Ponder the Past
“The past is nothing more than the trail I have left behind. What drives my life today is the energy I generate in my present moments.”
I'm trying to latch on to that thought, and believe it, but something prevents me from being quite so cavalier. The past is important to understand—both our individual past, and our collective past. It is a trail left behind, like the pebbles of Hansel and Gretel, that leads us to discovering what went into creating this present moment. However, it's important to stay anchored in the here-and-now while one is backtracking. One reason for this is that our memories of what is past are not like snapshots taken on a clear day. They are muddled at best, and we can only surmise the intentions of others without knowing their reality in that moment.
Clarity about the past becomes easier when there is some distance between what happened then, and who I am now. Especially, if strong emotions have quelled a bit, there is no imminent threat in this moment, and we feel safe to look back with some objectivity. What many of us do, however, is impose our own translations onto events in our past, and refuse to allow any sunlight into the picture. It's like laying one photographic transparency over another and printing them together, so they are indelibly linked. Since memory is never clarion clear, space must be left for the likelihood that things are not always as they seem. Having the ability to say, “I could be wrong,” or, “I may have misinterpreted that,” leaves us room to change our ironclad view of any situation, and thus, breathe some life into other possibilities.
Our lives are lived in the present moment, and our energy investment in the here-and-now is crucial. Adopting a gentleness about our past—a tender regard for the trail that brought us to this moment—is important to our feelings of happiness, contentment and forgiveness. So, the past is not inconsequential, but it is best accessed with eyes willing to see, and ears willing to hear it differently. And, with gratitude that we have the luxury of being here now to do just that.
In the Spirit,