I lost some of my stuff last week.
After a few days working in Norway, I caught my plane home only to find that the storms and weather in central Europe had disrupted my plans quite a bit! I eventually landed back in Manchester many hours later than planned, and together with half a plane full of passengers, discovered that our luggage had not made it back with us.
It's always interesting to engage in a spot of people-watching at times like this. Some people were frustrated and pleading with the airport team to do something, some were talking angrily on their phones explaining how ridiculous the whole situation was, and one person was in tears.
This has happened to me a number of times before - so I could empathise with all of those reactions. It's not just about being without your clothes/essentials for a day or so, it's about the fear of (potentially) letting something go forever - you might never see that favourite pair of socks or one-off present again.
It's in this place where the 'monkey mind' often takes over, tempting us to revert to to our limbic, 'chimp' brain, driven by emotion. It's contagious. Prof Steve Peters captures this brilliantly in his book 'The Chimp Paradox':
Having a chimp is like owning a dog. You are not responsible for the nature of that dog, but you are responsible for managing it and keeping it well behaved.
It takes immense effort to consciously step back and have a word with our slower, deliberate, rational selves and sit (uncomfortably) with what we fear. Would it really be that bad if that suitcase never turned up?
And the same is true of all the associated emotions. I was aware of an instant flash of disappointment when initially hearing that my flight was delayed. After deciding not to join some of my fellow passengers in their group rage, that feeling was quickly replaced by a hit of gratitude, realising I had a little extra time to finish the book I was reading. Maybe even a bonus podcast or two that I wouldn't have otherwise had a chance to digest.
Turns out Elsa was right. Letting go of some of our 'stuff' is important.
If only to allow yourself to sit with the feeling of not having it, and realise that it's almost always never as bad as you thought.