Digression: Why did it take mankind so long to come up with functionally wheeled suitcases? Remember the enormous, hardbodied luggage with marble-sized wheels that refused to go in the same direction while conspiring to constantly tip over? The wheel and the satchel were among homo sapien’s first major inventions, yet we didn’t get an effective combo till the 1990’s.
Anyway. I’ve learned the precise amount of shampoo I need for a given number of days, and have drawers of varying sized bottles at the ready. I know how to fold, roll, and stack clothing to maximize space and minimize wrinkles. I obsessively check my destination’s forecast so I’ll have perfectly clement mix-and-max ensembles. I pack so that I can easily unpack and re-pack if a TSA officer rifles through my stuff. I have an array of electrical adapters, so as not to blow out my hotel’s power grid (again).
And I really, really enjoy doing all of this. I’m already mentally planning my Tetrus game-like packing strategy for the ACR conference in San Diego in mid-October.
Packing, like many of our mundane rituals, allows me to inject a modicum of control and order into a sometimes chaotic world. It’s also a mental exercise in spatial planning and problem solving that neurologically primes me to put other things in my life in order.
Mediation is also a forum for bringing some order into chaos. Our parties control the goals, the content, the agenda, the options, the solutions, the way to move forward. We help them put things into an order conducive to healthy dialogue, helping them pack, and unpack, their issues.