Stop Looking Back
A few years ago I started having dreams that were essentially flashbacks of some negative experiences I’d had in my life with my first husband (deceased) and another guy I’d planned to marry. These dreams caused me daytime grief, regret and chagrin.
The pain of those experiences felt fresh and, in remembering, was more catastrophic than when they occurred. When they occurred, I had to keep moving forward to get through them and to manage my responsibilities as a mother. I buried the injustices deep within and kept going -- one foot in front of the other, one task after another, just trying to make it through the day.
During this period the memories threatened to stifle my current joy and contentment. The thoughts tumbled:
- How could I have been so blind?
- How could I have been so foolish?
- How could I have trusted so completely?
- How could I have gambled my security and sanity so thoroughly?
I had to forgive and let go. Mostly, in terms of forgiveness, I had to forgive myself and let go of my intense anger at myself for staying in the quagmire and walking straight into the quicksand of that particular man. One of the first posts I ever put up on BlogHer that got noticed was called “I apologize to myself.” Getting the responses to that post from this community made me know I wasn’t alone.
I also had another big question for myself:
Why didn’t I curse that so-and-so out when I had the chance? Anger at the missed opportunity to tell my first husband just what I thought of him tore through me to the point that tears began to flow. This is significant because I am a very infrequent and reluctant crier, and so my tears made me even more upset.
It was mega pity party time. I called my mother. She listened patiently for a while and allowed my pity-party, then she told me stop looking back because it served no useful purpose. “Even God can’t change the past,” she said.
Mom was so right. (Yet again, go figure!) While there is wisdom in the oft-repeated phrase, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," looking back in my life has served more to keep me stuck in the muck and mire, immobilized from moving forward, stranded in regret.
It is difficult to move forward when you’re looking back. Since I’m all about forward movement, I decided to glance back, figure out what lessons were to be learned, keep on keeping on and not be the same fool twice.
Even though I don’t think channeling unseen entities from my past life as a peasant in Hungary 300 years ago is going to help me navigate sex and relationships any better, I do believe that looking back on my dating and friendship past lives makes me more insightful and smarter about what I’m doing today. Or, to put it another way, better I make some new mistakes, rather than the same old ones over and over.
Don't Look Back by Pattie Parsnips is so full of wisdom! Reading it, I am reminded by how much we women-beings have in common. She ran into a boyfriend from her past who'd caused her much damage.
I stayed true to whom I am and when I left the restaurant, I left behind that encounter and the memories from it, which is now in the past. Past doesn’t equal the future. There’s no way to possibly move forward if you’re continually driving in reverse. Too many of us live in the past – dredging up things that really no longer matter. Living each day trying to rectify mistakes or decisions we Regret.
Bliss Chick writes in “I contradict myself, I contain multitudes”
…The organisms that survive are the most malleable, the
most able to adapt. When we stay stuck in past behavior, we are not
evolving, and human life is all about evolving.
Assuming then that we want to evolve -- in spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual ways -- our first task is to overcome old patterns. But how?
She then goes on to describe some ways to overcome and looks at the many chicks within her (i.e., Angry Chick, Superstitious Chick, Baby Chick…)
I leave you with a poem I wrote in my 19th year (before I really could have known what I meant):
If I could touch the past
Just once again
The strange things inside me
Would be settled
No apprehension ever
Just to pluck the pressed flower faded,
Vivid once more.
These rocks are not stones…are gems.
Coupled with no longing. Never to lay and sigh again
Only to feel past conquests a second time.
To be at peace with today, finally.
Never let a word spin me into a whirl of former.
If I could touch the past, once again,
Good and plenty!