It’s about 10 minutes to 8 in the morning. I’m at home packing stuff up for a long day- one in which I won’t be home again until about 8 minutes to 10 at night.
I already know I’m going to be late for work, and haven't even left the house yet.
Great. So now I’m carrying stress about being late and the day has barely started.
Between now and arriving home tonight I’ll have worked more than 10 hours, including teaching 2 yoga classes, and except for a lunch break and the drive from one place to the other, I won’t stop.
Like I said, long day.
Preparing, packing up, being organized is crucial. What we take with us when we leave will be all we’ve got as tools (fuel?) to support the day until returning back to our sacred space called home at night. In a funny way, it’s an idea that parallels much of what spiritual teachings aim to address: What do we take with us?
Especially, if I want to maintain the lifestyle choices that work for me, ie. clean eating, presentable appearance, full attention, kindness, sanity (lol yes, sanity is a lifestyle choice) what I take with me (or for that matter- what I don’t take with me) matters !
I start shoveling a pile of stuff into a canvas bag and as the time left on the clock until I’m officially late decreases, the clumsy imprecision of my hands increases. The grace escapes because I am carrying the stress of being late. One of the many things I’ll carry today.
I’ve visibly noticed it a few times while walking by busy streets, other people carrying stress. Folks honk at folks, slam on their breaks, swerve through yellow lights. Apparently, I’m not the only one who carries stress about being late. And stress appears to be mutually exclusive of grace. And grace is a symbol of harmony with what is. And grace is an important thing to carry.
And then there’s:
What we take with us changes.
Depending on the answer to questions like: Where are you going? How long will you be gone? What will be available when you get there? And a string of others, our needs change.
What we take with us changes.
Does the same go for every person? Every existence? Each time we switch to a new form, or head to a new place?
Some days, like today, I’ll need to carry enough clean food for the whole day (uhhh bc I won’t be home until almost 10pm, remember?) AND I’ll need to carry yoga clothes for teaching. AND I’ll need to carry my planner and a phone charger. AND I’ll need to carry that book that’s overdue that I can return on my way to work (adding to the lateness ugh!) AND I’ll need to carry a bag of recycling to the bin on my way out the door...do I even have enough hands?
And, is there always so much juggling? Sure, I’m perpetually exhausted of the running around. But here I mean juggling in the bigger way. If I am stressed from juggling a million things on the day to day, what does that say about my soul? Obviously, in the astral sense we’re not exactly 'running late to work' or returning library books. But, maybe in a more general sense. Maybe inasmuch as karma is real. Maybe inasmuch as we are paying back our dues, we are carrying the weight of everyone and experiencing it in this small, human, fragmented way. Maybe the juggling and subsequent stress and subsequent loss of grace is a red flag. A visible symbol that it’d be okay to slow down. In all the planes of existence, it’d be okay.
And now I’m standing in the kitchen stuffing food for the day into a tote bag from a long ago trip and a sweet memory from that time washes over. And so the food and the bag and the memories are among things I’ll carry today. And yoga clothes get pushed into another tote bag, from a different place and time, with different memories. And so, I’ll those too. And the other stuff gets sorted accordingly into bags to carry. And some bags will get tossed in the bin before the first step on the street, and others will remain full and mostly unchanged the whole day. One will come with me on a mid-day break to eat. I’ll empty it of containers and eat what is inside those. Then, I’ll put the empty containers back into the bag and carry it back to where I came from. And eventually (many long hours from now, with SO MUCH in between) I’ll get home, and carry the bags up the stairs. I’ll empty them of their contents. And I will put them into a bag that carries all the other bags.
Life and its irony.
We are constantly putting things into bags.
And pulling things out.
And taking them with us.
Here and there.
And then back.
And tomorrow they’ll serve again.
And occasionally, I’ll take them with me on a special trip, like to the beach.
And I get home with all my stuff, plus the sand that got in the bag.
That I carried.
Accidentally took with me.
And just like that I wonder?
What do we really take with us?
If tiny grains of sand can hitch a ride in our sack. Inevitably. Relentlessly.
What else can?
What do we take with us?
Or is it better phrased: What is taking us with it?
What is all this about?
I mean, bags and bags of crap, meticulously organized and divided up, based on the particular nuances of the needs of the day or journey or person. But clearly, we carry more than we bargained for, as exemplified by the grace or stress, and the memories, and the sand.
These funny extra little things we take with us.
Or like when you accidentally grab the wrong bag at Publix and get home and find an assortment of stuff that you didn’t buy. That you literally did not bargain for.
That is not what you wanted to carry.
But somehow, here it is.
Carried it all the way home.
ALL THE WAY HOME.
Like the sand.
Or, lol. When you get home with a car full of groceries and don’t want to make two trips upstairs, so you carry all the bags and cut off the circulation to both of your arms.
You carry all the bags. Everything.
You carry them in a way that maybe you weren’t designed to.
With no grace.
What about these bodies we carry. Do they come with us all the way home?
What do we carry? Where is home?
And for that matter, what is home?
What do we take with us when we go there?
What do we get to take along?
What do we try to take that maybe we weren’t designed to?
What comes despite resistance?
What comes unintentionally?
What do we carry?
What carries on?
What do we take with us?
So, this morning as I am ‘running’ late. I stop to think about what I’ll carry. Today, and beyond. Intentionally, and unintentionally. Literally, and figuratively.
I look around at my home filled with stuff that could get shoved into tote bags and carried back and forth, day in day out. I see all the clothes, food, and so much stuff. And even though that is all stuff I will carry, it’s pretty clear that the stuff isn’t what we take with us.