By Ken Delpit
A life without encumbrances, now that would be something. Can there possibly be such a thing? Among mortal human beings, it is hard to see how. Living encourages encumbrances. Living entails encumbrances. To live is to be encumbered. Encumbrances are the baggage fees that we pay for our journey.
Encumbrance-free living for most ordinary humans is a foreign concept. For some, it may be a distant dream. For many or most, though, it is beside the point. For these folks, navigating the encumbrances is what life is about. “Next,” as a primal motivating force. Where to go next, what to do next, what to think next.
The trouble with navigating head-down from a mental map, however detailed or vague the map, is that it necessitates a removal of self from the process. You are not the observant traveler. You are the bus driver. You transport yourself here and there, mentally as well as physically. You check boxes in your mind as “Done.” You relax when you’ve accomplished something, but just for a couple of seconds. Then, you close the bus doors and it’s on to the next stop.
Periodically, we celebrate people who have taken a different path. Gandhi, Thoreau, Buddha, Jesus, they speak to us of shedding encumbrances. They advocate not just leaving the luggage behind, but not even packing in the first place. They teach us to trust what is within. They preach that the self is wise, if only we would listen.
I’ll have to take their word for it. I’ll think about all of this later. Meanwhile, I’ve got a hundred things to do before 4:00 o’clock.
Ken Delpit has been writing for quite a while, that is if you count computer programming and technical documentation as “writing.” Since leaving those professions behind, Ken has discovered an exciting new world of creative writing. He is now giddily exploring new devices, such as adjectives, subtlety, mystery, and humans with emotions and feelings.