the things we carry

the things we carry
I have a rucksack.
It’s my means of transporting my chattels around, to and from work.

You probably have something too? A handbag, a briefcase, a shoulder bag, a plastic bag, a wheelie trolley…

We carry our accoutrements of living with us. Papers, iPad, pens, lip-salve, a book or kindle maybe, phone, make-up, hand cream, wallet or purse… You’ll have your own contents.

We do this in life too. Carry the contents of our humanity.

Our loyalty, our guilt, our goals, our dreams, our expectations, our fears, our vulnerability, our shame, our hopes, our thoughts, our feelings, our hurt, our aspirations, our pain, our mistakes…

Not perhaps in our bag, or rucksack, but with us nonetheless.

And we might think they are hidden, invisible, inside us, but they are not. They are there in the system. Invisible obstacles.

For a bit like our bag, our rucksack or our wheelie trolley, on the bus, train or pavement, these invisible things we carry, knock into people. They rub against shoulders or legs, obstruct views, trip people up, cause people to take a wider path, take up human space and force other human beings to take avoiding action.

They also weigh us down, change our posture, cause us to list towards one shoulder. They twist us as we pull, with one hand, our trollied lives rumbling behind us. They engage one arm or hand, reducing our ability to engage with life ambidextrously, fully. They generate pain and discomfort from their burden.

But they’re your shoulders.

Reflect on what you carry and how you carry it.

the truth in our body

body feeling listen real
Our body has something to say. Often we don’t make ourselves available to listen. We speak over it. We take its message and translate, dismiss, interpret, label it. Or we simply ignore it. It seems we have forgotten to simply pay attention to it.

When we are wrestling with something, experiencing a change, being challenged, exploring a question or simply living, our bodies will be speaking to us.

Maybe we have a tension in our shoulders, a dry mouth, a tummy that is churning, tingling in our toes, a numbness in our legs, breathing that is shallow, a heartbeat that is racing…?

Our mind takes over. Thought swamps the sensation. Emotional labels mask the core body feeling. Distraction. Control maintained. Human system managed. This interpretation, rationalisation or control amounts to sticking our fingers in our ears and going blah blah blah to our bodies. I’m not listening. You’re not important.

Yet in one way, the physical sensation is the only thing that is real. Undeniable. My mouth is dry. My palms are sweaty.

My rationalisation of what this signifies, fabricated. Invented. Created from a myriad of past and present analyses, my brain labels the sensation with a feeling – I’m anxious. Are you? My brain then engages the thoughts about why, what I can do, what I should do, what will work, what won’t. It tells me about the patterns. “Well this is what always happens isn’t it?” it says.

What would it be like to stay with the physical sensation? To spend a few moments, with the dry mouth? Not to label it, dismiss it, rationalise it away. But just notice it. Listen to your body. It too has a voice. It speaks a truth.