I got into the passenger seat of my car and closed the door. “Did I pack everything?”
I asked David, who was taking me to the rental car office. From there, I’d rent a car and drive to Texas to continue our Waking Up In America Tour
I recited the short list I have memorized over years of touring: instruments, performing clothes, shoes, make up and hair stuff, my laptop, driver’s license and a credit card, something to sleep in, undergarments and an outfit to change into. “Yup! I got everything!” I told him and we pulled out of the driveway.
“It’s funny with how little we need when we are on the road,” I added, thinking of the five large containers of Christmas decorations I had just put away.
Perhaps it’s because when I tour, I am fulfilled doing what I love to do, and so anything which is not a necessity becomes truly unnecessary.
Also, traveling light feels a lot better when you get to the hotel at 2 am exhausted. Who needs that third pair of shoes then? 🙂
But the most important thing about packing for a trip is our decision to do with less. We decide what we absolutely need as we travel, and what we are perfectly (and willingly) fine without.
It’s a lot like life itself, don’t you think?
A few days later, I was sitting in my dressing room in Terrell, TX and in between two shows, I thought I’d write this email.
David texted me: “Write about winds of change. How one gets older and spiritually moves into another frame of mind and different things become more important. The things one thought were must-haves are not a priority any more.”
“Like chocolate?” I joked in response. I have to have good, quality, dark chocolate nearby – at all times 🙂
Life is a journey, after all, and what we take on that journey matters. What we hold on to and what we are willing to let go of – and do without – what we need or want, changes over time.
Last fall, my son moved into a college dorm with a kitchen. He loves to eat good food, so being able to cook is a priority to him. So he got a nice cast iron skillet, a pairing knife, a nice chopping knife, a stainless steel pot, a few plates and some silverware. He can make any meal with just that. He doesn’t need any of the little gadgets that the late night infomercials try to convince us are a necessity.
Still, when I sent him a box with a pillow he had forgotten at home, I snuck a beautiful little tea pot into it. Sure he doesn’t need a tea pot, but this one will make his afternoons a bit more poetic.
I hadn’t heard back from him about it yet… He likes to journey ‘light’ without too much stuff. And he knows I won’t get offended if he brings it back next time he comes home. He knows I get the importance of ‘letting go’ – even at his age… or especially at his age when he is learning to be independent and courageous.
I like to journey light too… but there are times when that’s more challenging. When I go through boxes of stuff we don’t use anymore, or when I try to thin out my closet, I find it difficult to let go of stuff that has emotional value to me.
But if we don’t let go of stuff, we can easily end up in a huge, suffocating mess!
(Have you heard of Italian tradition of throwing out old items on New Year’s Eve? They will throw away old clothes, furniture, pots, and pans – out the window, as a symbolic gesture of letting go of the past.)
I read that we spend the first part of our lives acquiring (stuff, wealth, status, acquaintances and networks of people who could help advance our careers) and that we spend the second part emptying – or making space – for what becomes more important. Like spiritual fulfillment, relationships, and experiences (Richard Rohr’s “Falling Upward” is a wonderful book about this).
After a few moments, another text from David popped up on my phone: “Write about how [your priorities change and] acoustic music is more appealing.”
Yes, when we were younger, all the sound effects and reverbs and production was super cool. And we had to have it all! But as we grow older, we like to hear music that makes space for the emotion we really want to experience.
What can you let go of – or literally throw out the window – that will make space for new and more fulfilling?
How can you lighten your load that will make your journey more enjoyable?