Educator friends, skip to the end of this newsletter and grab your spot for our free workshop this week! The rest of you, read on for a dose of compassion!!

We’re carrying around a lot right now. When I explain the weight of what we carry during presentations, I use the “suitcase analogy.” As we enter into another election cycle, global protests, and continued polarization, I want to offer this to all of you as a good reminder that we never know what someone else is carrying. Here’s how it goes: 

Every day, we pick up two suitcases. In our right hand, we carry more acute/short term stressors. Examples include a late bill, worry about someone we love, a recent argument, or an upcoming event. Short term might be earlier today, or a few weeks or months ago. In our left hand, we carry our long-term adversities. We carry things like past trauma, stressors that seem to persist, and compounding heaviness. Examples include child abuse, historical oppression, continued microaggressions, substance use, complex trauma, or intergenerational cycles of violence. Every day, every person we interact with is carrying their own two suitcases. No two of us are alike. 

On our best days, we’re aware of what we carry. And, we’re aware that others carry heavy loads too. But on our worst days, we’re unaware, which leads to judgement, bias, assumption, and miscommunication. On my best day, I give others the benefit of the doubt, respond compassionately, and stay curious. But, on my worst days, I make conclusions about people’s commitment, actions, and intent that are often incorrect. 

It’s our job as humans to increase our awareness (this is referred to trauma-awareness and trauma-responsiveness) that we all carry around suitcases. Quite literally, we carry around our personal baggage. Some of our baggage is enormously heavy; while others feel less burdened. It is NOT another’s job to tell us what’s in their suitcase, what feels heavy, or to pry or expect others to disclose personal trauma. 

Next week, we’ll talk about “what the heck do we do with all this baggage?” so stay tuned. This practice of notice and knowing that we all carry suitcases can shift us towards more compassion for each other. 

For now, your only job is to notice your own suitcases. Ask yourself, “What am I carrying that feels heavy?” 

Talk soon friends, and, by the way, you don’t have to carry all of this alone. If you’re an educator friend, we have a free workshop THIS Thursday, May 9 at 3:00 pm PST about managing complex behavior. Here’s the Zoom link to join us at that time! See you there!