This blog is part of our #redbudroadtrip series this summer, Life Lessons Learned in the Woods.
One of my favorite parts of backpacking and canoeing trips is that you literally carry everything you need to survive.
While I’m in love with this idea, it does present some challenges when packing.
What do you carry, and what can you leave behind?
Bring the essentials, leave the unnecessary stuff behind, right? Simple as that.
Not always. For example:
Food, water, shelter, those are given. But what about extra chocolate? A little wine? And should I take the thick fleece, the lightweight longsleeve shirt, or both?
Then there's my camera. My hammock. My journal. A mushroom indentification book. How does one choose?
Sometimes these things make it into my pack, sometimes they don’t. It all depends. How many times have I brought things that I haven’t needed? And worse, how many times have I mentally carried my work, stress, and unhealthy expectations along and clouded the beauty of the moment with past experiences and future worries?
Carrying more than we need is something we do all the time. When we wake up in the morning to face a new day, we have a choice. What “baggage” do we choose to carry with us, and what is best let go?
When I forget to prioritize the most important things, I end up carrying around a lot more stuff and anxiety than is necessary.
This is obvious when I catch myself putting way too many things in my bag, making to-do lists that are utterly unrealistic, or spinning in circles as I waver from one thing to another instead of focusing and completing one job at a time.
When I catch myself carrying too much, the best thing I can do is pause, reflect, and prioritize; just like I would in preparation for a trip. In these moments, finding the essential tasks and making the active choice to attend them makes all the difference.
Suddenly, lightness replaces the weight of responsibility. Hope springs up with grit and determination. I start making progress.
So whether you’re heading out for a backpacking trip or waking up in the morning and getting ready for an ordinary day, take a moment to be thoughtful. What will you carry and what will you leave behind?
Give yourself permission to pause and reflect. Carry what’s important let the rest go. It will be there when you return.
How do you decide? Share your experiences with us in the comments or on FB / IG @redbudsuds #thoughtfullyclean #redbudroadtrip.
Read more Lessons from the Wilderness here.
Wondering what Thoughtfully Clean Field Notes are all about? Read the first post here.
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