Packing the Possibilities

Posted by suevenman on Mar 21, 2014  

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz;
I wonder where the birdies is?

Robin in SnowThis poem has nothing to do with my post today. It simply celebrates this first full day of spring. Although given the kind of weather we’ve had, it should be revised to read:

Spring has sprung, the birdies fly;
I wonder why the snow’s so high?

Spring brings with it my yearly spiritual retreat: a time of refreshment, renewal and rest. Yet whenever I go away, on a retreat or business trip or family vacation, I spend far too much time figuring out what to pack, afraid I’ll forget something vital.

Clothing is a guessing game at this time of year. Up in the mountains the weather can swing from a blissful day of sunshine, to overnight ice, to a heavy blanket of snow – all within 24 hours. So, basically, I bring everything, minus the bikini.

However, the STUFF is more complicated.

All travel is a lesson in letting go and trusting. Yet when the Piles of Endless Possibilities stare you in the face, your mind races to the What-if’s? What if I feel like drawing? What if someone invites me to cross country ski and all I brought were snowshoes? What if Just-the-Right-Book remains at home on the shelf?

But packing for every possible What-if? adds up to heavy bags, sore backs and the chaos of too much stuff.Suitcase

So how do you let go and trust that what you need will be there when you need it? Here’s a simple process that helped me let go of the worry without packing for every possible contingency.

Start by walking away from the packing frenzy and clearing your head: it’ll be easier to consider what you truly need. Sit someplace quiet with paper and pen in hand. When your heart is no longer racing, try these 3 steps:

1) Breathe deeply and bring to mind the intention of your journey. Write down 3 qualities that capture its purpose. In the case of my retreat, rest, nature and connection best captured my hopes.

2) List 5 categories of items that you’ll need. For my retreat, I’d need clothes, books, outer gear, writing supplies and snack food.

3) Now focus on one category at a time. Ask what items in this category will support each of the 3 qualities listed in Step 1. For example, what clothes will I need for resting? I’ll want clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting. What clothes will I need for time in nature? Snowshoes, sturdy boots and a day pack enable this quality. Should I pack my dress shoes? Only if connection means I’m going out to a fancy dinner.

When you follow these 3 steps, you set aside the What-ifs and focus on the I-wills; you support your travel intentions rather than encourage your packing overwhelm. And with a clear head, a lightened suitcase and your plans penned in the celestial travel notebook, your trip cannot help but be an adventure.

Don’t forget your toothbrush!







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