When I practiced the martial art of Aikido, I remember loving one demo my teacher gave. It showed me the power of letting go of the past.
He had just dodged a punch and as that person moved away, someone new was approaching. He showed what happened if he kept looking at the guy he’d just avoided—he practically tripped and fell and the new guy got him. Then, he demonstrated moving on, staying poised as the new guy came. He easily brushed past him!
Do you find yourself worrying about the past? About what you wish you’d done differently, or wondering what s/he meant when s/he said or did this or that?
Do you keep wondering if your relationship or work problems have to do with your childhood or past lives? Are you repeating your old story to yourself or others in attempt to feel better? Is it working?
There is a place to acknowledge the past, even a time to make amends. But I don’t recommend focusing there.
Mostly our lives are pretty cushy. Except for experiences like martial arts or driving on the freeway, we can get away with missing the present and dwelling in guilt, what-ifs and stories for years! And this SO weakens our power.
At the end of nearly every reading or meditation I help my student or client call back his or her energy from other people, places, the future and the past. During our sessions I continue to ask, “What would you like?” or “How can I support you?”— especially when someone has a long story to tell me.
I’ve been guilty of it too—spending hours talking to my friends or writing in my journal about what’s bugging me, with little attention to what I’d like to experience instead. I’ve just noticed this doesn’t work, and I’d like to share with you some things I’ve found that do.
How to Move Forward with Confidence:
- If you’re feeling guilty or know you made a mistake, make amends. Maybe you can’t pay the money back today, or maybe some harm was already done, but do what you can. Simply acknowledging your role in something and expressing compassion can be huge
- Use your past regrets and frustration as fuel to clarify and create the life you want today—then let them go. Seeing them clearly will strengthen you, but dwelling in them will weaken you. It’s a fine line.
- Set goals and write affirmations. Surround yourself with a vision board, pop-up reminders or audio recordings that keep your focus on your dreams. If you’d like some help in doing this, check out the “Jump Start Your Intuition” home study course… it includes several exercises walking you through the steps.
- If you hear yourself repeating your story over and over, ask if you’ve really gotten to the bottom of it. Interestingly, we may repeat a story for hours because we’re still trying to find our core feeling or need. For example, if you constantly criticize someone but haven’t felt your own anger or desire, you may need to do so before you can let the story go. Once you do, it’s fast and easy to focus on positive action.
- Do something that takes you to your edge. This could be a physical challenge like martial arts, surfing, or hiking. It could be an emotional risk like expressing yourself to a loved one or even public speaking. It could be a practical activity like raising children, woodwork or cooking. Find a safe way to challenge yourself, an activity that forces you to be present, where you cannot afford to think too much about the past.
- Choose your company wisely. We can only see ourselves so clearly, especially when it comes to our past patterns. It’s easier to see them in our families or old friends, so take note and ask yourself whether you have similar tendencies. And, seek the company of conscious friends, partners, teachers and counselors to call you on your stuff and help you focus forward.
I know how empowered I feel on the days I write down my goals, pray or listen to my affirmations. I also know how scared, insecure or apathetic I’ve felt when I dwelled in the past.
I intend you find your strength and confidence to fulfill your dreams. And truly, we create more good in the world by doing so than by focusing on things we can’t change.