Doesn’t that picture give you an vivid visual of what depression, anxiety and/ or chronic pain feels like?  Have you been there – are you there right now?  Check out her “fake”smile.  Who knows what that smile feels like?  Are you wearing it right now?  Well, here are the thousand words for that picture…

This is the story of the “the backpack”.  It is a metaphysical story; meaning that it is an explanation of how Universal Life Force Energy communicates with us.  It is an analogy created specifically for the purpose of providing an explanation to someone in crisis who is locked into the how and why of depression, anxiety and chronic pain of what could be “going on” in their life.  I have used this story, in many different versions,  in my private practice for the last 6 years.  I change it each time to suit the specific details of the individual I am working with.  I trust, that in its most general form, here today, that it will provide for You, as it has for so many others, a simple aha moment…

It is believed by many that, we, as spiritual beings in physical bodies make the choice, or volunteer to come to this place and time; and we do so for a specific reason, a lesson or a task.  I personally doubted this theory myself for most of my life.  However over the last 10 years or so, I have had too much evidence to deny the possibility any longer.  My doubt was fueled most ferociously during the “tough times” by the question why the *^%#  would I choose THIS to happen to me?  Whether it was event(s) I deemed horrible and unbearable taking shape in my life; debilitating depression, constant rage or unbearable chronic pain – why in God’s name would I choose that in my life?

Well, in that moment that we decided to come to this space and time (earth, in a physical body) we made an agreement with our Creator; an agreement that we were coming  here to “experience” all that life as a physical body has to offer.  The cost of this trip is that we do not recollect anything before or after this experience.  We are in the moment.  However, we are given a parting gift.  Something to take with us on our journey.  I call it – wait for it – The Backpack.

The purpose of our backpack is to “be able” to carry with us everything that we “need” in order to make our journey of Self Discovery over the next few minutes to several decades to a millennium – whatever the term of this contract.  What happens though is that we are not consciously aware of the backpack and we misunderstand its purpose.  We do not put our valuables in the pack… we put EVERYTHING in the pack.  Every thought, every experience, everything.

Image that each experience – whether we label it good or bad – has a physical form with a physical weight; it could be the size of a marble, a bowling ball or a boulder depending on the impact on us at the time.

Every time you experience something, at that moment you have a choice – do I keep this and put it in my backpack because I may need it later or do I acknowledge it as an experience and let it go.  When we are Consciously Self Aware it is a simple task… yes,  I will keep it for now or maybe forever OR no thank you, I no longer need that.  BUT… when we are not consciously aware we just automatically keep everything.

This is where physical and mental conditions like fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety and depression take a hold of us.  {Today, we are not going to be discussing the how this happens (4 levels of awareness) but why this happens (the backpack syndrome).}

Okay, back to that moment that you, as a spiritual being made the agreement to come to this space and time to experience a physical existence.  Imagine that you are at the train station, destination earth and your travel agent – let’s call them God – passes you the backpack.  Like a little kid excited for the first day of school you proudly strap it to your back.  You are so excited that you are not really paying attention to what the travel agent has been saying for the last 5 minutes – wawawawawawa…  all of the sudden your attention is snapped back in the last 7 words of the conversation… “so all that goes in the backpack!”  Have an awesome experience.  On the train you get.

You arrive here.  Your Universal mind is still connected to your Creator but a physical mind, the ego, has been created as well.  Universal Mind or Spirit says “here’s our backpack; ALL of our experiences go in here”.  Ego says, “well okay then that is the way it must be then”.  Every millisecond of everyday you are having an experience.  Some are marbles, some are bowling balls and yes, some are boulders.  And they are ALL going into the backpack.

It is heavy and burdensome.  It hurts to keep carrying it.  It feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.  But your Ego will not let your Spirit put it down – simply because ” that is the way it must be”.  Ego is strong and in charge; Spirit is weak from neglect and the burden of carrying the backpack for so long (insert the number of years that you have been alive right here).  “This is not fun; this is not what I signed up for.  I do not want to have anymore experiences – they are too much for me to bare” says Spirit.  Ego replies “too bad, suck it up”.  And that conversation, my friends, can and will continue until that moment that Spirit breaks through and loses its shit.

Please remember that this is an incredibly simplified metaphysical analogy for where many people with mental illness and physical symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain are today.

So what is next…

In that pinnacle moment Spirit puts the backpack down and takes a breath – possibly for the first time EVER.  Be it for 10 minutes or 10 years – it does not matter to Spirit as time is irrelevant.  To Ego though, every minute counts.  Somewhere in that space of time the conversation with the travel agent (God, Universal Life Force Energy, Higher Self – whatever works for you) is re-membering – putting all of the pieces back together again.  It is in this moment that we recollect the little pieces of our True and Authentic Self.  It leads to asking questions AND getting answers.  At first,  it is just whispers difficult to hear over the screaming of Ego; but the longer Spirit pursuits this line of questioning, the louder and more clear the connection with Source becomes.

Finally, the moment of truth arrives when we get the courage to open the backpack up, take everything out and reconnect to who we were truly meant to be.  Some people feel the need to re-examine every item in the backpack – deciding what to keep and what to “let go of”; others know immediately what to let go of; others still just let it all go and start over with a new awareness.  There is no right or wrong.  Only the will to understand and a genuine knowing that your backpack is for your treasures  and not for everything you ever experienced.

Cleaning out the backpack everyday is important for your physical and mental health!  What is even more important is to discover the tools you need in your cleaning kit.

For me my tools are simple and light to carry.  They include:

  1. My Core Values. I got really clear on the values that drive me to be my true and authentic self.  I am either in or out of alignment with who I am meant to be.  I know this  because I use those values as my radar system.  If something does not bring into my experience Purposefulness, Balance and Abundance then it is simply an experience; not something I hold onto.  To determine your Core Values check out my 3 hour empowerment program called Discover Your Authentic Self.
  2. My daily Reiki Practice – an energy healing technique that balances the energy of body, mind and spirit. It heals physical, emotional, mental and spiritual discord.  I treat myself everyday and have the privilege of treating others as a part my professional practice as a Reiki Master Teacher.
  3. My twice daily Meditation Practice – one is an active meditation were I implement 6 phases of my personal development and one is to connect to my higher self, to be guided by the inspiration found in the silence of my higher-mind.

There are a vast myriad of tools for your tool kit; your journey is to discover what works best for you.  Be patient and kind to yourself.  This is not a 2 minute solution.  It is a life time of commitment to yourself.  It is a lifestyle called happiness and success.

It has taken me 10 years to make my backpack as compact as possible; but today, I know what keeps it real  and provides the tools to clean out my backpack every day.  I can honestly say I am prosperous, successful and happy.  For that, I am grateful to Spirit for having the strength and courage to get in Egos face!  I wish you this courage as well!   Namaste  ~ Traci