Saturday, August 14, 2010

Backpack Thinking - The Abilty to LET GO

Yesterday was one of those days for me. It was one of those days where I was questioning myself. I won't go into the details but let me just say that it took me hours to "let go" of the negativity of the day. Why? Why did I waste hours and let my workout suffer, my eating habits suffer and I miss out on an opportunity to connect with new people at a dinner party. Why?

These are some of the questions I was asking myself this morning. What did I come up with? It was a huge waste of time to even go back to yesterday. The day has passed? I don't need to let that "blip on my radar" of a day ever impact me again. Gone. Unclip the backpack, take the crap out that doesn't serve me and move on. Simple right - and I am supposed to know this stuff, but there I was getting bogged down in it even if it was only for a measly 5 hours still, what a waste.

Why is it that so many people out there can't seem to get this. Why do we hang on to "stuff" for so long. How can any of us attempt to "carry" around with us all the negativity, chaos, stress, joy, love, fear, dreams and pressures that faces us everyday. Why do we even attempt it? I think it is because no one has ever taught us the skill of letting go. In Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements" one of the agreements is "Don't Take Anything Personally" - "Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering". Imagine the release you would feel if you lived every action, movement and interaction under this agreement with yourself. Don't take ANYTHING personally! Think of how freeing that is. In general people DON'T go out of their way to make your life difficult. You are the only one who manages to do that. Our ego makes us more important than we really are. Do you think for a second that anyone else really wakes up with the intention of pissing you off or blocking your way to success? No one has the time for that as they barely have time to make themselves miserable let alone go out of their way to try and do it to you. When can you honestly say you woke up in the morning and dedicated your day to going out and pissing everyone off that you came into contact with. Ridiculous right! (Love that - makes me laugh out loud just writing and thinking about it).

You are the only one who can make your life easy or hard - as William Henry would say "You are the master of your fate and the Captain of your soul".

How to "Let Go"! Now that is a good question. I think the first step is putting it into a perspective that you can understand. In the "The 365 Effect" - How to change your life in only 365 days, I introduce readers to my concept of "BACKPACK THINKING". I have been aware of my backpack for 26 years. As a former wilderness guide I continually packed a variety of different backpacks for the variety of different trips that I led or adventured on. The key in packing was ensuring the proper balance of what I needed vs what I wanted in addition to the necessities that just were a requirement of the trip. I always had to ensure that I carried the First Aid Kit, the water purification system, the map, compass etc, but what I could choose, were the extra socks, the reading material, treats, ipod etc. The "Extras" were where my choice came in. In choosing the "extras" I loaded my pack up and with more load, comes more risk. You get tired quicker, the pack becomes unwieldy and harder to carry, it becomes FULL. In my experience you NEVER want to have a full pack. In addition to how heavy it is, a full pack will never allow you to put anything else in it. Those treasures you find along the way, the mementos that give you a lifetime of joy once you bring them home from the adventure and place them in spots of reverence can never happen if there is no room for them.

It sounds almost cliche now since George Clooney's writers used a form of Backpack Thinking in the movie "Up in the Air" but my question to you is "What's in your Backpack". I want you to consider 3 things before you answer:
  1. What size is it
  2. How full is it
  3. When was the last time you took it off
Going back to the start of this post I carried around my "horrible" day for at least 5 hours. I stuffed it into my backpack and wore it to the gym, wore it while I was cooking dinner and wore it while I was talking with my coworkers and family. Why the heck didn't I take it off and empty it sooner or even better why did I choose to put the "stuff" in my pack to begin with.

We all have a backpack. We all stuff things into them. Some of the stuff just like a "First Aid Kit" we need to carry around with us most of the time but the majority of "stuff" that we fill our backpacks with is by our "Choice". We need to make sure that we are choosing to put stuff in our packs that is serving us and our direction in life that we want to go.

Take a quiet moment this weekend to "Take your pack off" and go through it. Even the act of taking off your pack might allow you to walk a little taller, feel a little lighter and breath a little clearer.

As always I welcome any comments and thoughts. If you are finding "The 365" interesting pass me on a note, make a comment and pass on this blog on to others. Spread "The 365 Effect".

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