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“Pack clothes for beach yoga. And shall we go sailing on Saturday?”
I was about to escape the gray skies that insisted upon holding tightly to the final few days of a midwestern winter. I paused at the suggestion of a St. Patrick’s Day sail. My mind raced to a past where criticism of my incompetency on the water left me feeling a failure not just as a sailor but about everything in my life.
The flash from the past left as quickly as it arrived, and I began to think about what I’d pack for blue skies and sunny days with friends. As it turned out, less than I thought.
I pride myself in packing light. I’ve been known to get by with a single small backpack for a trip to Costa Rica. Yet when heading to a new adventure I sometimes pack the unnecessary. The heavy. The burdensome. Though I may never take them out of my suitcase I thoughtlessly throw them in, “just in case.” Just in case it’s going to be uncomfortable or scary. Just in case I’ll look bad if I don’t have it. The more I pack the more prepared I’ll be, I tell myself.
This time I’m packing only the fundamentals and the essentials. My intention is to relax and have fun. My curiosity is to listen well to the stories of loved ones. I’ll even toss in some flexibility just in case it rains. And I never want to leave town without gratitude in my bag.
What I won’t pack are items that have weighed me down during travels of my past. To resist the urge to pack the unnecessary, I wrote:
My Not Packing List:
Expectations of what the experience “should be”
Old stories about my incompetence
Beliefs about breaks while the work awaits
Judgments about my body (Did I mention beach?)
My To Do’s upon my return
Carrying what I need and leaving behind what I don’t, everything will feel lighter. I don’t need the big and the heavy. I need the small and the best. Sunshine, here I come.