Lightening the Load

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Raechel here, with thoughts-in-progress.

I saw Up in Air this week, on a lark with my friend Rebecca. Startlingly accurate in its portrayal of business travel. Soul-less, creepy. An odd tale, because there was no resolution. George Clooney’s character seemed to be on the brink of change, and then wound up exactly where he started. Grim. In the movie he gave speeches about lightening your load, using the roller bag as his metaphor. He recommended throwing out all of your stuff, and the people in your life, the ones who pull you down, so you can travel light. Even photographs — “they’re for people who can’t remember.” Eliade’s No Souvenirs life. Grimmer. A kind of simplification that’s peculiar to our times.

Remember John Denver’s song, Spanish Pipedream? “Blow up your tv, throw away the paper, move to the country, build you a home. Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try and find Jesus on your own.” That’s 70s simplification. Sol Gordon, family therapist, said “Why travel heavy when you can travel light?” And then there’s Baba Ram Dass (AKA Richard Alpert) who said, “you can do it like it’s a big weight on you, or you can do it like it’s part of the dance.”

And here we are, in 2010, and Be Here Now simplification seems hopelessly sunny and childish. A woman named Sophfronia Scott is writing an anthology with a title for our times: How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times. Apparently we aren’t “feeling groovy;” this time we’re preparing for battle.

Today I was asked to say something about myself. I wrote a long email in response. After I finished I noticed a couple of things. First, I had said nothing “from the resume.” Said nothing about my children. Said nothing about the past, really. Just talked about right now. Second, although I may have sloughed off an obsessive focus on the past, I have apparently not given up my tendency to over-analyze. Maybe that’s ok, because when you’re undergoing change, there’s a lot to process. But enough is enough. Why travel heavy when I can travel light? Let’s see if the internal dialog can be shut down for just a few minutes every day. That should lighten the load a bit.

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