Lighten Up!

strong-mover-201x300I hate clutter, but sometimes, behind closed doors, it can sneak up on you. Out of sight doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The lengthy bouts of inclement weather we have endured this spring have also made for unintended, positive consequences. Forced time indoors and the ensuing purges from closets, basement and attic are not only freeing but a trip down memory lane as well. Read on for my quick impressions and whether any resonate for you.
• Clearing out
• Five trash bags worth of clothing
• Weight lifted
• Holding on to the dream/image/notion of a secret/glamorous life waiting beyond
• The never worn striped sweater a la Audrey Hepburn on a Mediterranean yacht
• Sky high purple heels for the red carpet
• The chandelier earrings for the paparazzi
• More mundane; the comfortable look that feels more like a Halloween costume
• When do we really get our fashion sense and what is it a reflection of? Frozen in time.
• False eyelashes
• Gold headbands
• Outerwear for the après ski moments in the chalet perched on a mountain top overlooking a quaint Alpine village where the locals are sipping hot toddies.
• What about cooking utensils, dishes, glasses, and more?
• All to be used when entertaining, baking bread or making pasta from scratch. Seriously???

And suitcases…too many to count, multiplying in the attic like a science fiction movie. Where did 20+ suitcases come from? Admittedly we travel a lot and have done so for many years. Also, the size restrictions have made it almost an impossibility to keep up with changing regulations for check in and carry on. Too big, too small – feels like Goldilocks, tortured to find the perfect piece…for now. Is it identifiable?

• Who else would have a red suitcase with a day-glow green tag?
• What are we ignoring?
• Holding onto?
• Prepared for anything? What emergency?
• Too many novel story lines. The glamour of sashaying through an airport looking ever so put together, lightly pulling the perfectly sized piece is an image for the big screen.
• Reality. More like dragging, pulling, and negotiating the byzantine JFK check-in procedures/process. This is not 1960!
And airports…Imagining the places you could be and the experiences you could have.
People leaving + returning = adventure.

Readying the bags for donations or trash day. Someone out there will love and feeling lighter already!


Whose Suitcase Is It Really?

rcnKok6KiA woman is standing on a riverbank holding a large stone in her hands. She is observed stepping confidently into the water as a small crowd begins to gather. They watch as the water reaches her chest and she begins to swim towards the opposite shore. Soon enough her struggle becomes apparent. She takes several strokes and sinks below. As she surfaces, the crowd yells, “Drop the rock, drop the rock,” yet she continues, making little progress. Again the crowd implores her to drop the rock. She ignores their shouts and as she reaches the middle of the river, it is obvious she will drown if she does not release her stranglehold on the stone. “Drop the rock,” they yell and as she goes under for the last time, her final words echo in the air, “I can’t. It’s mine!”

A shocking scenario, perhaps, but what relevance does it have for you? What is it about the life and career challenges women face that make us carry everyone else’s “stuff” when our own is more than enough? How many times have you picked up the suitcase that does not belong to you and made it part of your own unmatched set? When have you become the caretaker of that cute little valise, even temporarily, when you know full well it is NOT yours?

Now let’s fully focus on you. Will your suitcase fit in the overhead compartment or is it so heavy and unwieldy that it must be shipped as excess cargo? Are the zippers bulging or can you wheel it along with one finger? How lightly do you prefer to travel?

Start unpacking immediately. The load is not getting any lighter sitting there. Your challenge is to remove something from that suitcase each day until you can make it through airport security stress free and with the knowledge that when you pack for yourself, you are also sending the message that everyone else can too.

Here are two simple strategies to support your new outlook:
1. Always check the luggage tags to be certain that suitcase belongs to YOU
2. Take swimming lessons!

©2016 Maureen Weisner

Tourist or Pilgrim?

imagesCA39K9COFrom early on, travel has always been a priority; as a student backpacking through Europe and now, where sleeping in a youth hostel is happily a distant memory. There is no single formula for a uniquely memorable experience, as each trip has been terrific in the moment, save for a few questionable decisions or a bad piece of fish. Looking at photos and some special pieces we’ve brought home, or wearing a piece of jewelry, all contribute to a brief return to far flung locales in my mind’s eye. So, I was a stopped in my tracks when I read the following quote from, “Meeting the Buddha” by Andrew Schnelling.

“Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions, (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two), and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home.
The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. Pilgrimage is a passage for the reckless
and subtle. The pilgrim—and the metaphor comes to us from distant times—must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat.”

Which one is your travel persona? I’ve been both a tourist and a pilgrim of sorts. I hadn’t considered the description of a traveler to be one or the other and especially not with one sounding so profoundly superficial and judgmental. While shopping or hunting for souvenirs are not primary when traveling, neither has the search for transformation been a singular goal. “Wondrous tales” are exactly that and can be called up at a moment’s notice to relive a time long past with others and yes, a string of adventures too. Let’s not demean the fun and pleasure we glean from travel. Perhaps an unplanned metamorphosis or transformative event will happen much closer to home.

• What is your travel “type”?
• Are you more apt to acquire or experience?
• What’s the balance for you?

©2014 MWeisner