“I never wanted all of this anyway, really all I wanted was what I could carry in a backpack.”
A few weeks ago this thought flashed through my mind out of the blue. The ‘this‘ was all my household items: furniture, artwork on the wall, the dishes, plants, and decorations – almost everything to do with running a house. That inner voice, a very clear and calm one, was a bit shocking — after all as a feng shui teacher I should really be ‘into’ the home I create, right?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and I appreciate being in beautiful ones. I have clear preferences about the styles I prefer and what I consider to be beautiful.
That inner voice was just saying I don’t feel a need to be the owner, guardian and caretaker; to be so attached to the environment I find myself in. Given that I have to live somewhere and a furnished apartment isn’t offering itself anytime soon, I wondered if this voice was really telling me something that wasn’t quite as literal. As I mentally filled my backpack with my ‘valuables’ I knew it would reveal current truths about my life.
Head of the list: music. I went through a lot of years where music wasn’t important but now that I teach Nia dance it has change from a backseat, would-be-nice to being the most important and relevant thing in my life. I teach Nia with my iPhone and a small set of speakers and luckily they don’t take much room in my backpack.
Next, I’d need a computer of some sort because I can’t imagine a world without writing. I’d also want some books, and although I don’t own a book reader, that would be ideal. Some other electronics, a phone, camera, the accoutrements of cables and power cords and I’m good to go.
Then there is my clothing — the clothing is important and will take up the most room. I want variety, but also functionality. I like uptown workout clothes and being able to change them up with jewellery, scarves and shawls and a few interesting jackets. Then I need to make room for shoes and my wash-up kit.
I want my flute and ukulele. My wallet, official documents, like my passport and driver’s license. Then maybe, if there is room, something to make art with: a box of watercolours, a pad of paper and some brushes.
The more I think, the more items I add and I wonder whether these after thoughts are really defining my current reality and dreams, or whether they are a ‘me’ that is not as relevant in my life now, like music used to be.
It feels like my backpack is pretty well rounded: work and earning a living are in my backpack. Writing about how we interact with our environment – both the ones we create for ourselves and the outer environments like work and the common places we share — these things interest me deeply. Currently I am happier guiding people to make their own choices and think more deeply about their surroundings than I am coming into their home and telling them what to do. It is much lighter in my backpack, for me to carry at this point in my life.
And Nia dance is becoming increasingly important in my life. It is both a work item and fills a deep social need. There is a gift and a deep meaning in teaching people how to experience being in their bodies more fully – our bodies being our one true home. Why wouldn’t everyone want to ‘feng shui’ their body? One of the things that attracted me to being a dancer and leading others in dance is a sense of freedom, a sense that it would fit into my backpack and go everywhere and anywhere as kind of a universal language.
The thing is we are never completely one thing or another as we learn, grow, change and adapt. Perhaps the biggest gift we have is the freedom to choose. Rather than continuing to carry something that has become too heavy and weighs us down both figuratively and literally, perhaps it is a good idea, every so often to look at see what is in that backpack we are carrying, and whether we need to take it all with us.
I invite you today to ask yourself what you’d put in your backpack?
As you fill your backpack notice whether what you are adding reflects your current reality and dreams you are bringing into reality, or whether they reflect an aspect of yourself that is not as relevant as it used to be. Notice too, what you do not put in your backpack. This can tell you as much, and sometimes even more about what is important to you now.