On a train to Italy, my immediate responsibilities go no further than the backpack resting beneath me on the speckled gray floor. It holds most everything that allows me to sustain my life right now. Each item is worth its weight; if I didn’t need it, I wouldn’t carry it.
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We call them necessities—those pieces of our lives that cannot be excluded. The concept seems simple: take with you what you need, and leave behind what you don’t. Yet we find it challenging to omit the excess, choosing instead to forcefully add more things to our baggage, more weight on our shoulders.
For me now, being responsible for only myself and my essentials makes space for movement and peace of mind. However, these transient times are often not sustainable, and we find good reason, and true necessity, to eventually take our packs off and let our spirit rest in a place we call home.
Whether moving between places or settling in somewhere, we can be more conscious about lightening our loads. Less physical and emotional excess in our lives can leave room for cathartic experiences of inspiration, creativity and change.
Think of the lightness you feel when you are away somewhere, when the physical items you bring are the only ones you have to worry about. You quickly realize the simplicity that can come from having only what you need. This “pack lightly” approach is essential for not only for convenience, but also for peace of mind.
Even as the lightness and freedom of traveling is often revered by many, it is often more of a challenge to maintain the same state when we are off the road and settled into a place. Yet, it’s easy to see why. We define ourselves through people, places and things. When most of those things are gone, temporarily or forever, what are we left with to give us a sense of self?
The affirmations and transformations that come from visiting new places and experiencing new things are often made because we step outside of what we know. When excess layers are stripped, more truth about ourselves is revealed. But the more we stay only within range of comfort and beneath piles of materials, the more we shield ourselves and others from the essence of our souls.
To access this simplicity, think about moving past the clutter in your life. Find the clean spaces that will allow you to thrive when the excess is removed. In this process, you will need to work to embrace the art of letting go. Identify the pieces of your life that are weighing you down or holding you back; release yourself from the grip of their excess. The more space you create in your life, the more room there is for new knowledge, acquaintance and experience.
Certain pieces of life will inevitably rush past, like the blur of life and landscape that is a part of my current time on the road. Watch the world, move through it, but do not hold on too tightly. Find a vision—even if it’s a soft gaze that can look from the windows of a rail car—and let it show you how to carry on and make progress. Find a new adventure every day, an unexplored horizon.