Strip it down

Kata Tjuta – Olgas, NT.

I have just spent a few days in the outback. It was fairly impromptu. Although I took great care in packing all the things I thought I would need, it turned out I needed much less. The days we walked out into the bush carrying only water and a camera were the most free I had felt in a long time.

Standing in such a great expanse of land and sky cleared my mind. I realised how we crowd our lives full of stuff we don’t really need.  All I needed were shoes, T-shirt, trousers, a jacket and an open mind. I laughed a lot. We blamed it on the altitude, the vortex or the spirit of the place. But it was more of a lightness of being, nothing to think about and stripping life down to the bare bones. All we needed were food, cameras and sunscreen. Oh and WIFI so we could broadcast to the world what a great time we were having.

When I returned home, I looked at my house and all of the possessions we have accumulated and dragged around with every house move. I then started to think about all the things I felt I needed to do and the madness crowded back in. I had to:

  • Unpack bag
  • Wash clothes
  • Hose the red earth from my shoes
  • Clean and tidy the house
  • Set up for a new client
  • Buy groceries
  • Manage children

I can see why a simple life is appealing. A small dwelling, a humpy, a fire, bush food. No groceries or house cleaning, no clothes, no shoes. While I know this is never going to be a reality for me,  I can understand how mentally freeing it is. How the mind has other places to go rather than worry. Joy for example, insane fits of giggling, peacefulness, serenity.

Meditation for me, has been a helpful way to clear my mind of clutter of an evening. I can then fall asleep without the whirings of my mind. I’ve now realised I also have to dump some of the other worries and irritation and guilt and stress and baggage I carry around with me on a daily basis. Clutter is not only external. I feel like I am approaching the middle of my life, checking in my luggage and being told my bags are oversize. I have an excess of emotional baggage I no longer need to carry around with me.

I am no longer going to worry about:

  • What my partner, children, friends or family are stressing about. They have to carry their own luggage.
  • Ancient history, childhood beliefs, negative feelings or attitudes or blame or thinking I am not enough. I am an adult. I am responsible and accept myself for who I am, and how those experiences have shaped me. I have enough to carry without all that old stuff.
  • Other people’s issues, dramas, problems, – I will empathise and listen but I cannot carry these for you, they don’t belong to me. Only you can fix you.
  • Past disappointments – these have passed. I free myself from feeling blame, or guilt or sadness for these. I have grown and changed and no longer need to hold on to these old feelings.
  • Work – somehow this always manages to sort itself out and my worrying or stressing or carrying the burden and weight of these problems do not help the outcome.
  • World problems – poverty, terrorism, politics, war, economics, illness, death – this is all out of my control and too much for one person to carry.

I surrender. I unpack my excess baggage and I will no longer be lugging all of this additional weight. I don’t need it anymore. I have stripped it down. There is nothing more to do now – but fly.



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