Last night I dreamt I was on vacation somewhere in a huge and very confusing hotel. There were lots of floors and hallways that merged off of other hallways. I was in my room trying to pack. My daughter's suitcase had fallen apart and I was trying to stuff all of my stuff and hers into my suitcase. I knew it was futile before I started. I had long since given up folding; I was stuffing, cramming, shoving. Time was of the essence. I had to have everything ready to go in fifteen minutes. I wasn't dressed yet. I had decided to dye my hair red like Sam's but with temporary color and it was raining outside. I knew the dye was going to be a dripping mess and I couldn't find a black shirt to wear to hide the inevitable stains. I woke up thinking this was merely an odd dream and I put it aside.
I went downstairs, made a cup of coffee and was going to sit down and write my yoga theme for this morning, which had nothing to do with dreams or suitcases, when I decided to look at my emails first. One of the first to catch my eye was a Yoga Journal email with the subject line: Skip the Baggage Claim. Seriously?! Coincidence? I think not! I eagerly read the article looking for the message I was meant to see. To be honest, the only lines that stood out to me were the following:
"The Indian holy man Sathya Sai Baba often tells his students, "Travel light. Arrive quickly." This applies to both spiritual and physical journeying. Pack only what you'll need."
In my dream, if I had packed only the things I really needed, re-packing would not have been such a struggle. Often we pack as much as we can trying to cover the bases of those obscure things we may need while away yet usually never do. This is clearly a lesson based on Patanjali's yamas and niyamas. Greed and attachment can be tough lessons to learn. I am a recycler at heart. I love garage sales and consignment stores. I remember once taking someone who was very down on their luck to Goodwill. They had no money and needed some clothes in hopes of finding a job. When I have the time, I love going through all the stuff at Goodwill; it's really just a massive garage sale. But what I will never forget is this person's expression. I practically pulled her in the store and she just stood there, horrified. She refused to move or to look at the $5 jeans that people drop off barely worn. I walked out with her trailing behind me. Greed and ego are tough pills to swallow. She travels light now. She has no choice. She lives in a shelter. I have other friends, as well, who won't set foot in a "used clothing" store. Funny how that seems "gross" but eating and drinking out of other people's dishes everyday at restaurants does not. But I have digressed... we all hang onto different things.
Traveling light spiritually and emotionally has to do with leaving your baggage behind; refusing once and for all to lug those memories, those hurts, those "failures" around behind you. Remember the hair dye stains I alluded to in recounting my dream? Our emotional hurts are like these stains. They somehow leave their mark. But that doesn't mean I have to hang onto the shirt that is covered in dye. I can choose to throw it out. I can choose to let it go. I can choose a different shirt in my closet. Dismiss the suitcase altogether and simply grab your purse or wallet and head out the door!
Doesn't it always feel good to clear out stuff, to re-sell it or donate it? You feel like you have re-found space. It is the same mentally. When you let go of what you do not need, you create more space inside for good energy to fill up. It is that simple.
“No one can liberate you, for no one has bound you; you hold on to the nettle of worldly pleasures and you weep for pain. The kite is pursued by the crows so long as it carries the fish in its beak, it twists and turns in the sky trying to last and it drops the fish. That moment it is free. So give up the attachment to the senses; then grief and worry can harass you no more.” - Sathya Sai Baba