For the longest time, I used to live in my past. Things that I perceived as bad, I used to carry with me in an overloaded rucksack on my back. I had resentments real and imagined. I had experiences that were unpleasant. Often I would find myself with some time on my hands, running through an old story, wishing I had replied a smart answer or taken an intelligent action. Even my childhood I look at it from the point of view of someone who had been a victim. It’s an easy thing to do. I was bombarded with images from books and TV about the ideal life for a child. My parents worked long hours to feed us, and unfortunately my expectations didn’t match their availability or energy.
Can you remember perhaps when you were bullied in school, lets say at the age of 10 years old. Now 20 or 30 or even 40 years later you are running that movie, you are pulling up the old resentments, you are getting angry, upset and putting your body under a physical stress. Taking our past with us is easy. It is something with do without attention. I believe we do it in part because we have some unresolved voice in us that hasn’t been heard, but is it any use to us whatsoever to stay in that place of self punishment? Is it any us to remind ourselves constantly of the negative experiences we had? It might be for a moment. Just long enough to understand why it happened or what there was to learn from the experience. I believe if I am living a truly happy life, I am moving beyond my past. As an adult I cannot expect myself to react the way I reacted as a child to something that happened decades ago. Now I understand some hurts are more difficult than others to let go. I didn’t learn to stop living in my past until I had gone through quite a few hard life lessons that were trying to teach me to let go of it. I have been bullied, I have been victimised in the work place, I had abusive relationships.. but stop. That is the past. It’s not me anymore. I don’t speak that way any more.
I don’t identify with the suffering. I identify with the lessons and the learning and the present. Today I am a happy complete and driven type of guy. I am creative. I do a lot of different things and I am never not in need of something to do. I rarely even say I am busy because it pulls up a negative connotation. I try to focus on what is good and give it energy.? Today I have choices. I have choices because I have decided to leave the past where it is. No amount of resentment or bitching or regret will change what has already happened, so what is the point in running my hands along the thorns in the rose to check if it’s still a rose. I prefer to look at the flower and smell the blossom. Yes the thorns are there, but now they protect me. I want you as you read this to check out the voice in your head with those labels about how it was difficult, how you suffered, how you may have been victimised. That was then. Tell that inner critic, it’s okay, you have done your job, I get it. You can leave now. I need my energy to move forward and be the best version of me that I can realise. I have no wish to live in the past, I chose to live in the now. Now as an adult you can decide to forgive, to forget, to let go and move on. It might take time, you may need to heal. At least if you set the intention to move into the present with all the amazing things that have happened in your life, you might actually find a way out of the circle quicker than you think.
If you are struggling with letting go of something, it may be helpful to create a small candle ceremony somewhere safe, where you won’t burn down a building. Write it all out, everything. When it’s all written, sign it and write the words, this is my past not my now, I let it go and free myself. Then burn it in the flame of the candle and wait a few minutes, try to imagine yourself letting go of all that weight and pain. Then get up and walk away. Enjoy cracking the circle.