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
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Treasures of Ireland: Piped Inside Ashford Castle
The Palladian Traveler enters into a world of regal
elegance wrapped in Irish charm as he files his latest dispatch from inside
one of the Emerald Isle's most storied fortresses.
As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the
most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The
majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were
spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me
understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they
get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that
of a vast vista of the Pacific.
Chuuk + Wrecks = Scuba Divers' Paradise
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
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Discovering Art, Culture and Cuisine in Lancaster
Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass
through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different.
I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised!
I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community
spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles
north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
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!
Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'
When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your
sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill
blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted
genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the
opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale
there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout
each one of the 11 original songs.
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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