Lighten Your Load

Baggage in China

As I was packing for my vacation to California, I was doing my best to only take what I need to not fall into the trap of bringing too much.  Now that I’m packing for two, this is somewhat of a challenge (babies can be unpredictable!), but I’m to it.

I’ve done my fair share of traveling the world (the picture above was taken in Longsheng, China as village locals carried our luggage up the winding steps to our hotel since there aren’t roads!), and I’ve never wished that I brought more with me.  More likely I’ve carried too much in my bags and was weighed down on my journey.

What caused me to overpack?  Fear of the unknown. “What if I’ll need that?”  “Maybe I’ll wish I would have brought that along.” “What if I finish reading my book?  I better bring a bunch more or else how will I fill my time?”

It’s silly and funny when I think about it.

This whole overpacking thing has major life implications.  This tendency to carry more than we need translates into HEAVY baggage: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

What are you holding onto this stuff for?  Why not lighten your load?

The best thing I did for myself to deal with my baggage was growing my self-awareness.  Introspection served me well, as did therapy with an amazing psychologist who helped me gain an understanding of my past so I could create a healthier, more powerful NOW.  I learned to come to terms with my “stuff” so I could acknowledge it and let it go.  I developed the strength to set clear, healthy boundaries and stand up for my life.  I use these life coping skills on a daily basis.

Once you recognize what your baggage is, how do you deal with it and let it go? Therapy is one option.  Coaching is another approach.  What other tools do I use to lighten my load and put my best foot forward?  Check out this list and see what might work for you.

  • Deep breathing
  • Reading inspirational books
  • Watching my son explore the world
  • Journaling/writing
  • Seeing live performances (music, theater)
  • Running
  • Sweaty yoga classes
  • Massages (with the amazing Anna Stone!)
  • Laughing
  • Being honest
  • Getting a babysitter so my husband and I can enjoy a night out
  • Maintaining a clean, clutter-free home
  • Relaxing with my cats
  • Being mindful about what I put into my body (food and drink)
  • Having peace when relationships run their course
  • Consuming less
  • Managing my expectations
  • Not overscheduling myself
  • Doing one thing at a time
  • Taking one day at a time

So … what are you holding onto that’s holding you back?  What old habits don’t serve you anymore?  What have you outgrown?


  • Perhaps you are holding onto resentment, anger, sadness about stuff that happened in the past.  Let it go. Don’t allow it define you now.  You don’t have to play a victim or a martyr.  Forgive, rise above, find peace.  This is your ONE life.   How do you want to live from this day forward?  A great book that is so helpful in this arena is “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
  • Maybe you are weighed down by physical clutter in your home, office, car.   Perhaps your schedule is overflowing with activities and commitments that aren’t getting you closer to your goal of living a life that you love.  Declutter today.
  • One of my favorite life coaches and authors Cheryl Richardson is big on the importance of decluttering your life.  When it comes to items in your space, if you don’t absolutely love something, get rid of it.  Give it to charity or a friend.  Sell it on eBay.  Have a garage sale.  Your space is crucial to your peace of mind.  Make it soul-nurturing.
  • If you’re running around because your calendar is filled to the brim, think about what you can cut.  What are your true priorities and how well is your daily routine reflecting your priorities?  This is a powerful process I use with my clients so they can see where their time – their most precious asset – is going.  You’ll leave room for stuff that really matters – guaranteed.
  • How satisfied are you with your health and wellness pursuits?  If you’re not exercising as much as you’d like, start this week.  If now now, when?  Start small.  Walk around your block.  Park your car in the farthest spot from your destination.  Put your gym time in your calendar and enjoy this date with yourself.  Sign up for a fun class (dance, Pilates, yoga).  Join your company’s softball team.
  • For all you fellow travelers out there, pack your bag … and then remove 25 – 50% of the items you originally put in your suitcase.  This act sends a message to the world that you don’t “do” extra baggage. Less stuff = greater mobility.  Traveling light is simply a better, more hassle-free way to go.  Try it.

Until next week, enjoy … and lighten your load.



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