What's In Your Backpack?

What’s In Your Backpack?

As I walk along the banks of Spain, I am reminded of a story I read a long time ago about a young man who was hiking in the woods. It was a beautiful summer day not unlike today, with birdsong in the air and a warm breeze beckoning him further into the forest.  He bent down and picked up a rock which he named “loneliness” and he put it in his back pack. A few minutes later, he reached for another much larger rock and he named this one “anger.” Before long, his pack was filled with colored stones of all shapes and sizes called “fear, “uncertainty”, “resentment” and “hopelessness.” It wasn’t long before the beauty of the forest ceased to exist for him and all he could think about was the weight of his back pack and worry about how he could carry it and continue on his path.

I am now 144 miles into my walk on the El Camino with each step I am reminded of this metaphor as I celebrate the freedom I have created for myself by consciously choosing to stop “carrying” certain things in my life. Over the years, I have worked at discarding my debilitating beliefs. Today, when you look into my backpack, you will find a more cathartic cargo that lifts me up instead of weighing me down called “kindness,” “compassion,” “love,” and “humor.”

Tell me, what’s in your back pack? What can you afford to keep carrying around and what beauty are you missing because of the distractions these burdens create? Imagine what could happen if you pick one stone (just one for now) and replace it with one called “gratitude” or “trust” or whatever feels right and light to you. You know what you need to let go of. One stone at a time, you can clear your path of the attitudes that aren’t serving you. They are not ingrained, they are not permanent. They are simply a choice. Don’t be afraid to open up the satchel and see what’s at the bottom. It may surprise you. Then start tossing. Empty your back pack and experience the walk of a life-time.