Updated: Aug 25, 2020
“Just one more thing…” It never fails. Every time I pack my bags I’m confident that ‘just one more thing’ can fit. I try to travel light - bringing only one carry-on bag if I’m gone for two weeks or less. In order to accomplish this, I often stuff the bag so full I can hardly zipper it. Once packed, over my shoulder it goes and I’m off on another adventure.
I call it ‘My Laos Bag’. It’s not an original name; it’s where the bag came from. It was a gift from my mom back in 2010. It’s been around the world and inevitably is the bag that is overstuffed with clothes, laptops, books, toiletries, and other curious odds and ends that I travel with.
When I first got the bag, its colors were vibrant and the bottom had a hard plastic insert between the fabric so that it would stand upright on its own. Today, its colors have faded, there are several holes (some patched, others still gaping) and the plastic insert has disintegrated into small pieces. Most of the pieces have been removed; some fell out on their own leaving a trail of ‘chips’ in my wake, others I have shaken out into the garbage. My stitching job is not the greatest - I focus on sturdiness, not beauty (mainly because I’m not very good at sewing but also because I’m typically in a hurry trying to stitch it up) - and has left the bag looking like the Velveteen Rabbit.
Honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing to travel with, but I have a hard time giving it up. During one of my trips, TSA pulled the bag for inspection. I felt obligated to apologize for its condition. Surprisingly the agent responded, ‘I’m sure this bag holds many memories. You can’t give it up.” She was right.
To this day I use the bag, but I know not to put anything in the side pocket as it is likely to make its way to the inward parts of the bag and either get lost or, if small enough, fall out the bottom hole of the bag. I know I need to patch it up and really should take it to a professional if I want to keep it, but I just can’t seem to find the time; which is an excuse, I know.
How often are our lives like my Laos bag? What once started out beautiful and sturdy now has been dulled and can be embarrassing to bring out into public. We’ve been worn down by piling on ‘just one more thing’; whether it's another task work has added to our plates, running our kids to ‘just one more’ activity, helping out a friend because that’s what a good friend does, or a myriad of other ‘one more things.’ None of these are inherently bad or wrong but often we push ourselves to the limit and find ourselves rushing, stuffing ourselves with food that we can get on the run, and have little time to quiet our bodies and properly take care of ourselves. We then end up with health issues, suffering from insomnia, becoming addicted to something, or in some other condition that is far from what we ever hoped to become.
As I contemplated the theme for this health tip, I looked up the significance of the number 11. According to several sources I read, in Biblical terms, the number 11 is associated with judgment. In other belief systems, 11 seems to be associated with balance. Many would see these two as polar opposites, but I propose that they are actually the same.
Many look at judgment as something negative. Often we are quick to point to certain things that happen in our world (like COVID) as a form of judgment on those who do ‘evil’, but if you look objectively at the desired outcome of judgment, the intent is to bring one back into ‘right standing’; or said differently, it is to bring one back into ‘balance’. In fact, in the Bible 1 Peter 4:17 talks about God’s judgment first coming to His people. For those who are quick to proclaim God’s judgment on others, you may want to reflect a bit more on the notion of judgment.
As opposed to a more negative view of judgment, think of it as a parent punishing her child. The goal of the punishment is to help the child understand why his behavior was not ideal and help him make better choices moving forward. I know, this view of punishment is not often what happens (even for those with the best intentions). Too often people are punished and never really given the opportunity to do better - a label is put on them and then they are seen through the lens of that label, sometimes for the rest of their lives - but the true intent of judgment (whether biblical or through the justice system) is to help people recognize where they are out of balance, give them the opportunity to make amends, and help them move forward on a positive path. Hence the reason I suggest judgment and balance are related.
I highlight the significance of the number 11 and combine it with the story of my Laos bag as a way of introducing an opportunity to bring balance back into your life, community, and workplace. If the story of my Laos bag resonates with you - that is, if you find yourself a haggard and worn down (don’t worry, you’re not alone) - check out our brand new wellness offerings.
We are offering two distinct, 4-week series designed to bring refreshment, rejuvenation + inspiration to your life. On Monday and Friday mornings we are offering our “Thirst Quenchers” Series created to help center and focus you as you start and end your week. On Thursday evenings we are hosting a “Natural Immunity” series to help ensure you stay healthy during these challenging times. Especially now, finding simple, natural, and inexpensive ways to keep you feeling refreshed and your immune system strong is vital. Don’t miss out!
If you feel your life is out of balance and are looking for a way to recenter, WellSpring of Life International is here to partner with you on your quest for wellness. Check out our events page for more information and sign up today. For those who subscribe to the newsletter, we'll send you a discount code as a thank you for joining our community.