If your mind were a suitcase and could only hold five things what would they be

“If your mind were a suitcase and could only hold five things, what would they be?”

—Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Amy Shamblen

About 10 years ago we bought a set of luggage from a local warehouse store. It was a good value, the right color and the set of three pieces conveniently fit inside one another for easy storage. This was actually a second set and we justified it because we packed heavy for some longer trips to address all contingencies, and our desire to not use unfamiliar laundry facilities.

Prior to our recent move from Michigan to Pennsylvania we amusingly donated more than two thirds of our luggage and about a third of our possessions, realizing that traveling lighter had many advantages.

Keeping our most essential items was a step in the right direction to reduce both our physical and mental loads.

EXERCISE:

What size mental suitcase are you carrying around? What are the five most important things packed inside? A small backpack may actually be all you need.

The mind is like the stomach

“The mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests.”

Albert J. Nock, 20th Century American Libertarian Author

image of a panda eating bamboo leaves

Image from Unsplash by Debbie Molle

Did you know that a panda’s daily diet consists almost entirely of the leaves, stems, and shoots of various bamboo species? Bamboo contains very little nutritional value so pandas must eat 12-38 kilograms – that is, 26-83 pounds – every day to meet their energy needs. With this volume pandas can spend up to 14 hours a day eating.

What are you feeding your mind each day? How much nutrient-rich super foods for your mind do you ingest and digest? Alternatively, how much junk food – including forms of media – are coming your way, creating malnutrition of the mind?

EXERCISE:

Given the phrase “you are what you eat,” how can and will you be a far better dietician / nutritionist for your mind to lead a healthier, more optimal life?

#97: “It has been my observation that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Could it be that simple? Can we just make the choice to be happy?

We have all heard stories of people with great beauty, talent, and financial wealth who are miserable. We are also aware of entire societies where people have very limited worldly possessions, yet live joyful lives.

What’s the secret? Can we actually be the architects of our own happy lives?

Abraham Lincoln refers to the word “mind” as the source. Today, there’s the entire field of positive psychology to explore this in great detail.

Exercise:

Consider purchasing a copy of Martin Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness or Tal Ben-Shahar’s book Happier, and make up your own mind.

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