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Grace Mehan De Vito (born 1965) Cascading Orchid, oil painting
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Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried,
but actually you’ve been planted.
~ Christine Caine
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Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, England saved from Tumblr
As I’ve stated before, for many people, the past isn’t really the past, it isn’t history. It is the present. When there is an emotional wound or unresolved issue, it lives in the present moment. The original hurt, trauma or fear gets recreated and repeated. Essentially it’s relived again and again in one’s current life. It shows up in relationships, at home and at work. There it is. The past is [the] present.
You’ve heard the phrase “same shit, different day.”
The physics of it are simple. You magnetize to you a match to what is active within you, what you believe, what you focus on. Energy begets energy. These simple truths largely shape your reality.
Recently my laptop went blank and then would not restart. Mercury is in retrograde after all. I tried a few tricks, but knew what I really needed to do was just pull the battery and begin again. It always worked with my old laptop. I was hesitant, however, because I had tried to pull the battery on this computer, but couldn’t figure out how to do it and had given up. To repeat that felt silly. Plus, the need to get at something on my computer, fairly quickly, was making me more determined.
I retrieved my folder containing all of the laptop information. There wasn’t much there, but all I needed was information on how to remove the battery. I opened the thin 3 page pamphlet which showed a few illustrations and even fewer words. But there it was. Once I saw it, it was so easy. And in this one sentence the profane becomes the profound. Once I saw it…that’s the key. Perception or perspective is reality.
What was impossible (removing the battery) suddenly became possible (removing the battery). The problem was that I kept looking at my new computer as if it were my old computer. I could only see how to remove the battery the old way. I wanted it to work the old way. And that was impossible. This computer didn’t work like that. So I couldn’t see the solution.
How often do we approach problems, issues, relationships in just this way? And in so doing, drag the past right into the present?
And so we stay stuck in the past…in the present….
We all have our stories we like to tell. Feel compelled to tell. Can’t help telling. Tell over and over again. Indeed, that was my history. I had stories that I would tell everyone. I couldn’t help myself. Everyone had to know my stories. I clung to them like a child clings to her blanket. They were precious to me. I took them on as my identity. I proudly claimed them as my own. I expanded them, embroidered them, cherished them.
Somewhere along my journey I had the eyes to see this habit. I became the observer of them. I developed the ability to stand back and see myself. I could see/feel the need to tell the story building within me. See myself telling the story. See people reacting, in a wide range of ways, to my story. Soon they didn’t feel so much like “my” story but “a” story.
In the end, it was clear that I had to explore the stories. One at a time, I delved into their origins, got at the roots. I feasted on them in order to know myself and just as much to know who I was not, or was no longer. I discovered, over a long period of time, that in the beginning, telling the story, knowing what happened in the past was filling a need. A coping mechanism. It was a way to own it, claim it, open my eyes to my experiences, rather than be in it with eyes closed, at the mercy of it. Telling the story felt powerful. It revealed a new level of truth to me. So, too, when that need is filled it’s time to let it go. I was not. I was reliving it over and over. I was propping up my identity with it. The story became stuck. I was now a victim to the story. What was once precious was now my prison.
Eventually I had to choose the compassionate way. To see, to feel, to know the past with clarity. Eyes and heart wide open. Glean the wisdom. And then let the story go. Stories can change. Or end. Truly.
As Adamus says, “The past isn’t what you think it is.” I now know things are always more than they seem. Multi-layered. Multi-faceted. Many perspectives. It is up to us to receive the wisdom and release the rest. Release the details, release the minutia. Give it its freedom, allowing it all to serve us. Where the past, history, our stories are concerned, there is a fine line between wisdom and wallow.
Where once we were victim, we now are wise.
Where once we were weak, we now are strong.
Where once we looked outside of ourselves, we now look within.
Where once we sought, now we know.
Want to see this in action? Watch the movie Groundhog Day. You can see Bill Murray’s character wake up and begin to rewrite his story. He’s self-serving and manipulative at first, but then real personal transformation takes hold. So beautiful!
Playing with the Past
If the past is just a story, really, one version of how things happened, then can’t we consider it somehow fluid? Couldn’t we play with it? I have used this idea on a number of occasions to overcome a pain from the past. My friend, Carla Berg, calls it Rewriting History. Here’s the gist…
When something from your past causes some concern for you…guilt, hurt, frustration, stuckness…rewrite it. Take this bit of history that has plagued you and turn it into something pleasant, empowering, or productive, whatever you choose. You’re the creator.
Try it for yourself…
Find a comfortable, quiet spot. A place where you feel safe, supported. I like to make a cup of tea, grab a soft throw and sit on my couch. Relax. Take some good deep breaths. Clear your mind of the day’s duties. Then conjure up the memories. Tell yourself the story. Remind yourself of the details. Feel all of the feelings that go with it. Sit with that for a bit.
Now, give yourself permission to rewrite that story. Take a deep breath. Loosen the grip you have on the old version. Allow yourself to go beyond the mind, beyond the old story. Begin to get clear about how you want it to go in this new version. Imagine the details. How would you want to feel? What do you want to experience? What is the outcome you prefer?
If this is challenging, you might try a tactic I use to help me get clear. I imagine the story as a photo snapshot. I’m very visual, so I give the story a picture. Then I imagine that picture on a chalkboard or a white board. And then I erase it. I just wipe it away. Simple? Works for me.
Once you have a sense of the new story, take a deep breath and dive into it. Let yourself feel it as if it is real. Picture it. Hear it. Walk through it. Live it in your imagination. Feel it in your body. Experience it.
Take a deep breath.
Congratulations! You’ve just rewritten history.
Wait…what’s that I hear???
Are the doubts coming in? Are you questioning it?
OK…here’s what I know…
Your perception is reality.
You’re the creator.
Everything is energy. [Except you. You are a sovereign souled being.]
This is all a very real, very important illusion.
You have just shifted old potentials, cleared out old energies that no longer serve you, and allowed new potentials to come into your reality.
If you allow it to be so, then it is.
Can you allow it? Can you put those doubts in their proper place…tell them to sit down and shut up?
It’s up to you.
What do you have to lose?
…nothing but your old worn out stories.
Watch what happens. You might be surprised.
This is when it starts getting fun! That’s why I call it playing with the past…not working.
Now, in the wise words of EN VOGUE from their 1992 hit song:
“Free your mind and the rest will follow.”
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