You’re Better Off Leaving This All Behind

I’d like to invite you into a dream I had last night. Rarely do I share personal accounts of my sleep and never have I made dreams public knowledge, but this one came in the form of a wild vision and with a resounding call to share.

It was somewhat gray outside and perhaps dusk. I was in a large and overly decorated home albeit one that was appointed with fine, curated furniture and fixtures. These things belonged to the man I was married to and to me. A friend and I were standing over my kitchen table, which was being used as a packing station. He was telling me to put down every possession I picked up. He repeatedly said you don’t need to take that with you, Tina.

I was leaving my marriage and for every ten pieces I wanted to carry with me into the next chapter of life, he urged me to select only one.

India or Cambodia…maybe even Africa, I am not sure. Regardless of where I was, my friend from the previous scene was with me. Now, in this dusty and bustling place, music played. It was everywhere – above, under, through and all around us. In slow motion, we swam our way through a sea of people who flooded this open-air bazaar. The smell was overwhelming, totally nauseating. Despite the endless array of regional cuisine that would have usually lured me to taste, I had no appetite.

My back was completely soaked. I could feel every bead of perspiration running down the backs of my legs – like insects tickling my skin. If it wasn’t for the large adventure pack on my back – one big enough to ascend Mount Everest, I may have not been so hot. What on earth had I brought with me and why?

As I peered out through the lenses of my eyes, I could see the locals all looked the same. They walked peacefully through the market, shrouded in nothing but white linen. It quickly became obvious to me; my many changes of clothes were of no use in this place and that perhaps if I had left the heavily weighted pack behind, my sweat wouldn’t be sweating.

A large abandoned home – reminiscent of the one in Fight Club, (if you’ve seen that film.) All walls were completely bare and covered in soot. The only sign of habitation were thirteen dilapidated mattresses and two people per room where the minimal bedding filled the empty spaces.

I was uncomfortable in the stark environment. It felt cold and empty… I was frightened. I kept myself awake for days on end by cooking for everyone who lived there. I feared that if I slept, I’d be taken back to the wrapping station of my previous home or to the suffocating smell and heat of the foreign land. But I also did not want to be here. There had to be somewhere in between I could go that would satisfy the innate need for comfort without the burden of the things I always carried with me.

The loyal friend who had been journeying with me appeared. He had an iPad. His finger slid across the screen, flipping through photos of sacred places he had traveled. He showed me Boulder, Sedona, Monument Valley and the slot canyons of Arizona. I had never seen colors like the ones captures in these pictures. Each one was three-dimensional, each was tangible yet there are no tangible words to describe them.

I wanted to drop into these canyons, to become the light, hue and texture of each image. In an instant, he and I were pulled into the iPad screen and transported to the depths of Antelope Canyon. We stood there barefoot with pink sand gliding between our toes.

Photographers from all over the world were taking pictures, capturing rays of sunlight that danced on swirls of sandstone. I twirled and twirled, taking in 360 degrees of pure natural wonder. I was sucking the energy and beauty into every cell of my body.

Not only could I see light, I could hear the light. Smell the light. I was the light. I carried a smaller pack this time, just big enough for camera equipment, a canteen, flashlight and snacks – those things we associate with survival and our basic needs. Somehow, as only made possible by a dream, I had enough in this pack to sustain us for years of trekking. We hiked through every slot canyon, Monument Valley, Canyon Lands, Zions, Bryce Canyon and others in the southwest I feel haven’t yet been discovered.

Yet, after so many years, the relatively small pack I carried seemed heavy; it too was becoming a burden.

Scene change. My pal grew up in a humble home or at least that is what my dream showed me. We were there in his living room. He was care-taking for his sick father, I was getting to know his stepmother for the first time. He was removed from view for a moment and then reappeared to hand me a ripe reddish apple…again, a color I cannot describe with words of our limited human language.

I bit into it. In a flash he and I were standing on the shore of a beach – an island place I have never before seen in pictures or ever in my imagination. The sand was pure gold. It moved just like the waves and the waves, swells that appeared ten feet high at least, crashed at our feet. When they made contact with our toes, they transformed into the most gentle snowflake or feather-like wisps.

We stood there, rooted in the sparkling sand able to accept the mammoth waves without them moving us an inch. We looked at each other and laughed. This time I didn’t have a pack. My load was light. All I had was me. And that was enough. I had no burdens…I carried no weight. I smiled and said, here I am now – free and weightless.

I woke.

This message is one of lightening our load. Whether that load takes the form of pain, injury, suffering, confusion, lies we tell ourselves or tangible possessions – anything in our lives that weighs us down. When we are without burden we can withstand tribulation, we can have ten foot waves crash at our feet without them moving us an inch.

So I ask – what are you carrying that you can peel off your back? What tears do you need to cry? What words do you need to speak to keep from carrying them deep in an emotional chasm where they are not being heard? What shoebox of trinkets do you keep on a shelf collecting dust year after year? What talents do you keep to yourself, not sharing them with the world – that ability to sing beautifully but to have the angelic sound fall on your ears only?

Avoid trekking from year to year carrying more than you need. Express the thoughts, words and desires that will lighten your load. Leave behind the possessions that way you down. Through the process of letting go, no matter how wild of a journey you may trek to get to where you feel light, you will discover you are the constant character through it all and you are enough.

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