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: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham
Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I
know that's an odd question, but if you grow up as I did in
London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff
of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.
Buckingham Palace It's THE Most Popular Tour
in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a
wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving
for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me
despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing
and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds.
Traveling with Beautiful Boots and a Bison Backpack
People often asked about my favorite travel apparel and
gear. This happened to me at the airport recently. One question came as
I was putting back on my clothes after going through the TSA checkpoint
striptease. Before leaving the area, I heard a soft voice say, "hey,
I really like your boots. Where did you get them?" Looking up, I
found a uniformed employee staring at my feet.
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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