 of these incredible souls, and I always feel graced to be among them.  It is these rare souls that you want in your lifeboat when the main boat is sinking.

Then there is bulk of the curve – regular, everyday, imperfect human beings who do their best to help out in a crisis, but do not really have any idea what to do. Their comfort zone seldom goes beyond normal, everyday life, and they wait for someone else to lead when a crisis occurs. This group is like the gallon of ordinary milk, and they are the main fabric of our society.  They will remain civilized (in most cases) but will still shove their way into a waiting lifeboat (so that they survive).

The other “tail” of the bell curve extreme has the selfish takers (you have met these I am sure) who push to the front of the lifeboat line because they are so loved that society could not run without them (in their mind’s eye!)  They are the squeaky wheels who get the grease (so to speak) in our society… the ones who use the shoulder lane to get ahead in a traffic jam and figure that their time is more important than anyone else’s or who cheat the system because they feel that their superior intelligence/beauty/talent affords them special rights.  It is these people who rock the lifeboats to the extent that they would push everyone else out if it meant their appearance is at stake.  Often these are the charismatic show boats in our society who mask their deep insecurities through pontification and puffery.  I do not know where they fit in my analogy of a bucket of milk, but perhaps they are the bacteria in our societal bucket – sometimes good and sometimes bad.  If such people choose to give positively (at their convenience and comfort) it is a bonus, but always unexpected.  Their history is spotty at best, and often life is better when they are absent. Thank goodness, I have more cream than bacteria in my family.

creamThis week will be emotionally challenging as we pick up the pieces after the crisis.  I stand steadfastly in support of my loved one and will do everything humanly possible to stay visibly and emotionally present in the coming days.  I will be a steadfast and positive support – no matter what.  I am happy to have cream in my milk bucket (my family) – especially my daughter who has been a blessing through all of this.  My son is also a courageous giver for whom I give eternal thanks that he has graced our family.

Please keep me in your thoughts and send positive energy this week as the cream, the milk, and even the bacteria makes its way (so to speak) to pasteurization and good health.

To your health and prosperity!



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