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Bulk Baggage

May 20, 2016

Countdown to my flight has reached to T-18 hours. I am yet to pack and as it is, I don’t even know what I will be packing for this trip because guess what, am on my way from another trip and I’m yet to get home. This can only mean one thing: another short night for me. Why is it that the night before I travel I always find myself sleeping late? What really happens to time?

Anyway, finally I get home close to 10pm and after sorting out everything that needs to be sorted out at home, I’m off to unpacking my old bag and packing another bag for this new trip. By now it’s T-10 hours. As I am packing, I realize I forgot to find out how the weather at my final destination is and since am running out of time and exhaustion is catching up with me, I decide to pack extra cloths to cater for whatever nature decides to throw my way. At least one thing I am certain is that there will be no snow. Exhausted to my toe-nails, I finally go to bed at T-8 hours. 

Thanks to the alarms I had set on 3 different devices (I couldn’t risk missing my flight), I make it to the airport right on time and without any hassle. Infact I am so on time that I am among the first ten people to check in my luggage. Owing to the fact that I didn’t do my due diligence before the trip, my luggage exceeds the standard weight and so I am supposed to pay for the extra kgs. Fortunately, the lady behind the counter decides to waive off the charges. Just like that. Talk about favor!

Finally we board and lift off. Three movies and close to six hours later, we land and off I step out right into temperatures of close to 40 degrees centigrade. What?!!? Right there I realize that half the stuff I packed (and almost paid for) would be useless to me in this land. This is extra baggage that I could have done without! Unfortunately I have to drag it everywhere I go because I carried it. Worse still, I realize that it might eat up into space I could have used to buy new stuff (mementos) for my family. This time round, I am sure I will have to pay for the extra weight. I know I will not be lucky twice. By the way, all these thoughts are going through my mind as I am waiting in line with thousands of others to go through the immigration process. As I look around me all I seem to see is all the baggage/luggage all the other passengers are carrying through the airport.

And right there I realize that this sight right before my eyes represents how our lives are.

Many of us go through life carrying so much (unnecessary) baggage. Like me on this particular trip, some of you have stuff in your suitcases (hearts) that you could have done without because they only add weight to the suitcase for nothing.

You could be carrying some emotional baggage with you everywhere you go. Maybe someone broke your heart years ago but you seem not to be able to forget that and so you keep carrying that in your heart everywhere you go.  Maybe someone said words to you that left you broken and to date you carry those words with you, letting them define who you have become today. Maybe you suffered abuse at the hands of someone you trusted as a young child, and up until now you have not been able to let go of those feelings of violation and betrayal from your heart and life.  Maybe you suffered rejection of one kind or another e.g. a parent rejecting you because you look or behave different from the other kids; or a boss subjecting you to rejection and causing you lots of insecurities around the workplace, etc. 

All these form part of emotional baggage that will definitely wear you down if you continue carrying it. The more you keep harboring it in your heart, the heavier it becomes for you and eventually, you will have to pay for it. Unfortunately the currency you will use to pay for that baggage will not be dollars or shillings, or any currency used by any country in the world. The currency you will use in this case is your own life.

Some of you may fall into depression, some of you may get ulcer attacks, some of you get high blood pressure and other heart related diseases, some of you live with bitterness and permanent anger, which steals your joy and your peace. Some of you will live in fear of trying out new things in life for fear of failure and/or rejection. The above, my friends, is the most likely currency you will use to pay for carrying all that emotional baggage in your life.

I like what Debasish Mridha says regarding carrying baggage through life. To quote him, “Life is easier when you don’t carry baggage from the past”. He also says, “Be simple, don’t carry baggage from your past. Open your hands and let it go”. And I add to that and say this, “open your heart and empty all that emotional baggage you’ve been harboring inside of you. Be a light traveller”.

One thing I have never understood is why we hold onto stuff that is hurting us, yet we are afraid of letting it go. Isn’t it crazy? For instance, you are in an abusive relationship, one that isn’t healthy for your emotional or even your physical state, but you are still there. You know the solution to that but you are still there. Or it could be that you are in a job that is causing you stress and heartache 28 hours (yes I said 28 hours) a day but you can’t seem to make the decision to quit for the sake of your mental, emotional and physical health. Why?  It’s called fear. Fear of taking that leap of faith and stepping out of your (un)comfortable zone.

Friends I know it is not always easy.  You know why? Because for you to let go of emotional baggage, you first have to admit that you have been harboring it, then be ready and willing to let it go. Letting it go means one thing; you have to forgive the people who hurt you. That right there is the challenge. Forgiving someone who hurt you, bruised you physically, mentally and emotionally, someone who caused you to alter your perception of who you are. It is not easy. However to heal from all these things that have been pulling you down, forgiveness is the starting point.

I have been there, suffered the consequences of not forgiving and I am now standing on this side of the divide telling you I understand what you are going through, and the only way to free yourself, the only way to travel light is by forgiving all those who hurt you in the past. Friends, if you want to have a meaningful future, if you want to travel light through this journey of life, you have to forgive those who have hurt you in the past.  I love what Mahatma Gandhi said; “the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Why? Because the strong have realized that in forgiving those who have wronged them, they set themselves free from any grudges and bitterness that would have weighed them down as they go through life.

Today I want to challenge you. Take time to go through your suitcase (heart) and identify whether there is any stuff you have packed in there that is weighing you down. Take all the time you need, but with a pen and paper in your hand, write all the things that have been hurting you inside and once you have them all listed down, open your mouth and audibly confess that from today, you will no longer let them hold you back and you have forgiven all those who hurt you. Then take that paper and burn it until it is nothing but ashes. Then step out into your new beginning.

As you consider the assignment I have given you above, please remember this:

Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness does not mean that what happened was ok, and it does not necessarily mean that the person is still welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain and you are ready to let go it go. It means you no longer feel like stubbing the person who hurt you when you see him. It means that you are strong enough to help that person the next time you see them in trouble.

Lastly let me say this, I know there are some people in your life who you probably think don’t need to be forgiven, but you know something, you are forgiving them not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because you deserve to live in peace. Forgiveness is the key to your freedom.

Forgive, forget and be free.

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