Blog 1626 – 03.03.2020
We All Have Carried Too Much Baggage At Times
We are none of us always easy to love or to get along with. Many of us guys prefer easy girls only to find after we get them that they are usually carrying way more baggage than those “good girls” who say no, wait till we get to know one another other better. The same is true of guys often in a hurry to show off our love making prowess hoping it will mask how lacking we are in so many other areas of life, our hands too full of baggage to get a grasp on the finer details of maintaining healthy relationships.
Not only do most of us not want to let go of all the baggage we have collected, we do not even want to unpack it and take a good look at it, for if we did we would realize how silly we have been dragging it along, always heavy, of little use, and in our way. Seasoned wise travelers always advise us to pack light but so seldom most of us do in fact the reason most prefer not to travel at all is that a lifetime of baggage has become too burdensome.
The baggage metaphor itself is also becoming burdensome so therefore I will speak plainly without it. Often what holds us back and down is that which we have a death grip on. In one of my favorite movies, and I have many, The Razor’s Edge, both the one with Tyrone Power and the later Bill Murray one, a man who has learned the art of letting go meets an old friend in Paris after the 1929 Stockmarket Crash. His friend, who has lost all his family’s fortune, is suffering from debilitating headaches that prevent him from working and even from leaving the house. Larry, who himself had little to loose in the crash wants to help his friend. So first to get him to trust him, he puts a large old souvenir Indian coin in his hand and tells him to squeeze it and hold it out palm down. Then he says he is going to count to ten and before he reaches ten the coin will drop from his friend’s hand. Almost miraculously it does. Then he puts the coin back in his hand and asks him to squeeze it holding it out in his hand in the same way. This time he says close your eyes and listen to the sound of my voice. I am going to count to ten and before I reach ten you are going to fall into a deep sleep for one minute and then awaken refreshed and your head ache will be gone. And he did and it was. The friend was on the mend, so much so that he went out to dinner for the first time in quite some time.
The above little exercise was no parlor trick but a real life example not only of how holding on to things can paralyze us but also of how freeing our minds can help us to let go and be healthier and happier.
I have told the story of a lesson that I learn early in life but have had to re-learn over and over again many times since. At sixteen I was a grocery store sack boy, after school specifically on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The store I worked at was quite busy on those nights so eight or ten of us young guys were kept busying sacking customers groceries and pushing the cart with their bagged groceries out to their cars and lifting them into the car for them. In addition to our minimum wage pay from the store, about a buck twenty-nine a hour back then, some of the customers tipped, usually a dime, rare ones as much as a quarter. Since the customers came back again and again, we all have to eat, us guys soon learned who tipped and who did not. Though we were told by the owners of the grocery store, who trained us, to always service the next customer in line, I noticed most of the guys, most of the time, except me, stayed back a bit, picking and choosing only the tipping customers to sack for. In addition to us boys there was a retired older man who worked the early part of those evenings sacking groceries with us. There was a water fountain and a restroom for employees behind a door at the back of the produce department and one early evening, already quite frustrated with my work mates for letting me sack most of the non-tipping orders, I was headed back to get a quick drink of water and passed the old gentleman in the door. One look at the anger on my face and he shared a pearl of wisdom. He said, “Son, when the load gets to heavy, just put it down.” I have had to remind myself often of the truth of those words.
No one but ourselves makes us carry all this unnecessary baggage. And we can allow ourselves to put it down anytime we like. My advice, now that I am an older gentleman too, is: “Just let it go.” You will feel like someone who has worn heavy roller shakes or ice skates for a while and having taken them off feels their feet light as feathers almost floating when they walk.
A bit wordier today, but no extra charge. Want to flow through life? Leave all that baggage behind, enjoy the journey.
Your friend and fellow traveler,