What’s In Your Backpack?

_These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb_Najwa Zebian

Sometimes you don’t realize the weight of a burden you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.

 – Unknown

Have you ever had several inches of your hair cut off?  For many years I would grow my hair long enough to cut and donate to “Locks of Love”.  When they would cut off that much hair, my head would feel so light, like it was floating.  It only lasted for a day or two and then the new normal would kick in.  The weightlessness feeling would disappear. 

Have you ever felt that same way when you left a bad employer?  Ended a bad relationship?  Walked away from something that was consuming your life in a bad way, like an addiction?  Did you feel free?  Like a heavy weight had been lifted?

A smile can hide so any feelings; fear, sadness, heartbreak . .  but it also shows one other thing:  strength.

 – qutoesforbros.com

We all of us sometimes smile, and pretend our world is perfect.  When really deep inside, our world is being carried on our backs, and we can see it tipping us over.  We can see that we are about to lose it all.  We can see it, slipping off our shoulders.  It’s like the weight is crushing us to the ground.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we take on too much?  We don’t ask for help.  We don’t want to fail.  We don’t want to be seen as needy.  We tell ourselves we must be perfect 24/7. 

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. 

 – Bernice Johnson Reagan

Maybe what the life challenge is all about, is to teach us that this idea of perfection or not needing any help, will never work long term.  It might get you through a challenge or two.  But eventually it will become too heavy, and we will fall down.  We need to learn to receive as well as give.  We need to learn how to unpack our bags.  To let go of the things that no longer serve us.  We need to look at each item in the bag.  Are these socks really ours or do they belong to someone else?  What about that ugly top that we hide in the closet, who does that belong to?

We all have baggage, find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.

  – Unknown

I think of the example of going grocery shopping with either a hungry spouse or your children.  You are walking down the aisle and getting the items on your list.  When you are not looking, they sneak things into the cart.  They hide it underneath something already in the cart, so you can’t say no. Then when you get to the check out line, you discover five things in your cart that you didn’t put into it.  We are like this in our personal lives.  We not only cart around other peoples items in our bags, we pay for them too.  That is the best reason to have someone help you unpack.  They can help you figure out who those socks and ugly tops actually belong to. They can help you release them back to their true owners.

Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.

  – Tea Bag Quote

We do this unconsciously for the most part.  Part of it comes from the initial wounding experience that you had as a young child, sometime before the age of 8.  For some reason so many people I know, including myself, it is age 4.  You experienced a childhood trauma, which impacted how you view the world.  What also happens is that you take on some of the problems as your own, that came from the other person involved in your wounding. 

If you want to fly, you’ve got to give up the things that weighs you down.

 – Savannah Smith

For example, in my own case, I walked in on my mom having an affair.  As an adult I had a problem with trust.  It wasn’t that I didn’t trust others so much as I didn’t trust myself.  This caused me to attract untrustworthy people into my life.  I finally through years of transformational work discovered that this issue wasn’t about me at all. It was about my mother.  When I released this baggage everything in my life shifted, because I finally knew that I could trust myself.  I was carrying around a mountain that didn’t even belong to me.

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light.  Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.

  – Glenn Clark

We all do this.  When you go camping, they tell you to put your food up in the air between trees so that wild animals can’t get to it.  In our backpacks, we have these items that attract the “wild animals”.  We attract these experiences into our lives over and over again.  We have a pattern of the kind of friends we attract; the kinds of significant others; the kinds of jobs; etc……  Why does the same thing keep happening to us? 

Keeping baggage from the past will leave no room for happiness in the future.

  – Wayne L Misner

We are attracting it into our life, it is our “wild animal”.  What the transformation process does, is it helps us to unpack our backpack.  To see what is really inside.  What are we carrying that no longer serves us?  What are we carrying that belongs to someone else?  What grudges, slights, hurts, and painful mountain heavy experiences are we carrying in our backpack?

It’s not the heavy load that breaks you, it’s the way you carry it.

 – Lena Horne

We are only meant to carry the load for a short time.  The time of the experience happening.  Not months and years later.  The weight of the past must be released.  You are meant to find the gold, and let go of the rest of the boulder.  Refocus on where you are headed.

Even the boulder that you are currently carrying, that you are trying to find the gold in.  The weight of that boulder can be lessened if you confine it to the lesson itself.  Sometimes we take the lesson to mean that we can’t do anything right.  That our whole life has been one failure after another.  That we are doomed.  That our existence itself is a burden.  None of those things are ever true.  It is our mind pressing down from the weight of every single burden we have ever carried, into one gigantic mountain.

When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me.

 – Healrhyplace.com

You need to give yourself the gift of forgiveness.  The gift of compassion.  The gift of redemption.  The gift of letting go.  Get a piece of paper and start unpacking your backpack.  Write down every untold story that you have inside of your heart.  For years I blamed myself for my parents divorce.  If only I hadn’t opened her bedroom door, I wouldn’t have uncovered her dark secrets, and my parents would still be married.  But the truth is that had nothing to do with me, and was the result of their bad decisions and choices over which I had no power.  We all have these stories inside of us that must be released.  That must be unpacked and let go of.

So stop carrying the mountain.  Unpack your backpack.  Release the weight of the past. 

Always pray to have eyes that see the best, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith.  

– Unknown 

Give yourself the gift of seeing the best things in your backpack.  Of forgiving the worst things that you blame yourself for.  Of forgiving the bad things that happened to you, so that you don’t carry the weight of other peoples sins inside of you.  And never lose faith that everything in your life can serve you, if you give yourself the gift of love and forgiveness.

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Sheryl Silbaugh

I am married with 4 grown children who are all married and currently have 14 grandchildren and two great granddaughters. I work fulltime as a Director at Bank of America and I am the founder of LemonadeMakers.org, which is a website and Facebook page dedicated to personal transformation and growth. We all have life's lemons show up in our life, this website helps us to make them into lemonade.