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“Looking for a glimmer of hope, we have followed a star to get here.

Now after a long journey, we set our baggage down.”  

From Epiphany Sunday Worship at Mountain View Presbyterian Church, Arizona 

This line from Sunday’s church bulletin really struck me. The words “…after a long journey, we set our baggage down” caught my heart. 

 

As I reflected on these words, I began to grapple with the difference between baggage and luggage. While they can both indicate what we carry with us – suitcases and bags full of belongings for travel, the word baggage means more. 

Baggage is not representative of just material belongings. Rather, it also means the internal or intangible inner things we carry. 

 

Choosing to move across the country in 2023 was just the first step in a long journey. For much of the year, I was considering what to take on the journey and what to leave behind. Choices about material things seemed to take forever. It was a time of great sorting. A reckoning if you will, with belongings and their personal meanings to me. 

 

Because of the depths of my losses prior to and in 2016 and 2017, I had surrounded myself with possessions of others. Possessions I kept because they reminded me of the loved ones who have died. Possessions that offered comfort because I could see them, interact with them, put my hands on them, and utilize them for my daily living. I came to the realization that I no longer needed some of those belongings. Someone else could put them to good use.

 

The belongings may have had meaning at one time. In this season though, they are more functional and less emotional. While they still represent my beloved family, they also reflect a bit less grief and a lot more gratitude. I still treasure items that I was given as well as those that are specifically functional. Bowls, for example, that my mother and grandmother used. Wooden spoons that my sister collected. And an antique that my grandmother had intended to bring to me – as evidenced by a note found in it. I cherish both the thought that she was blessing me with it and the item too. 

 

More challenging though was the intangible or internal baggage I’ve carried. New seasons of change, new liminal bridges to cross have meant a renewed look, a deeper investigation into what I carry inside. 

 

It is a radical act to dig deep and unpack emotional baggage. 

To be sure, we have all had things spoken over us in our lives. Grandparents, parents, and other influential adults have said things to us about ourselves. They have said things that have sunk deep into our beings and that we’ve carried for years. These pronouncements have sometimes wounded our spirits. Other times they have changed or influenced the trajectory of our lives. 

 

New seasons call for the release of these pronouncements. They may have been spoken over us 20, 30, 40 years ago. Because they were spoken by an adult, someone we loved or trusted, we believed that they were true. Now we get to discern their truth by checking in with ourselves. We can critique what was said against our own experiences of ourselves. We can consider what we have come to know in life beyond those spoken words. 

We no longer need to carry them as fact. They are truly emotional baggage. 

 

They may also be words spoken to us in recent years – words that have led us to our watershed season. The emotional baggage that is the result of recent experiences– adult relationships, work, raising children, marriage. A pandemic. Or more specifically, the watershed moment you find yourself in right now. In this season of liminality – waiting for clarity, inspiration, and hope, you can choose to be curious with yourself. 

 

I invite you to acknowledge how far you’ve traveled. How you’ve navigated, perhaps with the help of a beautiful star (God, your higher power, however you define your star). Look back over your shoulder at the way you’ve come. Take a moment to give yourself credit – you aren’t where you were. And then, put down your baggage and look ahead. 

 

“We’ve arrived, and we’re on holy ground.” 

 

A coach is a great resource for helping you tease out and unpack baggage. She can ask questions to help you uncover new insights, clarity, and wisdom about your experiences and yourself. Investing in a life transition coach can help you navigate your watershed season with support and encouragement that helps you build the momentum you need. 

If this resonates with you, let’s chat!

Click here to schedule a no-charge, 20 minute conversation where we will learn more about one another. In that conversation you will learn more about my coaching style and experience. I will listen carefully to your needs. Together we will determine if collaborating is the right fit for both of us.