What do you take? What do you leave?

Comedian George Carlin had a wonderful routine about “stuff” that directly addressed the issue of what to take and what to leave, i.e. if you go on a vacation, what do you take with you? Then, if while there you get invited to stay the night somewhere, what subset of your stuff do you take with you? His delivery is hilarious.

But let’s ask the same question in several other contexts?

Suppose you’re a handyman, it’s Saturday morning and you have 3 appointments scheduled. Based upon the appointments you may take a general purpose toolbox, and perhaps several other tools to fit the specific needs of the appointments. And then your wife gives you a “honey-do” list for the day and tells you to remember your lunch… and “can you bring something back for dinner?” If you wish to keep your wife and your clients happy, it would behoove you to be organized and have all your “to-do’s” written down in an organized fashion, and take with you all the tools and paperwork required.

So let’s say you get your truck loaded, you check your list, open the garage door and drive away to the day’s adventure. What did you take, and what did you leave? 1) You took you consciousness and your capabilities, you took the things you needed for the day, and all your experience and beliefs, and all your expectations as to what will happen, what time you will return, and your feelings and sensations. 2) You left the world you call “home”, i.e. house, wife, family, dog, and related categories, and all your accumulation of stuff.

You’ve all heard the question: “Would there be a sound if a tree fell in the forest and no one (and no instrument) was there to hear it?” So here’s another question. Is “home” still in existence when you leave it, taking your consciousness to another environ? Whether or not your home continues to exist in perceived “physicality”, you expect that it persists and that, for the most part, it will not have changed when you return. And dependent on the forces of the moment, you’ll get what you expect.

But let’s look at this from another angle. How are you adding to and enhancing your experience, and the experience of others, and what are your “takeaways”? What do you take with you when you leave any environ? Your experiences and your conclusions (which are experiences too), i.e. what you learn. The book of Deuteronomy has a great suggestion, something to the effect of: “I have set before you Life and Death. Therefore choose Life.” So take those experiences that come to you, learn from them, be joyful, and move on to the next experience.

Seymour Lovejoy