Packing a suitcase

April 15, 2012

There was a game we played in elementary school sometimes that probably helped strengthen memory skills.  The player recited something like, “I’m packing my suitcase, and in it I put” and then listed what all the previous players had packed and then added an item of their own.  The rules varied about how fanciful (and memorable) the items could be.

There’s also a Jewish prayer in which how we arrived at this present moment is recognized, all the things that have brought us to where we are.  I think it’s about what has brought us to a blessed occasion, but I’m not big on categorizing events, in terms of how we think of their place in our lives, according to whether they’re pleasant or not, so I would use the concept to think about how we arrived at difficult events, as well.

I was thinking about both these traditions this morning because I feel at a bit of a crossroads, and my not altogether healthy “monkey mind” tends to voice the criticism, “If I should be doing something different now, perhaps I should have been doing it earlier, too.”  Regardless of whether that criticism gets at anything true, that line of thinking tends to result in my not doing anything different now either — kind of like a paralysis sets in.  Maybe it’s related to how dieter might think, “Well, I blew my diet already today, why bother trying to stick to it now and for the rest of the day?”  A method of self-sabotage.

It occurred to me that if I think about it in terms of the packing-the-suitcase game, I feel much freer to do something new now.  This is a new moment, stuff came before, but it’s now its own turn for an action.  How I got to this point may be the result of prior actions (and other factors, perhaps) — the Jewish prayer concept — but here I am now.

Then I can move on to trying to understand what to do now, in this present moment.

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