My Montreal bookclub, lovingly named The Dead Tree Society, recently read Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. The discussion following was like girls at camp playing truth or dare, but only truths were an option! In Strayed’s book, she hikes the Paciﬁc Crest Trail to ﬁnd herself again after feeling lost and spiralling from a series of bad choices following her mother’s death. Finding her truth would prove to free her, and it took a daring adventure to reveal it.
To embark on this 100 day journey, she carried her backpack, aka “Monster”, on her back with everything she thought she would need – and more. At one point on her journey, she learned to ‘let go’ of the extra weight – the things that weren’t serving her on her goal to complete this hike – and the metaphors are just too true to ignore.
Many of us have a goal in sight, even a plan to take us there. But often, we give up. Why? Could it be that our backpack is too heavy? That what we expected to sustain and protect us is actually more about where we’ve been than where we’re going? Could it be that we are carrying emotional baggage that blocks and stops our momentum, and perhaps even convinces us to give up? To turn back to what we know, even if we weren’t happy and fulﬁlled with the status quo? Even if going back will limit us in some way?
What do you need to unpack? To leave behind? What are you carrying unnecessarily?
Perhaps you could lighten your load – release your guilt, shame, regret, anger, resentment. Leave them in the free hiker box at the camp. You’ve carried them far enough. See how much farther you can go, faster, without them.