Monday’s Meditation: On Not Packing Light; Not Being Sorry About It.
I do not travel light.
That fact might throw you for a loop, but it’s true; I travel heavy.
It isn’t that I bring too much, though, nor do I require a large bag. My suitcase isn’t unexpectedly unwieldy because it’s vastly over-packed. Rather, it’s appropriately-filled contents are, in and of themselves, weighty: free weights, ankle weights, serious athletic shoes + custom orthotics (that right there is a good 11-12 lbs); products. Not full size cosmetics, but my whole regime of skincare and haircare, carefully decanted into travel-sized containers. Plus there’s the Clarisonic + its charger (since the idea of it dying whilst in transit is an anxiety-producing thought for me) and the Sonicare. And then depending on the duration and location of the trip, there may be an array of dry goods, including a baggie of organic steel cut oats, a generous amount of Larabars, a ziploc full of chia seeds, and so on.
Next to that? Nothing remarkable: some clothes, underwear, socks.
For a long time I was mildly self-conscious about the inevitable bulk of my seemingly meager bag. I’d wait for the surprise to register on the taxi driver’s face, dread the airline scale moment.
The thing of it is, I’m no longer apologizing for the weight of my suitcase. After a bevy of trips, I’ve finally decided to give myself permission for my damn heavy bag. Those purposefully chosen contents are the items I feel I need in order to help me be my best self.
– I’m committed to my exercise routine regardless of where I am in the world. It’s a promise I’ve made to myself and delivering on that promise is my way of showing up for myself every time I do it.
– I love my products. Its partly ridiculous and partly not at all. A lot of thought and research has gone into every product, and using the ones I’ve carefully selected makes me feel as though I’ve done all I can to feel good about my appearance–which then allows me to move past it and focus on other things.
– I am a picky eater and I am a healthy eater, and it turns out most of the world isn’t cut out to cater to those two things. Because I care what I put into my body all the time and while traveling, I accomodate my own needs by bringing dietary standbys.
Having clarified the carry-on suitcase sized amount of things that are integral to my functioning–that’s something I feel quite good about, in fact.
The emphasis of Live Simply has never been on minimalism or doing without. It isn’t defined in relation to the poles more and less. More is idealized and less is fantasized and Live Simply lives in neither camp, but in the land of razor-sharp clarity, in which people live authentically, in tune with genuine need, and with full awareness of priorities and the actions required to honor those priorities.
Certainly there are people who staunchly hold the belief that they genuinely need an unhealthy amount or kind of things. But I’m not talking about those people right now. I’m talking about you and I, people who have the perspective to distinguish between the important and the un-important, people who do not delude or distract ourselves from what is true, but who keep it unwaveringly real.
Figure out what it is you really need, the stuff you could–sure–survive without, but with which you are helped along on the path to being a better, more loving, more centered, more capable of compassion, person.
Then don’t apologize for those things. Even if it means your bag could break backs or your choice of artwork could scare small children.
But don’t let there be any confusion, either. Let the way you treat your essentials and the prominence they play in relation to the rest of your belongings be a reflection for any observer of your gratitude for them, and of their undeniable utility to you.
Have the things you need to have (and those only!) so you can be the person you hope to be.
That’s Live Simply.
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