Cesare Pavese says: “If you want to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your desires, jealousy, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.”

We all travel through life with memories, experiences, and stories that serve as the backdrop to our lives. We approach each new encounter carrying an invisible backpack filled with everything we think we need to successfully navigate through life. If we looked carefully in our backpacks, we would find joyous memories, satisfying moments, financial successes, hopes and dreams. These are full of sadness, unforgiveness, loss, and fear. Although our lives are filled with a myriad of experiences, we often dismiss the good and amplify the bad.

Psychologists have found that despite the good things we have accomplished, negative emotions are processed in a different hemisphere of the brain than positive emotions. Because of this, negative emotions require more thought and more information to resolve. Additionally, Professor Roy Baumeister, co-author of Bad Is Stronger Than Good, found that bad experiences impact us more than good ones. This makes it easy for us to forget the things we are thankful for.

To lighten our bags and empty our invisible backpacks so that we can travel fast, we must unpack negative beliefs, relentless attitudes we justify clinging to, and “did me wrong” stories. We must eliminate as many things that weigh us down as we can.

Start transforming your life and unpacking your backpack by doing the following:

Remember the Good that happens to you. Five (5) good things will change one (1) negative experience. This is a great time to start a Gratitude Journal or a “Daily Miracle Journal.” List five or more things for which you are grateful. In gratitude, there are no limits; there are no miracles big or small. There is only gratitude. In one year, you will have between 365 and 1,825 “daily” miracles.

Bragging lists. Create a list of the things you have accomplished that you can boast about. Try to list seven things. Keep this list available and review it weekly at a minimum. Your bragging list will remind you that in the midst of each new storm you are quite amazing and have already conquered many storms. When life whispers “You can’t stand the storm.” You answer: “I AM the storm.”

Identify the miracle. Each experience brings with it a litany of lessons and blessings. List the lessons learned, the knowledge gained. If you can’t change the situation, use the lessons learned and ideas gained so that you can change the way you think about it. Asking yourself how you can grow from this experience will help you find the golden nugget in the midst of what you perceived as darkness.

Now your bags are lighter. What is your next stop?

Get on board. Your dream awaits you.

Dream big! Live the life you have imagined.

Remember, life is too short to drink cheap champagne.

The invisible backpack: travel light to travel far

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