a client came to session holding a brown paper bag. He opened
the bag and removed a frame. In the frame was an exquisite pencil
drawing of an empty suitcase. His brother had drawn the picture
and it was called 'Empty Baggage'. The client told me that the
picture was a symbol of what we were trying to attain and focus
on in therapy. So, like the picture, his frame of mind would parallel
the suitcase. He said that he identified with the suitcase which
once held many things, and was now empty. He too felt his mind
held many unnecessary items crammed full with old memories that
needed to be cleared. The client said it felt like he had been
carrying around a "fully stuffed" suitcase for a long
time. He observed that he had been lugging around unresolved issues
in his life, keeping them inside, internalizing them. These neglected
issues had obstructed his clarity of thought and greatly misguided
his behaviors. He commented that the empty suitcase represented
what he hoped to accomplish in our work together. The process
we were engaged in for him to get rid of his "baggage"
and be content.
As the client assessed his thoughts and actions, he realized that
he "over intellectualized" and spent too much time involved
in obsessive thoughts. He was "in his head" so much
that it blocked his ability to feel, clouded his decision making,
and led to self deceptions. He found himself increasingly anxious.
Bogged down by much from his past, he could not be present in
the here and now. He needed to "empty his suitcase"-
When a person does commit to emptying his or her
baggage, whether it is with therapy or another self-help discipline,
it's not easy. But like the empty suitcase, they begin to act
and feel lighter. This happens when we give attention to burdensome
and unresolved events that weigh us down. It is when we can be
honest, self reflective, and mindful that we begin the therapeutic
process. It is then that we truly begin to create a space to go
client felt the problem was not that he was thinking, but that
he needed to understand his thoughts. This would allow him to
clarify and reduce the cumbersome memories, for him to feel safe
in dealing with his feelings. Simply put, he had not been able
to "feel" in the past, and now he was ready to bridge
mind and feeling states and begin to experience feelings in a
deeper way. As he gave attention to the things that weighed him
down, and processed them they began to wane. This led to more
insight. Increased insight and the ability to feel emotions led
him to heightened clarity in his actions and behaviors.
Like the suitcase, the client needed to
become "empty baggage" so he could continue on his journey
less encumbered. With this transition the client discovered his
life was less complex and confusing and he could begin to experience
an open and loving heart with a sense of wonder and joy. When
this happens every experience becomes a special journey and we
are a happier fellow traveler.
Joel Polinsky MA, LMFT
License # MFC 38417
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was
five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the
Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first
became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father
conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the
road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part
series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin
where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name
of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's
important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around
the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and
they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium.
Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on
the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places
in Europe. Here's Why.
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on
the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought,
"Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part
I'm not a morning person so I had no problem leaving those
early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their
red snapper for dinner.
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach
There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room
and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is
one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced
recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure
began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took
SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas
to the ocean.
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom
Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic
television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming
a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic
River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the
camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder
and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five
years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.
Tahiti and Her Islands
Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic
images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her
people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks,
tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the
senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my
experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!
John January and Linda Berry Have Chemistry
Chemistry by its very definition is the spontaneous reaction
of two people to each other, especially that sense of mutual attraction
and understanding. This month John January and Linda Berry release their
new project, Chemistry 101 and together they explore a range and
depth of musical styles on both organic and physical levels. As a joint
labor of love, January says Chemistry 101 is pretty straight-forward.
Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, the Garden District,
the streetcar (now a bus) to Desire, the jazz clubs, the beignets at the
Café du Monde and breakfast at Brennans come to mind when you
think of New Orleans. But thats not all there is to this unique American
city, filled with treasures both culinary and cultural.
NOLA: New Orleans, Louisiana
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