Gratitude Sparks Joy

Read time: 4 minutes

A few days ago, my partner and I came across a store that sold suitcases. We had both been in the market to buy new carry-on suitcases for at least half a year but it wasn’t an urgent need so we hadn’t purposely looked around until we randomly came across a big travel accessories shop that was right smack in front of us.

We looked around and settled for some new ones that we have yet to love, but we both agreed it was time to finally replace our old carry-ons. We brought the new ones home and I got excited about the new adventures that would follow with them.

I brought out the two old suitcases. One of them went to a friend so I was happy it could still serve a purpose, but the other (older) one was so destroyed that it was time for it to go to the landfill. I had so wished that there was a way to recycle it or make use of it somehow but there was no saving it.

Without hesitating further, the minimalist side of me took action and I took it out to the trash on my way out of the house to dinner. I parked it next to the trash and recycling bins hoping that there could still be a last chance that it could be responsibly disposed, or who knows, maybe someone would find it useful, or turn it into art? As I walked away and looked back at it, I suddenly I felt so emotional. I felt so guilty and nostalgic. I walked away before I had a chance to mindfully process what I was letting go of and didn’t have a chance to thank it. I had let the desire to not be late to dinner, the desire to maintain a clean household and the convenience of taking it to trash on my way out to dinner win over mindfulness. I couldn’t believe myself. I know how silly it may sound but I wish I took a minute to Marie Kondo the process before I acted so hastily. See, even meditation teachers have their not-so-mindful moments.

I started thinking about how many places I had traveled with it, how many times I had moved between countries and houses within the city, how it accompanied me on multiple film tours when I worked as a film publicist, how it broke into the China market with me which was a huge milestone in my former career, how it carried my wedding dress, how it was almost always the only reliable suitcase I would take, even on month long trips because I love traveling lightly and like to avoid checking in bags as much as possible.

It’s been 2 days and I still feel guilty and nostalgic. So as silly as it may be, I wanted to thank it in spirit since it was too late to share my gratitude towards it physically. If I wished to answer to the guilt and nostalgia, I knew that I needed to be honest and present with my emotions.

So in case you feel like you may have hastily given up a person, animal or object of sentimental value too soon, let this be a reminder for us to take a step back and reflect and tap into gratitude. Gratitude sparks joy and sets you free.

So here’s a Gratitude Reflection that I created for my sentimental carry-on suitcase. I hope it could serve as a template for you to say a proper thank you and goodbye if you had missed your opportunity to do so in the past, or need to let go of something or someone in the present or future.

And I don’t mean to compare letting go of a suitcase to letting go of a life form, but sometimes letting go of an object means grieving a part of you, or someone that you care for and that holds just as much weight. No one else can be the judge of how much weight it carries but you and grieving of any kind is a very personal process.

My Gratitude Reflection: (Remember, this is just a guideline so revise it so it resonates with you)

“Thank you dear suitcase for coming into my life.

Thank you to all the energies it took to make this suitcase. The humans and machinery that it took to create, invest, build, sell and transport it to the store where I bought it, and to the staff at the store who worked there so that the shop existed in the first place.

Thank you to my old job that created the financial abundance for me to take this lovely suitcase home and create memories with it.

Thank you dear suitcase for all the travel adventures the last 8 years, for providing so much empty space for me to fill physically and emotionally and for being so utterly reliable,

Thank you for serving your purpose. You were absolutely fantastic.

I miss you.

I love you.

Thank you.”

I then followed with a mini Reiki healing practice focusing on healing the guilt and finding harmony in letting go of this suitcase and what it represented.