Lighten the Load
In Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild (and the movie), she sets out to hike more than 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail generally unprepared in many ways, including that her pack weighed way too much in supplies she didn't really need. It wasn't until a good ways into her hike that Cheryl gets help along the trail from someone who sorts through her pack, dubbed "Monster," item by item, and encourages her to leave behind what she doesn't really need. The large and heavy flash attachment for a camera she'd barely used, a foldable saw, deodorant and razor (what was the point?), binoculars.
She still had a load to carry. Monster was still a monster. But it was full of things that would aid her on her hike, things that would keep her safe and warm and sheltered and fed and, she explains of the weight of the books she will not abandon, keep her company. And nothing more.
Before you start piling things into that suitcase (or backpack) for the adventure that will be 2015, let's lighten your load. There are things you definitely don't need to bring with you on this new, exciting journey. Take a few moments today to reflect back on what went wrong in 2014. It's ok. You don't have to think through why or how or whose fault. Just simply allow yourself to recognize what didn't go as you would have preferred. That was part of the journey of 2014, but it doesn't belong on this trail. Leave room for things that will keep you safe and warm and sheltered and fed.
Here's one of my favorite quotes from Wild. Keep this close this month as you continue to move forward in the direction you intend to go.
“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer—and yet also, like most things, so very simple—was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay. As I clung to the chaparral that day, attempting to patch up my bleeding finger, terrified by every sound that the bull was coming back, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go.”
Join the conversation! #bringyourbrave