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What Always Remains: A Meditation in Packing

What Always Remains: A Meditation in Packing

I am constantly repacking or unpacking, sorting through my belongings and each time, they get a little bit smaller and a little bit lighter. Each time I depart from a space, I leave behind a lot of extra luggage and things I just physically cannot take with me.

It almost feels normal, even comfortable and familiar, to be surrounded by these small piles of things-- recycled boxes and packing tape. I wonder if I’ve even gotten better at packing all of these items and belongings. I would surely master the art of packing at this rate.

I’ve accumulated many of these compartments, filled with clothes, yoga pants, extra shoes, vacuum-sealed packs stuffed with jackets that couldn’t possibly be of use in where I’m headed— into the jungles of Costa Rica. They get stored away in attics and storage rooms of my friends and relatives.

And as I pack for another trip, I find myself familiar with this process. I must decipher what goes and what stays. Which brings up these feelings of reflection and holding onto what I could have done differently.

I feel lost because of unanticipated happenings. I am not sure what will happen next. I am afraid that I'm not making the right choices. I doubt whether I have done my very best.

I hold onto the heartache of a breakup, the actions I feel responsible for and the people that are no longer a part of my life. I feel the pain lingering from uncertainty in what I’ll do or where I’ll move next. I replay words of advice from family and friends that are always said to mean well, but aren’t the right ones for me. I wonder if I’ve hurt their feelings by steering away.

Still, it has become easier and easier to let go of these belongings and even the bittersweet feelings of leaving. Besides, these "last dinner with Sunny” are always celebratory and nice.

My intention is to keep seeing the unfolding of life and believing it its fruitfulness. And I realize that I can feel scared or unsure and even the last moments leading up to a departure are never easy but they are not mine to hold onto in the first place.

These moments belong to all of us and serve as a reminder of our intentions and how they manifest growth in our lives. Intentions, as important as they are, only point to what we do not see there in the first place. In these moments, what I hold onto now aren’t thethings that I have or the results that I could see but rather the growth that comes with simply following intentions.

Ultimately t isn't about getting to point B, but rather what we learned along the way. It isn't getting to the next destination, it's the steps we took towards it. It isn’t limited by the number of days we have spent or have left, what we could have done or did, nor is it about the capacity of space we have left to hold our stuff.

In yoga, the mindful breath carries us through movements but the transitions themselves are where we see our truest colors.

It is rare for things to align and to go our way in our practice or daily lives. But when we seek out our intentions with expectation of A equaling B, what we often don’t see are the transitions and these smallest moments of growth in clarity, strength and love.

Sure, there is the frustration and different perspectives. There is heartbreak, misunderstanding, wrong timing, or sometimes a conflict of interests but they don't last as long as the lessons they teach.

Despite all that was, my hope is that we never forget what is and always remains:

-What remains is the tender heart that becomes a bit more fearless of what we cannot control.

-What remains is the passionate dance of time and growth.

-What remains is taking yourself too seriously and then laughing at it all.

-What remains are the moments that you felt connection with someone you just met—the best kind of new relationships.

-What remains is the strength that we carry as we step forward bravely in our own tracks.

-What remains are these small yet impactful traces of feelings- nervousness, curiosity, discovery.

-What remains is a little more compassion and less sabotaging.

-What remains is a release of attachment and expectations.

-What remains is surrender of yourself to full gratitude in what is.

-What remains are not just our intentions, but believing simply in the small but infinite blessings of life. 


By: Sunny Koh


Sunny has been teaching yoga since 2011. After spending a couple years abroad as an English teacher, she is sharing her passion for yoga as a traveling instructor and writer. Currently, she teaches and writes about yoga in Costa Rica. She also enjoys photography, learning new languages, surfing and exploring. To get to know Sunny better, go to

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