The past revisits us occasionally, doesn’t it? Things pop up unexpectedly to remind us of our successes and failures of a lifetime. Some things are a pleasure to remember: summer days of our youth, love and contentment with our families, summer vacations at sea or on the beach. Others things from our past don’t evoke such pleasant memories. Instead, they remind us that we made bad choices, that we were hurt, that others were hurt by our actions. That the outcomes were not what we actually wanted.
Those memories can’t be forgotten though, can they? They have to be learned from. I mean, they are lessons for our lives, right? So, did we learn the lessons? I keep asking myself that.
It’s often just a momentary, fleeting memory that draws the past into the present. They don’t last long, and I can usually just flagellate myself for a second over a stupid choice I made, and then get on with my life. I believe that I’ve learned many of the lessons of my past, because I can say that I presently have the life I always wanted. Oh, it’s not without its own set of lessons, of discomforts but none of them presently can cause me to take a dive into self-pity, or regretfulness. I’ve made bad choices in the past, and hopefully learned from them. Feeling like my ability to clearly evaluate a choice I have to make is much sharper, much more in alignment with my true self, than it was even a few short years ago. I guess time will tell if my optimism is substantiated, but sometimes you just know. That’s how I feel now, like I just know that things will continue to rise, if I stay on this path.
So the point is, reminders from a past we are not particularly proud of don’t have to drive us backward. They can, actually, drive us forward to remind us not to make that mistake again. Just stand back from it for a minute, look at it objectively, not with a subjective personal view. We do the best we can from our state of consciousness at the time. I mean, seriously, I was conservative at one time. But when I began to learn to open my heart, and feel compassion, I couldn’t possibly maintain that perspective. I am still fairly conservative fiscally, but the things I think are worth spending money on have changed a lot. I’ve made choices in men that were not in my best interest. Choices that wasted my time, or drove me down, choices that didn’t honor myself. Like most people.
So, when I glimpse a memory, or a voice, a picture, from the past that might tweak my sensibilities for a moment, I generally just continue on the path that has led me to the place I am at. I don’t respond to it if I know no good will come from it. I just note it, and remind myself why it is in the past, and don’t delve into it, unless it somehow presents new information which allows me to understand myself better. Forward, in the present moment, is the only direction in which I can move if I want to continue rising.
Which I do. One of my favorite books is Rising Strong by Brene Brown. The universe conspired to put it in my face on a day when I was, as I paraphrase Brene, down on the floor with no idea how to get up. Literally. I’d spent the day in tears, and late in the day saw Brene on Oprah’s SuperSoulSunday, in an interview about the book. I had it on my kindle before the show was over. I began to learn that day, how to rise strong, and I continue to learn. It’s work, but it’s very satisfying to be able to look at those times when we think we’re down for the count, to see the memories as something that helped us grow, not as something that beat us down.
I’m not sure what inspired this post, but it seems I had something to say. Which is not unusual, lol. So here’s to cherishing our memories. The good ones, and the not-so-good ones that taught us important lessons. Here’s to rising, always rising.
Love and light to all.