Is life one long journey or a series of many journeys?
Is a journey a going to someplace or a leaving where you were?
When embarking on a journey do we carefully pick and choose the baggage to take along, or haphazardly bring extra “baggage” out of indecision and lack of clarity for what to carry into the next stage of our journey? When physically traveling somewhere, extra baggage can be an inconvenience and perhaps an additional expense. In personal growth, “extra baggage” can weigh us down more than we realize, stunting our growth as we carry the regrets, fears and emotions tying us to the difficult challenges in our past.
I recently read a commentary (from the book HaYom Yom, compiled by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson) that explained the significance of the description of the Jewish People’s
journey journeys from slavery in Egypt to the promised land 40 years later. The wording was “goings forth” – “exoduses.” Plural. They did not just leave the slavery of their past the first time the crossed over the threshold of Egypt’s border; they left it at each stage of their journey – all 42 of them.
In a similar way, we “need to break free from bondage of our own personal Egypt – from the shackles of [our] own unwanted habits and mental blocks, [our] psychological hang-ups…” (from Tackling Life’s Tasks Every Day Energized with HaYom Yom, excerpt for 23 Tammuz).
Reading this statement was so liberating to me. It helped put into perspective the challenges I was facing in personal relationships and in professional growth. Updating a basic 2 page resume to seek an OT position was no problem – just a brief list and description of the series of the experiences I have had over the past 25 years. Adding additional information to a longer resume about my accomplishments at each stage made me aware of how much I really have done outside of taking care of my family. But, filling out a job application requiring a description of “Reason for Leaving” each job made me uneasy. Why? And why was I so apprehensive about this current transition in my life? What was holding me back?
To journey forward, we must first “exodus” – leave where we were. Even though I want to go to a new “place” in life, my reluctance to leave “where I am” is what was enslaving myself. This realization was liberating. Even more so, now that I know I am “leaving,” I am better able to think about what “baggage” I am carrying with me – to choose to focus on my new awareness of my accomplishments and capabilities and to discard what I do not want to take with me on this next stage of my journey(s).
To achieve improved relationships, we need to let go of the emotions that were binding us to the past difficult experiences and instead carry with us the vision of where we want ourselves and relationships to be on the new journey to get “there”. By doing so, we can travel lighter and happier.
Enjoy your journeys and may all the “baggage” you choose to bring with you enhance your joy and successes!