I'm sure you've seen or heard this somewhere in the past, You can't drive to the future using rear view mirror". I agree with it to some degree. From where I stand, it's okay to look back at the past and what happened, it's okay to reflect upon the lessons you learned then, it's okay to pat yourself on the back and say "Hey, look how far I've come. Man I've kicked some great goals and I am glad that I went through XYZ to get to where I am today". That kind of revisiting of the past is healthy, helpful and reassuring.
What's not healthy is when we revisit the past and hang out there. When we take on the emotions, the character we were and the beliefs we had at that time. To give you an insight of what I am talking about, I was recently set a challenge by a mentor to revisit a time in the past that was very defining for me, to write about my experiences and learnings that have helped me to get to the place I am in today. At the time of the experience, I felt helpless, hopeless, lost, dark, heavy, fearful, afraid, like I couldn't do the right thing and had no clue what I was doing. My self esteem was sub zero to say the least.
I will admit, I've been procrastinating ... a LOT. Consciously I know that the past is the past and its over and done. I've had endless flashbacks and memories of what happened during that time. The defining moments have been popping into my head daily and yet I've been struggling to get the thoughts out of my head and down onto paper. I have also been waging a full-scale internal military battle about the fact that I've been set this challenge, have been procrastinating and now two weeks since our meeting, I've not yet gotten anything concrete done. Fear has arrived and unpacked its suitcase, yet again. This time it's different though. This is more a fear around rejection, however that's a story for another time.
On the weekend I had decided that I was going to sit down and make a start on my challenge. I knew what I wanted to write and thought I knew how the words would pan out on the page. I sat in front of my computer and began to call upon the memories and pictures that had formed that particular experience. But then something else happened, I also took on the emotion of the feelings of the time just like putting on an old comfortable jacket. It probably would have been okay if I'd used these emotions to actually write with, but I chose the more commonly-trodden path of throwing myself a pity party!!
Suddenly, I was right back there and I was that character. My partner called me to ask me to do something for him and he got the girl that was haunted our lives 4 years ago, not the woman I've become today. Then that caused a whole lot of tension between us. It was as if someone had hit the rewind button on our lives. It was scary. I had succumbed to the powerlessness I used to experience.
To be honest it lasted longer than it should have. However, I did pour a glass of ice water on my face to wake up to reality. To reflect that I am no longer that person. I am growing. I am changing. I am evolving. I am learning from the past and the lessons it presented. I am now even more passionate about my challenge, so much so that I am taking the time today to sit and write about my experiences.
Today, I will choose to take the observation deck to the past. The emotion is still there, the memories will always be there, but I know now that I am merely an observer. The past has no power over me. And if I can help just one other person by sharing my story and my experiences, then I will be a happy woman. If I can help someone else to feel empowered, to see the light when all they can see is dark and to hear that life has a beautiful melody that you control the volume, the tempo and the bass of, I can go to bed at night knowing that I have fulfilled my passion for life. I believe that inside all of us is a story filled with lessons, waiting to be told.