Carry Things that Lighten the Load

There are some things I can carry backpacking that, despite their weight, make my experience more enjoyable.

Some things on my packing list are things I need: a tent, my stove, food, etc. Other things I carry just because they will make the trip more fun. For example, I usually take a book and I always carry my flute.

When I was in Boy Scouts, hiking in New Mexico in a program there, they passed out pocket bibles to everyone saying, “Bibles lighten the load.”

Obviously, some of us were not excited about carrying extra weight. But even if you aren’t as religious as the Boy Scouts of America, perhaps there is an object which would be worth the weight to carry.

My flute is quite heavy. But after several days of backpacking, I get the itch to play music and start to get anxious about getting back to my house. I end up having a much better experience if I can carry my flute with me.

Our lives all have things in them that lighten our load. We have to pay sometimes a lot of money to buy cars but having a car can allow us to be more efficient and make more money. Someone recently discussed with me the idea of meditation as a time saving measure because even a few minutes of mindfulness can make us more efficient. Playing my warm-up routine every day saves me immeasurable time working on repertoire because my technique and tone production is always ready to go.

We have to live in these paradoxes: buying something can save you money, carrying something heavy can lighten your load, taking time to do something can save you time.

So when I seek to take on something new, I consider how it could lighten my load. Obviously, not everything is like this, sometimes we just suck it up and do things. But some activities have benefits that outweigh their costs.


Maybe I will meditate or exercise in the morning because it makes me more productive the rest of the day. Maybe I will carry my flute and my laptop around all day, despite the weight, so that I have them at my disposal whenever I need them. Maybe I pay for gas so I can save time walking.

Some of these things seem like burdens on a small scale. But I just remind myself to think of the reciprocal benefits of all of them, and it all becomes worth it.


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