Are You Trapped by Your Past?
Have you ever found yourself wide awake way before your usual wakeup time, your mind already churning with unpleasant thoughts? That was me at exactly 4:45 am this morning. I couldn’t remember if there had even been a space between when I opened my eyes and when I noticed my attention was caught up with worrying thoughts about the future.
If I had a choice, I’d much rather spend my waking moments appreciating the birds singing or snuggling with my cats but, not today.
I lay in bed and watched how, if I just let those pesky thoughts swirl without reacting to them, they left my mind and other thoughts appeared that then caught my attention: should I get up or try to go back to sleep?
But I was already awake enough that the idea of going downstairs and making a cup of tea seemed like a good thing to do. Living in the country means that mornings at my house are peaceful, no traffic racing by, no morning news or radio talk shows, just the gradual rising of the sun and the changing colors in the sky.
As I sat with my freshly brewed cup of tea, I began to wonder at how so many of us are taught that our past failures are a predictor of our future success or happiness. And rather than use those less-than-desired outcomes as a catalyst for creating something more desirable, we use the memory of those “failed” outcomes to shrink away from living more fully and following the longings of our hearts.
Everyone has their achilles heel, a weakness despite all their strengths. Even the most successful people in the world have areas in their lives where they just can’t stop thinking about what they’ve labelled as failures, mistakes or unfinished business.
The achilles heel most of us are subject to is spending more time thinking about what hasn’t worked in the past rather than what we want to be, do or have right now.
Whatever it is that is calling us to create or express doesn’t demand that we remember our so-called failures or shortcomings. That calling invites us to be present to fresh possibilities inherent in each and every moment.
Here’s the secret hiding in plain sight: We don’t have to entertain thoughts that are discouraging or disparaging, or let ourselves be enthralled by the drama of those dark siren songs.
The truth is that thoughts alone have no inherent power. It’s only when we breathe life into them with the energy of our feelings (either fear or excitement) that those thoughts can motivate us. Those thoughts of lack or scarcity or inability? They veil our inherent nature, which is always abundantly creative, abundant and receptive.
There’s a standing invitation to all of us to put our attention on both what it is we want and what it is we already have. What we focus on either allows us to take action or keeps us caught in old memories, those ever-recurring thought loops that prevent us from really living and feeling fully alive.
Life doesn’t have to be thought of as a series of problems we must spend our days struggling to solve. Life can be seen as what it is: an endless series of opportunities to become free from the past and live in this moment; to discover our ability to draw from that same well of infinite creative potential that created the world, including us.