What I learned from Packing One Carry-On Suitcase

Carry-on Suitacse

Dear Self,

Packing one carry-on suitcase was a good idea!  It was such a great idea that I think you should take the same approach to your summer.  Now before you get all defensive let me clarify a few things.  I’m not suggesting that you create a capsule wardrobe.  I’m not encouraging you to go without.  And, I’m not trying to add another challenge or burden to your life.  Quite the opposite really, because these are all the benefits I have observed since have been in Florida with only one carry-on suitcase.

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To be Good at Living You Must be a Good Guest

A guest of life

Dear Self,

I was in a hurry to leave for work.  With a purse on my shoulder and fancy shoes shouting my hurried pace i jerked the fridge open.  Flinging a bag of lettuce and a can of tuna on the counter I frantically searched for a can-opener.  Finally I started jamming a lettuce tuna wrap in my mouth careful not to smear my perfectly painted red lips – my signature feature.

As I bent to grab my purse that had fallen during my sophisticated scavenge through the kitchen for a five-minute meal my eye were captured on the neat but empty kitchenette.  As if in a daze I dragged my purse to the bench and we ended the table’s loneliness – my purse and I.

I’m not sure what I thought would happen.  The table and chairs would thank me for being their friend or a bright light from the ceiling would burst around me showering me in pixie dust…but that’s not what happened.

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Discovering Peace in Disorder

disorder

Dear Self,

I saw you hopelessly staring at the piles in your living room yesterday and watched you pick at the duct tape on the floor with your toes.  I also heard you sigh as you stared out the kitchen window only to have your vision obscured by cardboard covering a whole made by a stray arrow from your brothers’ heroic adventures.  You see messes caused by a busy life, but that’s not what others see.  

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Snow White was Right

Snow White was Right

Dear Self,

It’s easy to become overwhelmed and beaten up by your emotions.  Before you know it you’ve been thrown from your boogie board.   Your face is being ground into the sand while relentless waves tumble you like shoes in a dryer.  Disoriented you don’t know how to escape and claim the precious brilliance of light and hopeful air.  You’ve been beaten and the only hope of survival you have is owning the fact so that you can be pulled to the surface.  

Snow White was right, “It’s important to know when you’ve been beaten.”

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How my Emotional Mess became El Shaddai’s Mosiac

emotional mess to mosaic

Dear Self,

I had no idea I had it in me to write you three letters about managing your emotions.  But as I was pondering the series of letters I have most recently written I realized that I neglected to teach you my favorite emotion management technique.  So while it’s still on my mind I want to share with you my secret to floating through the ocean of emotions.

One day when I was drowning in my high-school emotions mom sent me to my room to journal until I had a happy heart.  I was mad.   But between filling lined notebook paper and smearing ink with my tears I discovered David’s secret.

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PART 3: Burns, Burglars, and Emotions

Bruns, Burglars, and Emotions

Dear Self,

I can hardly believe this little letter I started writing last week has turned into three.  In the first letter I clarified that emotions are merely our experiential realization of our thoughts – they’re not wrong, it’s what we do with them that can be wrong.  And, in my most recent letter, I challenged you to describe your emotions more fully by identifying and defining them.  Today, I’m going to teach you how to respond.  

Your security system has been breached, you know that burglars are climbing through your window to steal the brownies baking in your oven – the brownies that you were looking forward to enjoying with your friends!  There are three responses.

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PART 2: Burns, Burglars, and Emotions

Burns, Burglars, and Emotions

Dear Self,

In my last letter I explained that emotions aren’t wrong, rather it’s what we do with our emotions that can be wrong.  After all, emotions are merely the experience of our thoughts.  They should not initiate our actions, but rather be treated as indicators to what is happening in our souls.  Which leads us to soul-searching.

Back to our brownie analogy, when you feel the heat you need to register what that heat is and where it’s coming from.  In other words, upon feeling heat you instinctively know that you forgot hot mitts.  Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t instinctively understand the thoughts sparking our emotions.  So, some soul-searching is required.  

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PART 1: Burns, Burglars, and Emotions

The truth about emotions

Dear Self,

I know you hate emotions.  You’ve tried to throw them overboard like sandbags on a hot air balloon.  Living with them is sickening.  But once you’ve dumped them, living without them is horrifying. I’ve got news for you, (WARNING: I’m about to sound like your mother) emotions aren’t bad.  They’re not deadweights anchoring you to average. It’s what you do with your emotions that can be bad.

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The Struggle is Real

The Struggle is Real

Dear Self,

The real feat wasn’t running 13.1 miles. The feat was the last 8 years leading up to this race. The time you dared to go on a second run even though you couldn’t make it once around the track on your first run. All the times you ran when you didn’t want to, rested intentionally, and every single time you ignored the thoughts that told you that you couldn’t.

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