The Past – What Does It Offer?

What seeds are you planting? How do you see your future playing out?  What is your heart’s deepest desires?  What steps do you need to take to make those desires come to fruition?  Is your past holding you back?

On any given day you can sit and talk to someone and if you really listen you will hear their dreams.  Dreams of the past:  “When I was younger I wanted to be ____.” Dreams of the future: “One day I want to ______.” Dreams of the present: “If only I had the resources I would _____.” But they are just dreams, right? Things our hearts desire but we never truly expect to have because we believe we have no way of accomplishing them.

Many times we dream a dream, something we really want, and we take steps to accomplish them.  The road is long and difficult.  We give up, believing that we will never get what we really wanted, just before it was going to happen.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times in my life I have done this.  I look back on my life and often wonder “what if.”

“What if I had pursued a career as a Forest Ranger instead of getting married?”

“What if I had stayed in Wisconsin and married that man I loved so very much?”

“What if I had pursued my passion for healing sooner?”

I could go on and on with the “what if’s.” They never end.  We use these lost or postponed dreams to beat ourselves up on a pretty regular basis.  Don’t we?

We can’t change the past.  We can learn from it but we can’t change it.  We can look at all of the things we have lived through, survived, and we can yearn for the “could have’s,” but when it comes right down to it we can’t go back and change a damned thing.  What can we do?

We can begin by looking into the past and finding the lessons that are there. What did you learn by not accomplishing what we “could have” done?

As an example, my first “What if” was “What if I had pursued a career as a Forest Ranger instead of getting married?”

Looking back my marriage brought me 3 remarkable sons and from those sons I have 7 amazing grandchildren, let’s put that aside for a moment though.  I think we can all agree that these are gift’s and not lessons.

What did I take away from the marriage?  The marriage ended in divorce.  The marriage was rife with turmoil.  The marriage was ugly and something that caused all of us extreme pain.  Myself, I endured physical and emotional pain. Yet, I walked away a new person.  I learned that I have strength I didn’t know I had.  I learned that I can stand on my own two feet and not just survive but thrive.  I learned that my heart can be broken, no, not broken, rather shattered, into a million pieces and I can heal it, one piece at a time.  I learned that I can stand in my own truth and although fear may engulf me, Spirit will always protect me.  I learned to love myself and that I am worthy.

I could go through each one of my “what if’s” and tell you what I learned by them. The bottom line, for me, is for every “what if” or “could have” that lays in my past I can see and find lessons, some difficult, some easier. They have shaped and formed the woman I am today.

I could choose to hold onto my past and all of the “what if’s,” let them define me, make me feel as though I have failed in life.  I can choose to beat myself up over and over again by just focusing on the past and the dreams I didn’t accomplish. We all know someone who does this daily.  Instead, I choose to look at the lessons, learn from them and let the past go.

The path I walk says to shed our past as a snake sheds it’s skin.  All at once.  Leave it there.  Write a new past.  The belief is that our bodies can’t tell the difference from things that happened in the past and what is happening now. When you sit and think about the pain of the past your body feels it as though it is happening at this very moment. Your body reacts to the memories you choose to remember.  It doesn’t know that it is a memory, it believes it is happening now. This, for me is one of the greatest reasons to leave the past in the past. Once you have identified all of your lessons is there a reason to relive all that has happened over and over again?  I, personally, would prefer not to relive all of that pain. I choose to leave the past where it belongs, in the past.  I have learned and those memories don’t need to be rehashed over and over.

I cannot move into the future, nor can I live in the NOW if my focus is always mired in the past.

The past has helped form the person I am today.  The now will be the past in a few moments. Standing in the now, at this very second, allows me to make wiser decisions for my future.  When I look in the past, tomorrow, I will know that holding onto what has happened may offer me lessons to learn from but there is nothing else of value to hold onto.  Living there only impedes my now and prevents my dreaming of the future.  You can’t move forward to the future if you are still reliving everything in the past.  It just can’t happen.

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I am not sure that I do.  I do, however, believe that Spirit brings us to things we have agreed to learn in this life and how many times that lesson has to be relived depends on how well we learn it.  I also believe that if we are brought to it, we will be brought through it.  Tattered, scarred, yes, but we came here to learn and live.  We can only do so if we are aware enough to look, learn, listen and let go.

Back to my original questions.  Are you planting seeds for the future or are you letting your past stop you? Do you see a future or are you to busy looking at the past to allow a future to unfold?

Find your deepest heart desires, embrace them..  Let the past go.  Live in the now. Dream your future into being! You will be amazed at how beautiful our world can be when you let the hurts, mistakes, lessons of the past go and step into the now.  Go find your beauty!