I’ve been packing a lot lately.

Suitcases for work trips.

Garment bags carefully zipped over formal wear.

My a p a r t m e n t.

As it is with life, it doesn’t slow down when you “need” it to. And I’m packing for GOOD reasons, reasons for which I’ve worked and dreamed and pined. And because I’ve put so much effort into these goals and projects, I’ve become intimately acquainted with every tiny detail associated with them. Which is how it should be.

So what do I do when we realize there’s a problem that effects our carefully-planned move-in date? Or performances get reorganized, or my suitcase loses a wheel in the airport?

You’ve heard the old tongue-in-cheek expression, “My greatest flaw is that I care too much.”

And guys, if there’s one theme in my life, it is the act of trying to undo that mindset in my zealous little heart. Every detail or thought or emotion is a rock that I pick up and pack in my backpack because “it’s important” and I don’t want to leave it out. And before I know it, I’ve unwittingly saddled myself with 70 lbs. of information, necessary mixed in with meaningless, and my back starts to hurt.

At this point, I’m forced to put my backpack down, open it up and examine the contents. As I sit down in the middle of my little path, I hold each rock and have to ask myself why I picked it up. Is it going to help me build something down the line? Or is it completely the wrong shape and weight for my needs? If the latter, I go back to where I found it and replace it to its home.

My emotional backpack doesn’t have enough room for me to carry every feeling that’s associated with my current life events. And even though I desire to “be present with myself,” I have to remember that there’s a difference between that and A B S O R B I N G every little detail or mood. Some just need to stay where they are, and nobody has to hold them or own them. Not me, not anybody else. These little stones just need to stay in their original environment while I continue down my road, because if I pick them up they’ll simply weigh me down.

So every few days, every few steps, I take inventory. I carry Disappointment for awhile, then set it down, but keep Achievement and Wisdom. I hold onto Weariness for an hour, then set it down, but keep Determination and Perspective. I clutch the sharp word spoken to me, then chuck it back into the dense underbrush, holding onto Forgiveness. If it doesn’t serve the big picture, it doesn’t get to come along.

Intentionality is a funny thing. You need to know you’re practicing it for it to work. It’s unnatural. But it is a sharp tool in our belts that we all can utilize. And it doesn’t have to be a big kumbaya moment. It can look like little check-ins and quiet moments with your heart, a quick drop of the unnecessary and a squeeze of the vital. I invite you into that space today, as you need. If you find yourself wanting a fellow geologist, drop me a line. We can all use an unbiased eye every now and then.

You are loved, strong and worthy. Always.

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