It’s evening and I’m sitting by a campfire. I can see the outline of distant mountains and hear the nearby stream softly tumbling along. The full moon hangs gently in a sky filled with stars. I look at the oversized backpack I have dropped to the ground beside me. For many years I’ve shouldered this heavy load and when it was too heavy to carry or I got too weak, I’ve dragged it along behind me over rocky terrain.
I can’t do it anymore.
I unzip the backpack and watch as the jumbled contents spill out. I don’t know if I will survive what I find, as pieces of my history fall to the ground and into the campfire’s light; broken dreams, tangles of uncertainty and fear, sharp edges of grief. I have read that the past is something we take with us. I have also read that the past is something we leave behind.
In truth, this is a decision we each make. In this quiet space I choose to leave behind the heaviness that no longer serves me. I choose to gather up my stories and notice the gifts embedded in them like veins of gold. These are mine to carry forward, and my load is now lighter for the stories no longer hold any blame. Instead they point the way and lead me to the center of myself.