Empty your bags: create space to fill your life with joy

In our lives, whether we are parents or not, grieving or not, experiencing change or not, we all have times when our 'bags' feel full.   Our head is full to overwhelm and we feel restricted by demands and expectations. What if we simply emptied our bags?

“Sometimes in life you have to empty your bags so there is space to fill them up”

(Mia Moretti, Australian Harper’s Bazaar, May 2017)

I'm sure Mia wasn't refer to our emotional baggage when she gave this quote. In fact, I know she was not referring to emotional baggage. In the interview (in Australian Harpers Bazaar, May 2017) she was simply referring to a time when she and a fellow band member had gone to the wrong airport.  By the time they realised, it was too late to grab their luggage.  Instead, they had to rush to the correct plane (at a different airport) with nothing but the few items they had in their hands. They went on a tour with no bags.  And had a fabulous time!

For most of us, that sounds like a nightmare. Travelling without any luggage.  Yikes!

And yet there is something liberating about travelling, and living, without our bags being full.

Emptying the possessions bag

We have recently moved into an apartment from our larger house, and my husband has commented that it is like a holiday house.  I asked him why was this the case. He replied simply because there is less maintenance. No lawns or garden to be attended to on a weekly basis, and far fewer belongings for us to tend and care for each week.

We are surrounded simply by the things we absolutely need and love.

I estimate that between sixty and seventy percent of our belongings have been given away or are in storage.  As much as I thought we may miss those belongings, we do not. There have been only one or two items where I’ve found myself thinking, ‘Oh, I’d like to use that, but I can't because it in storage’.  This is very interesting, and illuminating!

We live our lives with so much stuff.  When we are given the opportunity to declutter or remove some of the ‘stuff’ from our life, it can feel incredibly challenging and difficult.

Yet, when we do it, we feel liberated.  Free.  Happy.

Empty your time

Of course, emptying your bag can also relate to how you spend your time and who you spend that time with.

When we empty our time from those things that we no longer enjoy, or people who know longer make us feel good, we create space for new activities and people to turn up in our lives.

In this way, your ‘bag’ can be your personal commitments and use of time.  Emptying your schedule of commitments you don't enjoy, and then protecting your time can have a huge impact on your sense of wellbeing.

Emotional bags

But what about emotions and emotional baggage?  Even after a declutter of our physical items, we can still feel burdened with emotional clutter.  Emotional stuff tends to come with us regardless of what has happened to the physical stuff.  It’s in our heads, and we carry it with us where ever we may go.  It's a bag that is hard to get rid of.

But here's what I've been thinking about.

What if we intentionally chose to empty our bags and move forward without some of that emotional noise?

I'm not prescribing we should forget people, places or things that have happened in our lives that have been impactful.

Rather, that we let go of all the extra emotional stuff that is holding us back. The noise, the judgements the pain and sorrow.  And instead, move forward with grace, forgiveness, ease and confidence. We would be moving forward into a life of joy.

Action needed  - empty your bag

Where can you today remove something from your life that is metaphorically in your bag, to be able to bring more of what you love into your daily life?

  • Perhaps it is an emotional burden you've been carrying that has not been serving you, that you need to release?
  • Or perhaps it is physical clutter that reminds you of a past that you know longer feel aligned with that you need to move out of your space?
  • Maybe it is commitments you have made to other people, where the commitment or cause does not bring you satisfaction, or that you need to politely decline and create space for things that you truly love?

Whatever it may be, know that by taking the first steps towards emptying your bag, you are creating space for it to be filled with things that light you up, bring you happiness and contribute to living a life full of joy, hope and love.

Sometimes, as Mia states, we need to empty our bag in order to fill it up.

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Creating space for more joy

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