Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Packing it in

We were fitting in a holiday breakfast as we do each year.

It's a gift my friend and I give each other every December.

Our visit is an oasis of calm in this busy season. We sit and enjoy without heed of time. 

We let no other thing be more important, for the moment, than our breakfast session with its attentive listening, laughter and cheer of a shared meal.

I"m off to Chicago next week," she announced and here was the first big topic laid on the table.

My friend furnished more detail. She was signed up for a bus tour to see Chicago in its holiday lights.

Along with shows - her group would attend three - the tour included shopping the Magnificent Mile and visiting Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium among other stops.

It sounds wonderful I told her. Packing for a vacation is, for me, about the most happy thing there is to do.

She'd soon have to consider what to bring along. We practically assembled her travel wardrobe in one sitting. 

It's always a pleasant dither to start thinking about what absolutely must come along.

The first pieces to go into her luggage would be picked for their warmth. Chicago can have a chill off Lake Michigan at this time of year.

She'd fold in something dressy for the shows and a bright pashima as a topper.

She didn't say if the shows were matinees or evening programs. Either way the idea is to get as decked up as you can. It's all part of the season. 

If you can't settle on one necklace you go for two. Jewelry takes little room in one's packed bag and antes up any look.

She wanted some practical attire for window browsing and holiday shopping along the festive stretch of Michigan Avenue.

Gloves and a muffler can be nuisances to pack but having them along can make a big difference in the long run if the weather happens to be cold.

Perhaps gloves and mufflers were on her shopping list for Chicago. It makes a rather clever plan. 

The items can serve as functional souvenirs of my friend's holiday tour. Moreover, she saves the trouble of packing them at this end.

Any active visitor knows how good it is at the end of the day to slip into something comfortable. For this reason my friend is sure to include something cozy for evenings in her hotel room. 

Everybody packs for their personality and expectations.
Some pack painstakingly. They try to cover every base. 

Others wing it. They rely on laundry services or get along without the unpacked item or purchase elsewhere any article that doesn't get along.

Another approach is to throw in a bit of this and a bit of that. The theory here must be that, like paint thrown against an easel, something you get along will work.

Some swear by several changes of shoes. Some bring a favorite pillow for optimum sleeping. Many take along an item that reminds them of home.

The experienced traveler learns you can't prepare for all contingencies. 

Foremost, you pack so you wind up with luggage which is easy to transport. 

You want pieces which are easy to access from your luggage once at your destination.

My friend packing for her bus tour leaves an impression. It dawns on me that we can all pack as if planning a vacation.

In this exercise we can pack for anywhere. It can be an actual getaway or a longing inside of us. It doesn't have to be real except in that part of our head where honest hopes have life.

We just have to choose the place, time of year, kind of accommodations we seek, and what we want to do.

As we pursue this exercise it provides insights into our daydreams. It gets us to the core of our longings.

For instance, we might think we desire a vacation somewhere warm. 

Instead, with our empty luggage set out, as we imagine it to be, we find we're filling the empty valise with hiking boots and a quilted vest. 

It comes to us that, while swimsuits and beach towels sound seductive, what we crave might be Western adventure or some other physical challenge yet untried that we aspire to.

Our hankerings, tested through this exercise, can prove a contrast to what we conceive our interests to be. It's a matter of listening to the heart and letting imagination play its role. 

The concept of empty luggage can be used for another visualizing exercise which might also be helpful.

We can pack our empty luggage with traits we wish to polish and use. The trait, skill or talent we most want to develop is likely the piece we place first in our luggage by this method of imagery.

Visualizing our luggage choices gives us chances to think about what's important. 

It can bring us closer to authentic interests. Often we assume our interests to be more significant to us than they are. This is because, much of the time, we give only superficial thinking to them.

When you pack for a trip you're committed. You're doing the real work of preparing for the experience about to come off.

It's the same way when you pack through visualization. You decide and act from what's deep inside of you.

Plan your heart's hope and then pack for it. Packing, which is the process of deliberating, deciding and readying for the future you wish to happen, is essential in making dreams become real.

Ro Giencke - December 19,  2012

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