I can’t live without travel. It is one of my staples—something that feeds my soul. Having always been an observer of life, I’ve found that airports are one of the best places to both “people watch” and eaves drop on the goings-on of others’ lives. Its good entertainment but also a constant education about the human condition.
Despite my insatiable curiosity about people’s lives, one of the funniest things I hear every time I go to the local airport is their overhead announcement concerning the security warnings that have evolved since the events of 911. Each airport has their own version, but I especially like Piedmont Triad International Airport’s warning about losing sight of your belongings. A now familiar female voice says, “Unattended baggage is subject to search, inspection, damage, and removal.” My therapy brain kicks in and I can’t help but chuckle—sometimes out loud.
As a psychologist, I’m entitled to make jokes about baggage—especially my own. Yep, we all have it. But as an author who writes about conscious evolution, the topic is particularly pertinent and meaningful. Evolving beyond the human condition is all about searching our souls, inspecting any damage, dismantling faulty thoughts and beliefs, then releasing the remnants of our old ways so we can go on to lead happier and healthier lives. In fact, it is the events of the human condition that provides the fodder for our growth. But if we don’t examine and “fix” the faulty parts, it just remains manure. If, however, we work to understand our world and refine our ways, we experience the relief and even exhilaration of having left our baggage behind.
I’m always amazed at how many people continue to do the same thing over and over with, of course, the same results. Einstein was smart in many ways… and his statement about this lives on. I’m also amazed at how few people actively work toward overcoming their baggage. A friend once asked me what percentage of people I thought were working toward conscious evolution. No one had ever asked me this before, but my answer was a dismal one. I said it was likely less than 5%. That number stuck with me, unfortunately, and although the consciousness movement is underway, I’m not sure how much that percentage has actually changed. Ask me in another 10 years and I may be able to answer more accurately.
The truth is, evolution is tough stuff. When I was in graduate school I was surprised at the number of fellow students who refused to seek therapy, even if to just get a feel for what it would be like from across the room. I had a problem with this because, for me, I would never ask anyone to do something I wasn’t willing to do. Plus, I figured I needed to experience what it felt like as a client to fully appreciate my role as therapist. Why were these agents of change afraid of their own baggage? Why were they afraid to grow?
While it’s not a good idea to leave yourluggage unattended in a busy airport, I do fully support getting rid of the emotional baggage. Once “dismantled and removed”, you feel lighter, clearer, less reactive, and also much, much younger. Because of the stress in my early life I often felt like I was about 30 years older than my chronological age (sad to say in my early 20’s). However, with a lot of personal examination, a fair bit of therapy, a good dose of talking with friends, several spiritual and personal development retreats and workshops, and a significant (and ongoing) investment in books and cd’s (I should own stock in Amazon.com….), I can actually say I feel younger than my chronological age. By 30 I felt like I was about 40, by 35 I felt like I was about that age, and now, at 44, I feel even younger. I’ve gathered much knowledge and wisdom over these important years, but my youth—my radiance, as I call it in Soul Health, is shining brightly. Others notice as well; many used to mistake me for someone much older. Now, I am occasionally even carded when I order a glass of wine (rare… but true). I don’t think this is a sign of me losing my maturity; instead, it is an indication of having worked through my baggage.
So, next time you are traveling and hear one of those announcements overhead warning you to stay with your baggage… think again—think differently. Evolve.