The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Baggage Handler

There are two short quotes from song lyrics that often stick in my head. The Eagles' Hotel California one is the first and the other is from Harry Chapin’s W.O.L.D.
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”  ~ Hotel California, The Eagles

“Sometimes I get this crazy dream that I just take off in my car. But you can travel on ten thousand miles and still stay where you are.”   ~ W.O.L.D, Harry Chapin

They seem to resonate more than just a little bit in terms of the life and times of a Baggage Handler.

So, am I really talking about airport staff here, or is it all metaphor once again?


We are all carrying metaphorical Baggage through our lives. We start carrying it sometimes before we even go to school, whilst for some it’s there in our knapsacks by the age of seven. Then we keep adding to it over the years, and it gets heavier, and we get familiar with it by degrees. 

And, of course, it is the familiarity of it all that helps to keep it there – like old frozen food stuck at the bottom of our chest freezers. Out of date – unpalatable, tasteless and un-eatable – out of sight, out of mind.
Yet still we consume electricity in keeping it stored and frozen – in there, like that.
In the greater scheme of personal metaphors, needless to say, that’s the kind of electricity we could put to a much better use in other parts of our lives, isn’t it? 

Yet we don’t –
  • We harbour the idea that our Baggage is important to us.
  • It is familiar, and we like to surround ourselves with familiar things.
  • We couldn’t possibly abandon Baggage because we might find it useful for us sometime in the future – so we keep it for a “rainy day.”
  • “It is part of the ME that I know and recognise as MYSELF, YOU know. Why would I abandon part of my IDENTITY?”

Checking Out

So, when we set out with NEW resolve, perhaps to change some part of our lives that we aren’t particularly happy with, we know there’s going to be some NEW ground broken – we’re going to BECOME a different VERSION of Ourselves.
It’s a logical thing that we understand and accept …

Until the moment that we discover that RESOLUTIONS and the RESOLVE, the Courage to carry them through, is well outside of our COMFORT ZONE!
So, when it comes to our Checking Out - “pre-flight” if you like – we’ve got to decide what to do with the Baggage. Because this particular Check Out desk IS DEFINITELY NOT a Baggage Check-In desk!
As the words in Hotel California remind us about the chilling Outside-In nature of Reality – we can check out any time we like; but we can never leave!


If we want to stay in the familiarity of the Comfort Zone that is The Outside-In nature of Reality – then we can NEVER LEAVE.
So, unless we go All-Out when we choose to Check Out, we’re in here for LIFE.
We’re a Baggage Handler, stuck in this Reality for the duration. And on our Job Description, as baggage handlers, are the following things we’ve signed up to …
  • Happiness is CONDITIONAL – we’ll be happy WHEN we’ve got the right (Car, Job, Partner, House, Amount of money in the Bank, and so on.)
  • Our persona is important to us and we MUST stand up for our Selves and take things PERSONALLY – when we feel under attack from others, or circumstances.
  • We NEED to feel In Control – so we can DIRECT our lives from the console of our Command Centre. Losers are not in control of their lives, and it is important to us that we keep a firm grip on this White Knuckle ride called Life.
  • In order to succeed I need to work hard, try hard, keep trying and striving. We can never get anything worthwhile in life without putting in EFFORT. I need to show the World that I am worthy of Success or the World won’t reward me.
  • I need to constantly monitor and judge both myself and others in terms of Perfections. The World won’t accept imperfections – this I know to be true.

There are some other Agreements we’ve personally signed up to – or have been signed up to BY PROXY when we were growing up. And these Agreements, along with our status as Baggage Handlers, keep us firmly rooted in the Life More Ordinary that society has fashioned for us.

The Crazy Dreams

Yet – what of the Crazy Dreams? These are the notions that there is out there, beyond the restricting walls and the glass ceilings, another life. A life that we sometimes see others living, with Eyes Wide Open that look like our eyes USED TO LOOK somehow, before we began gathering Baggage.

These are the Crazy Dreams that hit us in moments of Clarity and Wonder – and yet, as Harry Chapin said, when we decide to JUST TAKE OFF in our cars we still need to be TRAVELLING LIGHT.
  • We really don’t need the old clothes from the musty wardrobes.
  • We really don’t need the bonds and ties that are holding us back.
  • We really don’t need Control, like that, to have an amazing life – because relaxing our Knuckles on the ride really does put the life blood back into our hands, and steering becomes a lot easier when our knuckles aren’t hanging on tight.

Giving Ourselves Permission

We need to start giving ourselves permissions to replace some of those agreements we’d signed, especially the ones when we didn’t know any better!
  • Permission 1 – Be Happy! Happiness is INNATE – it is in our nature. We are not required to jump through unpleasant hoops of fire to satisfy a god, a judge, or others.
  • Permission 2 – Be Kind, especially to ourselves. This involves not beating ourselves up over things. We ARE ONLY HUMAN, after all – and none of us are PERFECT. Just look at nature – it isn’t perfect either … it JUST IS! Yet, strangely, when nature goes wrong it is always at the interference of controlling and perfectionist humans.
  • Permission 3 – Notice our Wisdom! The quickest way to noticing our wisdom is to lay Judgement aside. Being judgemental is a toxic addiction – which was revealed to me a very long time ago. When we point our finger in judgement at someone, or something, then we would do well to notice that we have three other fingers pointing back at us. It is a simple reminder!
  • Permission 4 – Have Belief in our own Courage! We are very good at dumbing down our abilities, our capabilities, our strengths and our fortitude. We really are capable of far more than might ever allow ourselves. I see this in my sports coaching on an almost daily basis. “I can’t do this – I’m no good – No-one wants me – And I really couldn’t do THAT!” Plus, we then go and follow up these damning statements by watering down our commitment and our resolve – thus guaranteeing our failure, so we can then say, “SEE – I told you so!” We are very good at proving ourselves RIGHT instead of proving others WRONG! Remember - Actually giving ourselves Permissions is a real act of courage.
  • Permission 5 – Giving ourselves Permission to LIVE OUR OWN LIVES. This is the greatest and most forgotten Permission.

And this final Permission is the one that will give us the freedom to live our Dreams, just take off in our cars, and quit being a Baggage Handler.

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