Lugging it aoROUNd

goldenoldies - carrying the load
Originally uploaded by Siebs.
I am currently in between guiding backpacking trips, home for a week recovering from one to do the next. When I started unpacking clothes from my bags I found myself subtly trying to see if I needed some of them anymore. It’s this thing I do quietly unawares nearly all the time. Reduction. I continually look around my place and try to see if there is anything I am not using, wearing, reading that I can do without.

This isn’t some Al Gore-easy-being-green-carbon-foot-print-band wagon. I’ve done it for as far back as I can remember. I am not sure if it came from all the moving around I did during college (I attended 3 for undergrad) or what, but if I haven’t worn it in the last year or more then off to the donation pile it goes. (Which has its funny moments when I saw a homeless guy down the street wearing one of my shirts). It has something to do with traveling light, living simply, maybe. I just don’t like carrying much with me when it comes to the next move, or try and keep up with too many things even if I don’t move. It frees me up to give my energy to what I really want to.

And it was last week talking with friends over drinks that I became aware of how much I don’t really like carrying other kinds of “stuff” around too long either. It doesn’t have to be material to be too long in the closet… if ya know what I mean. When emotional baggage rears it’s ugly head, smelling more like old garbage than just old clothes, I tend to go into “get it out! Get it out!” mode. It’s not that I don’t mind engaging it, dealing with it, or any of that. It is an acute awareness that I’ve been lugging around extra weight that I’d do better off without. So as soon as possible, I want to get it out on the table, think or “feel” it through and then move on. I wasn’t always this way.

What really bugs is when I thought I took care of something, thought I “cleaned” it all out only to find there is more to be “processed.” It’s like riding your bike and finding out the rear break has been stuck “on” for the last mile. No wonder you’re so tired.

From my experience, a larger than normal majority still horde more than just material possessions. I know guys that hold grudges for years and years, with precision detail as to the why So and So must pay for this or that. Can you imagine the amount of energy it must take to simply maintain the information; much less the emotions that fly around it like little Harry Potters? Talk about a head-trip, a power trip. Garret Keizer in his book The Enigma of Anger: Essays on a Sometimes Deadly Sin,says: A danger of living too much in our own heads is the inevitable assumption that others live in our heads too. Not in their heads, but in our heads. In other words, we begin to assume that others are aware of our doubts, fears, and sensitivities, and that they hurt us with the perfect knowledge of what they are doing. Sound too close to home?

Or as Ben Folds sings in “Trusted” : The sun's coming up/She's pulled all the blankets over her/Curled in a ball/Like she's hiding from me and/That's when I know/She's gonna be pissed when she wakes up/For terrible things I did to her in her dreams. Ask any one who has been married awhile and they can feel Ben’s pain. And someone who fights battles in their sleep, never finished them in the light of day.

I’ve been this person. Creating battles that never exist in the real world because it’s easier to fight with myself and enjoy it than with whomever I really have the issue. And I usually win… but in the end I lose. Energy. Intimacy. Friendship.

I, also, know these kind of people because I have been on the receiving end of a fight they started with me in their head and finished with their mouth, never aware that I wasn’t privy to whatever convoluted battle they created. I love it when these people take years to finally let it out of their head only to find it was themselves they put in a straight jacket all this time. Not me, or you, or that organization.

Just writing about this makes me feel the unnecessary weight of it all.

Keizer says later, “Most people are too preoccupied to mean much of anything.” Duh. One doesn’t have to go too far to see the truth in that statement. Imagine what it would be like if the next time your emotional baggage reared up because of what so and so said, you actually considered this reality. Because let’s face it, they have their own house cleaning going on and may have never noticed you in the doorway.

I want to live light and move freely. Not just in my physical world. I want to be free enough to be human. That seems to have a lot to do with letting go of old hurts or thought-matrixes, and sometimes the imaginary versions of you and what you did or didn’t do in my head.

When I look back at al the old ways I used to operate, all the old emotions I used to carry, I am so relieved. Partly wearied, but mostly reminded of the energy that was freed up once they were bagged and dumped out by the garbage heap. The real kicker is when I see someone drop their baggage and start lightening their load. They become a whole other person because they finally have the energy to be who they were meant to be. And that is refreshing…