Repacking Your Bag

Life today is hectic. We would all like to sit down and smell the roses. Deadlines, crises and anxiety fills the air. In spite of all our technological advances we seem to be more frenetic every day. Our kids don’t remember the early days of micro computing. It promised to make us more efficient and ergo have more spare time. Au contraire.
Let’s just take a moment and put the laptops and IPads away. Kathy and I are celebrating our fourtieth wedding anniversary on the beautiful island of Hawaii. It is in a word magnificent for a number of reasons.
I brought only two books. One is by Michael Gelb on Leonardo DaVinci and the other “Repacking Your Bags” by Leider and Shapiro. Both are escapes from the everyday. Both are fabulous.
In “Repacking” the concept is really quite simple. The sum of life’s experiences and relationships make up your bag. Like an attic or basement or desk drawer, from time to time it gets terribly cluttered. Some things mean a lot to you and some have absolutely no bearing on where you are in life.
You unpack your bag. You lay it all out on the bed. You separate into piles that have to do with place, love, work and purpose.



Place is everything physical. Where you live. Your country. Your state .Your county. Your town. What does your house look like? Your favorite chair? Your car.? Your clothes?

Love encompasses every person you have a relationship with. Good or bad. Social or work. It can be your club or your religion. Your husband or wife. Your neighbor. Your close friends.

Your work is obvious. It’s what you do. Do you love it because it makes you money or hopefully because it also makes you happy? Not always an easy distinction.

Lastly is purpose. It is a very lofty but important facet. Why am I here on this earth? If you believe in God what did he have in mind? If you believe in fate where do the stars cross?

In doing this some things will become readily apparent. First is the amount of useless or negative stuff we have in our bag. These accumulate over time by sheer habit or neglect. The second is how incredibly difficult it is to leave some things behind. An old sweater. An nagging avocation. A long lost love.

Our society lends one to being part of the crowd. As much as we love to think of ourselves as free thinkers, the maxims of today’s world make it more and more difficult. Look right. Act appropriately. Don’t deviate from the norm. What will people think?

As you repack your bag, you look at each and everything with great intensity. It this where I really want to be or who I want to be with? Am I traveling down the road to fulfillment or wasting precious time? Who are you kidding? Only yourself.

It is a difficult journey but fraught with excitement. It can’t be done in a day or a week. To be done right it takes time. It should be done by young and old. It tends to provoke mid life crises in all walks of life. And that is good.

I find myself more alive each day. I question and question and question. I seek out people. I want to learn. On this beautiful island there are palm trees and flora but there are also huge fields of volcanic rock. There is an absolute reality of creation. There is an incredible air of simplicity. The people welcoming and genuine.

I know this is more philosophical that political. And no, I am not drinking or smoking anything as I write. I hope this will inspire you to at least take a long look at your bag even if you don’t unpack it. In a very strange way we should probably do this as a country if not the world. Okay big fella, one thing at a time.

I have to go. I have to repack. I have a lot to do. So many decisions to make. And that is cool. I hope you do too.

The formula for the good life in the book is: “Living in the Place you belong, with the People you love, doing the right Work on Purpose.” Not bad.

As Always

Ted the Great

Factoid: When JFK was innaugurated the were approximately 3 billion residents on planet Earth. There are now 6.9 billion. At that time, 70% of the current population of the United States weren’t born yet.

3 thoughts on “Repacking Your Bag

  1. Good Stuff Ted ! Happy Anniversary to you at Kathy. Lucy & I celebrted our 50th on the Big Island last June and brought out two sons and their families over to be with us too. It was a great time and we made memories.


  2. There goes that TTG…trying to unclutter my head once again!
    What a nice way to start the day.
    Thanks for a thoughtful column and perspective.

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