Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Let's Play "What's In My Bag?"

Let's play game.  It's a working title, but for now I'm calling it "What's in my bag?".

Before we do that think for a moment about a time when you felt someone had just acted in a way that was uncalled for, out of line, or inappropriate.  Maybe you passed judgement or maybe you were open minded enough to realize that that wasn't really about you and that that other person was perhaps dealing with a bigger something, or heavier somethings. Maybe you understood that he wasn't feeling well, or that she was having an especially tough day and you would let it go.  Nice of you to do. Forgiveness will likely have felt freeing for you.

It's much easier to see the (over) reaction in another person than it is to see it in ourselves. When we are close to the situation we are a bit like a camera set to take a photo of something in the distance while finding an object up close in the foreground to be in our field of view. We may think we can see it clearly but often our perspective is "off", blurring the lines we imagine to be clear. 

Our life experiences shape our perspectives and our opinions and form our camera lens. Many of those experiences we carry with us through life.  Likes & dislikes, opinions & beliefs can become so familiar that they almost resemble personal law at times. 

We begin to see the world around us through a very specific 
set of self created lenses. 

We react and respond in ways that feel right to us based on our own past learning. It's a really a very normal and natural process for all of us.

In some situation those reactions or instincts may have even been what have kept us safe. (That is very likely for past generations whose survival may have been closely linked to instincts and past learning) But for many of us, we have gone beyond that safe space and into a stagnant place.  A place where we are now continually doing, thinking, believing exactly as we have in the past. The result? Same as always. Frankly it's becoming frustrating.

For many years I lived a life where I longed to move forward. 

I want to have more, to feel more, and to experience more, but I was unwilling to put in the effort to expand my daily routines and do things differently.  

At that time I would have called myself open minded. Yet I read the same books and magazines I always had, I watched the same TV programs, I hung out with the same people and I moved through my week in the same way. 

I wasn't doing a thing to bring to myself anything that new to have, experience or feel. It was a merry go round I was becoming less and less fond of.

And so I began to play (though I didn't realize it at the time) "What's in my bag?"  It was my playful way of examining my baggage (we all collect our own baggage along our way) 

First I had to start by even admitting to myself that I was carrying baggage.  I started with seeing my bags not as heavy black luggage weighing me down, but as a collection that when put together, told the story of where I had been thus far.

We all have our own story, our collection. If we have experienced life we have picked up "things" along the way. 

I have learned to cook a few good meals. To drive a car in the busy city. To swim. To knit. To keep my plants alive. Those belong in my "bag 'o skills".  

But the bag I was struggling with was the one that held all of my beliefs and my emotional understandings.  Some of those I hadn't been comfortable examining, and so instead of deciding what I would carry and what I would not, I packed them all in and labelled it "To be dealt with at some later date. Maybe."  

My collection at that point was eclectic, and it was heavy.

Then life brought me a big emotional break up.  I really didn't think I would ever recover. Figuring this out and moving beyond was not something that I could pull from my "bag o' skills".  

I was hard on myself. My self worth had been flushed. I was convinced that I was never going to amount to anything anyone would love.  I had just done everything right and it STILL blew up in my face.

What beliefs / understandings had I packed into my bags?? 

Where did they come from and were they actually valid??  

There are journals full of my scribbled thoughts as I explored what was weighing me down. I knew that I wanted something different to happen.  I knew that I needed to figure out how to change some habits of thought and reaction.  I had no idea how to do that. 

I have learned SO MUCH about myself.  I am happy and I am comfortable with sharing my story with others.  I would love love love it if my story and what I learned worked for me were to help even one person to get to their good stuff in a more direct route than I got to mine. 

And so I ask you,  

"What's in your bag?"  

What are you carrying that you want to keep and what are you carrying that may be weighing you down?? 

The exploration process is on-going (though it does get easier as you get the hang of it) and it is certainly not without some unease. But in my humble opinion, what you stand to gain is well worth your effort to unpack and understand.  

Over to you

Have you explored your collection of sassy yet personal luggage??  How did / do you unpack and examine what you're carrying??  If you have a tip or a trick to help any of the rest of us to pack only what we need, please feel free to use the comment section to tell your story.  

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