Reenergized Living logo

Wellness Articles

Emotional / Spiritual / Mental

Food Based Healing

Recipes / Drinks / Plant Power

Pinkies Up For Wellness

Pinkies Up For Wellness

Affiliate Nonprofit

Carli Thorpe, Wellness Coach & Mentor at Vitality Naturally Holistic

Reenergized Living Contributing Author

How much baggage are you carrying?

Jul 31, 2023

Written By: Carli Thorpe, Contributing Author

Contributing Authors at Reenergized Living are carefully selected because of their knowledge and expertise in bridging the gap between traditional and alternative medicine.

How much baggage are you carrying?

Inspired by a woodlouse

The other day, I was in a Pilates session, face at floor level, and I became distracted by a woodlouse. Yes, you read that correctly. I was distracted by a woodlouse. It was making its way across the floor slowly and awkwardly, dragging behind it a bundle of debris. It looked heavier and bigger than the woodlouse could carry. A bunch of cobwebs, the remains of a spider and some bits of dried up leaf. As I watched with curiosity, it came to me: “Wow. This makes me think of humans. We walk through over-complicated lives carrying baggage that’s much bigger and heavier than necessary”. Eventually, the woodlouse freed itself from the debris and proceeded to climb onto the doormat. off it went on its merry way, with greater ease.

And so began the start of this article and the realization that, for the past six years, I have been letting go of a lot of baggage. It’s a liberating, messy, sometimes dark and painful, transformative process and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It means I now get to live my life lightly, authentically, feeling deeply connected to myself and the incredible people and world around me. I couldn’t see and appreciate it all until I had cleared the way. In the letting go, I have returned to a
sense of awe and wonder.

What do I mean by baggage? It takes many forms. I don’t mean to be dismissive by using this term. It’s just such a great analogy that we can easily visualize. Our baggage means the burdens and wounds of our past and previous generations. Our conditioning and limiting beliefs. The weight of expectation and responsibility. The material belongings we have, that we’re told will make us happy. Our financial commitments (to pay for the material belongings we were told would make us
happy). Saying yes to things we really don’t want to do. Putting on a polished and brave face when we’re feeling less than. Bottled up emotions that we don’t know how to express. The grudges we hold. The trauma we haven’t yet healed.

Just reading all of that sounds heavy, right? It raises the questions: How do we let it go? And why do we hold onto it?

Lightbulb moments
I was oblivious to all the stuff I was carrying until I burned out in 2017. I had previously experienced long periods of depression and anxiety, but I had no idea why. I later learned it was because of everything I was holding onto. I started to ask questions – why is this happening? Where did I go wrong? How have I ended up, 37 years old (as I was then) feeling so ill, so lost and confused?

I wrote more about this and the recovery journey in my previous articles – (1) Could Burning out be your Breakthrough? (2) Depression as a symptom and in the book (3) There She Glows – Volume 3.

And so began my journey of letting go. I had no idea what I was embarking on at the time. It’s only six years on, as I reflect back, that I can see it for what it is. As my partner says “It’s like walking through a wet fog. You don’t realize you’re getting wet, until you get somewhere dry.”

In (4) The Art of Holding Space – an incredible book by Heather Plett, she talks about the Spiral of Authenticity. As part of this process she explains about the masks we put on to hide the parts of ourselves that aren’t acceptable to the world, and how we become the people our influencers expect us to be. Many of us, gone through life asleep and disconnected from the truth of who we are, because we’re busy building the lives we’re taught we should, and simply trying to survive what
we have experienced up until now. Also known as “collecting baggage”.

Eventually, we may get to a point where we start to ask questions and begin the process of letting go, so that we can ultimately, return to the truth of who we are. Because that’s what our baggage does – it disconnects us from our core. From our truth. It makes life heavy and complicated.

We begin to release the past and unmask. We discover truths that might be difficult to accept and we begin to heal. We might grieve as we free ourselves of these burdens. We might go through stages of feeling insecure, we might feel betrayed. But when we begin to open our hearts and minds to discover the truth that lies beneath, we can connect more authentically with ourselves and the world around us. We can move through life feeling inner peace, with compassion, and a deeper
faith, trust and belief in ourselves. We can see and experience the world in a completely different, more expansive and joyful way.

In May and July 2022, my Mum and my Nan passed away. It was a deeply painful and stressful time. As part of the practicalities, I was responsible for sorting through Mum’s possessions. She lived in a tiny, rented, one-bedroom flat. Her entire life was squeezed into this flat. Meticulously organized but bursting at the seams. It was obvious that much of it was untouched for a long time. Dusty and stagnant. This was baggage in material form! What was she holding onto it for? Why do we hold on to so much stuff? We attach meaning and identify to these things, when in reality our true meaning and identity lies within.

As I was finding new homes for her belongings, I felt myself wanting to cling on to her in the items I wanted to keep. I was hit by a moment of truth: Both my Mum and my Nan are always with me. They’re in my memories, my heart, the photographs I have. They’re in my DNA. I invited myself to let go of even more stuff. When it came to moving home twice in the following year, I went through the same process with my own belongings. Because, after we’re gone, what happens to it anyway? It gets sent to charity shops, taken to the household waste disposal site, sold, recycled.

I love this quote by Zina Harrington: “The more stuff I donated, the more I was able to breathe. The more trash I threw away, the more weight I felt lifted. The more stuff I took out of our home, the more I was able to see a new life. The more uncluttered I lived, the more joy I found”.

This is also reminiscent of our mental and emotional baggage. This part might be a bit trickier. But if we approach it with intentionality and curiosity, we can gently encourage ourselves to observe and inquire: Do I really need to keep this? [Thought, belief, past emotional pain, judgement, self-criticism…] Is it really serving me? What would I choose instead?

The calling
You might start to notice an inner nudge. An invitation to take the first steps to living more lightly. What might be the signs and that this is calling you? Sometimes, it hits us suddenly, perhaps after a shocking or traumatic experience. An awakening of sorts. It can feel like we’ve been thrown into chaos. But sometimes it’s more subtle:

  • You might be questioning the decisions you have made and the path you have taken through life.
  • Perhaps the things you do, the people you spend time with and the work that you loved are feeling less meaningful.
  • Physically you could be more tired, weighed down by life. You might have unexplainable physical pain.
  • You may be reaching for numbing mechanisms; scrolling on social media, comfort food, alcohol and mindless TV watching – because not doing so feels somehow uncomfortable.
  • You could notice you are reflecting on your past, wondering why it happened the way it did.
  • Maybe you are feeling less satisfied by the material possessions you own.
  • Perhaps you’ve got that itchy feet feeling that says “something needs to change”.

Whatever it is for you, I invite you to create some space for inquiry. Be curious and perhaps journal on what you are noticing. A powerful process is to light a candle, set the intention to be open and curious, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and just write. Don’t overthink it. Just write and see what comes.

You might begin to sort through material possessions. Which ones conjure up positive or challenging memories? If you’re noticing challenging memories, how is it making you feel? What are your thoughts? Is this something you want to hold on to?

I use powerful energy transformation techniques, breath, physical movement, journaling, reading and connecting with nature to support me with this process and its what I share with my clients too.

It’s a bit of a dance between the light and the deep. Finding spaces where you can drop the bundle for a while, whilst you’re navigating the deeper aspects, brings some balance. One of my places for that is Ecstatic Dance. A conscious dance journey where I feel free to just let my body move.

I invite you to try, even for a little while, to move through the world like everything is new. Imagine you are seeing it for the first time. Think of an innocent child, present and free and invite that same feeling. I suppose it was some sense of childlike wonder that drew my attention to the woodlouse! Who says, just because we are adults, that we have to be ‘grown up’ all the time?

Final words
I’m going to leave you with these lyrics from a powerful song called Burgs by Mt. Wolf (5) :

“…..then you’ll discover quite quickly just how extraordinary life is meant to be. And it’s just we get
so messy, it’s not that we’re doing lots of wrong things, it’s just that our minds are so messy. We
don’t keep it simple.

And we end up making the life that we’re living so inordinately complicated, completely
unnecessarily. And it’s such a shame that we end up in a real muddle when in reality, you ought to
be having the time of your life.

It doesn’t actually take very much to make the deepest part of us incredibly happy. Just to be here
and to appreciate being here. To feel that you’re alive and be in touch with your heart. That’s it!
That’s it!

….The chance to be part if this [human life] happens briefly. The invitation is not to show how
inventive and imaginative you are, but how much you can notice what you’re already a part of. And
appreciate it and share it. You care about those that are around you. Look out for their welfare

whilst you look out for your own. That’s it. And then you’ll get to the end of it, having had an
awesome time. Knowing that it is something you would recommend to others.

…The world is creaking under the strain of this inordinately complicated mass of humanity and
actually, you know, it’s really simple.

When you came here, you came here with a sense of awe and wonder, dying to just see what it’s all
about. It’s like, what would it be like to be down there? To be a part of it? And you came here with a
sense of wonder, and somehow, the wonder of it wasn’t enough. And we stopped wondering and
started to wonder about ourselves. And in wondering about yourself, you forgot what you came here
for. What you came to be a part of”.

My final invitation is to ask yourself: How can I live more lightly? How can I live more simply?

You never know, you might be surprised by how liberated and free you feel.

References:
1) Could burning out be your breakthrough: https://reenergizedliving.com/can-burning-out-be-
your-breakthrough/
2) Depression as a symptom: https://reenergizedliving.com/depression-as-a-symptom-an-
alternative-perspective/
3) There She Glows – Volume 3: https://www.lulu.com/shop/carli-thorpe/there-she-glows-
volume-3/paperback/product-6zr752.html?page=1&pageSize=4
4) The Art of Holding Space: https://centreforholdingspace.com/the-art-of-holding-space/
5) Burgs. By Mt. Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2RWfF7YOU8

Carli Thorpe
Wellness Coach & Mentor at Vitality Naturally Holistic | Website

Carli Thorpe is the creator of Vitality Naturally Holistic and a Wellness Coach & Mentor, certified as a Pilates Instructor, Energy Alignment Method Mentor & Life Coach and Embodied Dance Facilitator. She has also studied with the Heartmath Institute, completing the trauma-informed Resilient Heart certification; META-Health & Lifestyle Prescriptions; Therapeutic Exercise and has certificates in Anatomy & Physiology; Nutrition and Mental Health First Aid.

Carli empowers others to take back control of their well-being, so they can live with natural vitality and joy. By intuitively guiding self-mastery for wellness, she shares powerful tools, techniques and knowledge learned through her personal journey and studies, advocating ‘self-care first’ across the four fundamental elements of wellness - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual (the PEMS approach©). Carli passionately believes that everyone is worthy of wellness. Her vision is of a world where every person feels empowered and has access to use the tools, techniques and
knowledge that facilitates well-being self-mastery.

Related Posts

The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

What comes to mind when you think of the word touch? Do you think of healing and well-being? When most people think of physical touch, they may not connect it to words such as immune support, stress- reduction, or overall mind-and-body wellness. I’ve been a Massage...

TKO Immune Boosting Fresh Juice Recipe

TKO Immune Boosting Fresh Juice Recipe

2 Whole Apples 1 Grapefruit 1 Lemon 2 Oranges 2 Kale Leaves 1 Large Cucumber 1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger 6 Celery Sticks with Leaves 1 Beet 5 Medium Carrots Before juicing, make sure to: Use organic products Do not let your fresh juice sit longer than 20 minutes...

Spiritual Wellness and Its Relation to Alkalized Ionized Water

Spiritual Wellness and Its Relation to Alkalized Ionized Water

I lived my whole life dehydrated. I didn’t know I was dehydrated, because I did drink water; however, I wasn’t aware that not all water was the same. I understood there was bottled water, spring water, bottled alkaline water, well water, reverse osmosis water,...

Natural Stress Relief – 10 Ways To Achieve Your Zen

Natural Stress Relief – 10 Ways To Achieve Your Zen

When it comes to stress relief, many sufferers of stress and anxiety choose to adhere to the common methods outlined by western medicine and culture. If you’re experiencing negative side effects or not finding that these common solutions are working to relieve your...

Mind Flex – Own the Journey

Mind Flex – Own the Journey

Not only is reading good for the mind, but it is good for the soul. And there is nothing better than soaking up the spring sunshine with a refreshing drink and a great book! Take a look at the reads below that will get your mind, body, and soul connection working and...

What is Complementary Care?

What is Complementary Care?

Complementary Care is a combination of Standard (Western) Medical treatments and Alternative (Eastern) Care. Medicine Net Defines Complementary Care as:A group of diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines that are used together with standard or conventional medicine....