For many people, summer is a time for vacations. Since my husband likes to drive, most of our vacations have been by car since he retired. This gives us more flexibility seeing things off the beaten path and saves us the hassle of flying. In late July, however, we are going on a trip that requires airline travel. This means we will need to check in with the airline about the new regulations regarding our baggage. The cost of each suitcase and number we can take seems to vary with the airlines. It pays in more than one way to travel light!

This can also be an advantageous tip when it comes to thinking about how we deal with our daily living. Too many of us go around carrying another type of baggage. Take a piece of plain paper and draw the outline of a large suitcase. Too often we continue to carry the pain of something that happened in our past and it stays with us in the present. More often than not, this pain can be the cause of other kinds of problems. Our relationships with others are usually affected by our past experiences with people and how we feel we’ve been treated. The size of the hurt does not matter. What does matter is that you were hurt and felt the pain in some way. Take out the suitcase you have drawn and write inside it a list of all the past hurts you’ve experienced. Name the people who have caused you pain. List all of them, past and present. Think about the feelings of bitterness, abuse, deception, rejection, and hostility. Fill the suitcase with all of the pains you’ve been carrying around with you. 

Don’t forget the institutions along with the people. How we feel we’ve been treated by others in the various systems (the courts, banks, schools, churches, government, organizations) also will effect our relationships. Unfortunately, this baggage can weigh us down and result in giving us a negative view of life.  We can end up wasting too much time, money, and energy carrying this heavy suitcase around. In my next article, I will address ways to learn how to “let go” of this excess baggage in order to live a more productive life.

By the way, maybe it might be interesting to think about who are the people in your life who would want to put you inside their suitcase.

P.S. Most of the retreats that I have been facilitating lately have been for a particular group. I am now in the process of lining up my retreats for the coming months. I have also received requests from a few who would like to attend one but haven’t had one close to them. I’m planning on holding one here in Winterset close to my home.  If you are interested in attending a retreat, please send me your name, address, phone and send to me ( Please put RETREAT in the subject line.