The hardest part about seeing the baggage is opening it up to see what's inside after all those years!

The hardest part about seeing the baggage is opening it up to see what’s inside after all those years!

Whose Weight are you Really Carrying?

“Why are you carrying the full burden of that mistake in judgement?” was the question that popped up in one of my short lived moments of meditation. I had been developing a practice of quiet contemplation and with every moment of clear space between the ears thoughts would move in and out light popcorn in a pan of hot oil. On this particular morning, I decided to face and figure out what lay beneath the story.

It was a minor one happening early in my career. I was told about someone in the industry applying for a job in our company.  At a local trade show, I mentioned it in passing to one of the employees of this person’s company working at the booth. He happened to be dating my boss, and he told her, and she then called me on it.  It was a kind and gentle sort of confrontation, but it left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed and apologetic at the time.  All I could do was admit the truth, apologize and move forward.  I moved on, received promotions, and continued to grow in my career wiser and more astute. But this story frequently came back to the forefront of my mind and it still stirred up the same emotions. I thought it was a reminder to be cautious, watch what you say, and so much more. I felt I had learned the lesson, so why was it continuing to pop up? There must be more to learn.

Taking a cue from Louise Hay’s book, “How to Heal Your Life”,  I sat with that story.  And said to myself:

1) what is it that I still need to learn from this story? And 2) I told myself out loud I am willing to change.

What unfolded was an understanding of what had really happened. My boss had confided in me with something that she should not have offered. As a senior vice president in the organization, that information should have been confidential and never shared with a young person who was learning how to lead, learning protocols and the value as well as the trouble office gossip can cause. I wasn’t the only person in this sinking boat. If word got out, she would be at fault too. Human Resources would have had a heyday. And additionally, not only had she told me, but her boyfriend as well, one of this applicant’s employees. Yes, I had made a mistake, and learned a valuable lesson, but I no longer needed to carry all this baggage to learn the lesson.

Ah ha! And, then I got it as the story took me deeper. I was taking on more responsibility for the problem then was necessary. I was carrying not only the baggage of my error in judgement, but hers as well. And that was not only a lot of heavy lifting and carrying, but it wasn’t all of mine to carry. I could not let go of this story because the lesson I needed to learn was so prevalent in my life that the baggage kept getting heavier, the suitcases bigger and full of another person’s clothes.

When you look at the story on the surface it seems pretty simple. But think about a story that may have had similar ramifications in my past as a young girl. This one story simply connected the dots to numerous times when I was too young to know better, or shoulder that responsibility, and rather than see that for what it was, I would take it all on as my fault. I had messed up, I had let someone down. Picking up the baggage was my mechanism for dealing with shame and it was no longer working for me.

I had two choices…Keep picking up and holding on to the bags, or forgive the past and move forward, and recognize I am not that girl anymore.

I am not the girl I was a minute ago, for in writing this I have learned so much more.

The moment I heard “Why did I take on her lesson; her baggage, in addition to my own?” I decided to drop that suitcase on the curb. Visually, I saw myself opening my hand and releasing that big bright blue vintage suitcase. And as I did, story upon story began floating through my head of times when I was carrying the weight of baggage that didn’t belong to me.  I began lining those suitcases up along the curb, one by one, big and small, in all different colors and I felt lighter, freer and ready for the next lesson.

If you don’t see the connection, let me show you what I was carrying.  My weight, the actual weight I carry right now, is all that baggage I have been carrying, and the new baggage I pick up every day along the way. As a friend, it’s the feeling of not giving enough or being as good a friend as I think I should even when the other person is no better at it than I am, as a manager its wondering what I did wrong when an employee has a bad attitude with me, even when I know I am a fair and consistent manager, as a wife its feeling guilty when I spend time out with the girls, or take a weekend trip to visit my sister, even when he enjoys the time apart too, and going over board to make something right, when there really isn’t anything that needs to be “righted”.
This is how I hold onto my weight. By being the baggage carrier of my own, and everyone’s excess baggage. I have difficulty when it comes to blame or shame. I immediately want to own it even when it’s not mine to own.

Each of us have our own reasons for not feeling “right” in our own body. The key to living a life of worth is to figure out why. If its weight, why are you holding on to it? Is it protection? Is it shame? Is it loss? If it’s an addiction, what story comes up for you again and again? If it’s self-abuse, what is your body, actions and stories telling you? When we can look at the signals which play out in the stories that keep coming up in our head, and if we sit with them for a bit, the lessons will show up. And it is in that moment that you will have a chance to choose you. You can choose to love yourself wholly and completely as you. Just you, as you are right now.

The amazing thing about choosing to life my life my way, is that it’s my way. I get to choose. I get to take these lessons and accept them as a gift of healing and growing and constantly learning about this amazing person that resides within me. You are your own gift. You are also God’s gift to the world. Why not open it and see what’s on the inside? There’s so much deliciousness waiting for you.

I would really love to hear from you. Tell me your story. I promise to honor your story as you have honored mine. Let’s do this together.

Hugs and love always.

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