In my grandmother’s home there is an old wooden trunk – a so-called “baoulo” as it’s known in our language. Meticulously folded table cloths and linens are stored in this trunk. My grandmother lovingly stashed fragrant bars of soap between the layers to keep fabric pests away. She has a story – taken from her life’s pages – to tell about each of these items.
A big, heavy flokati rug lies atop the baoulo. And on this rug my grandmother keeps blankets made of genuine wool. The flokati and woolen blanket mountain is protected from dust by a lovely throw. And here too of course she placed several fragrant pieces of soap.
Whenever my grandmother wants to take something out of this baoulo, she’s barely able to do so by herself because, as you can perhaps imagine, these layers of woolen blankets and flokati are quite heavy. Not that this would keep my grandmother from trying to do it anyway. But that’s another story.
Sometimes she asks for my help. We then join forces in heaving the rugs and blankets aside so we can access trunk’s heavy lid to open it. My grandmother tells me the various stories connected to the contents of this chest.
My grandmother regularly tends to every nook and cranny of her home. She has her rituals and goes about things in a set pattern. I think that makes a lot of sense.
So, now please imagine the following:
Your body and your psyche are your home. And deep down within you, there is also a treasure chest. When is the last time you had a look there? Perhaps several layers of wool blankets have accumulated on your trunk too? This making it difficult for you to access your personal “inner baoulo” – your “emotional trunk” – by yourself.
Perhaps you, like many others, have also put feelings of sadness, shame or loneliness into your emotional trunk at some point in their life? You probably had good reasons to do so at the time. Perhaps initially “parking” these emotions in the trunk was necessary for you to muster up the energy to continue on?
But you didn’t have the time to carefully fold everything and put it away with fragrant soaps. It had to go fast. Perhaps even so fast that it happened automatically and without according much attention to it? Indeed, your daily life was waiting for you. People close to you needed you. Or other good reasons prevented it.
The various memories associated with these feelings were thus also packed into the chest. At some point, the emotional trunk was full; it threatened to overflow and unintentionally reveal its interior. But instead of opening the chest and creating order, it was filled it with more – now larger – packages. Today it is difficult to open the chest by yourself. And who knows in which condition you’d find all the things inside? Who would want to expose his or herself to this unpleasant feeling?
"Why can't I be happy anymore?"