Of all the reasons not to move forward with our lives, the most common one I hear is, “my past is complicated.”
True for relationships. True for careers and businesses.
And of course…true for getting our health back, in the form of diet and exercise.
So I want to start with the obvious…
The past isn’t going to change. Ever.
It’s past. It’s done.
Whatever happened, happened. It’s not going to unhappen.
And that’s actually the greatest blessing any of us could have.
Because the past is standing still, we get to look at it from a, well, “uncomplicated” point of view.
We can do it as slowly as we’d like. If it brings up pain, we can dip a toe in the water. Just a tiny peak.
Or we can set it aside until we’re ready. I promise…if you haven’t dealt with it, it’ll still be there.
And that’s really the thing…
The past is never complicated. It just “is.”
The present is complicated.
That’s the only place where you live.
And because the past is standing still, you can unravel it.
Your shoelace that’s tied up in knots isn’t going anywhere. Set it aside as long as you want.
Of course you may walk around with an uncomfortable shoe. You may trip over it. You may decide not to wear that shoe.
But until you unravel it, it’s staying the same.
And when you do, it’s no longer complicated.
Present moment. You’re free.
Take that to relationships. If you have a complicated past with someone, hold it still. Unravel it.
If that means making peace with the person directly, then make it, whenever possible.
If it means making peace with the memory, forgiving, sending love, but doing so without directly interacting with them, then do that.
If it’s saying the words, expressing the emotion, blessing them, letting them off the hook, letting yourself off the hook, do that.
(I recommend doing it directly whenever possible. Once I waited 17 years to resolve a “complication” from someone who had moved on long before. Could have saved myself a lot of emotional energy. Once I did, I found a great new friend!)
Untie the present.
Most people I know who are struggling with health, in the form of obesity are stuck in a complicated web of their past.
They want to feel better and look better. They go through the steps. The dieting, the exercise. They join the gym, etc.
And then the past knocks on the door. “You’ve tried this before. It didn’t work. What makes you think it’s going to work now.”
No different from the other complications.
The good news is that it’s no different from other complications.
They’re all a product of our own thoughts about the past…not the past itself.
Those can change.
There are lots of ways to sort out the complicated parts of our life. Here’s my favorite…
Turn the anger into something funny.
Whether it’s a relationship gone bad, a diet or exercise plan you gave up on, anything…there is something in it that made you mad.
Turn it on its head. Make that person or that plan so absurd, it loses its power over you. Give your ex horns in your mind. Turn that diet food into rabbit pellets. Turn that piece of exercise equipment into a torture device. Let humor take its power away from you.
When you deliberately change the emotion you have around the rough spots from serious to funny, you open up the doors to your own power, your own compassion, your own love.
And then you have more of it to give to someone else…or to yourself.
And maybe even accept it from someone trying to give it to you!
How have you dealt with the complicated parts of your own past?
What has worked in making the present better?
Comment below. Share, like and tweet. Someone is waiting for a little more simplicity in their life.
I am sitting in the locker room of my local gym on Black Friday. And I am overwhelmed with a sense of wonder, amazement and overflowing, yet calm emotion.
And there’s a good chance you are feeling something similar, although it may be drowned out by the parade of things to be grateful for, and people telling you what you should be grateful for.
Well, it’s you life and your gratitude. If you have everything you want…if your life is in a blissed out state, I am very happy for you and wish you continued success.
But that’s not most of us. It certainly isn’t me.
And if you’re feeling a bit of “gratitude envy” because you’re looking around and seeing pumpkin pie, happy families, healthy checking accounts, and someone warm on the other side of the bed – while these things are missing from your life – please keep reading.
The psychologist Alfred Adler, who was a student of Freud coined a very smart phrase: Fictional Finalism.
It basically means that as humans we strive toward goals: things we think we want, that will give us satisfaction, a life’s purpose.
We do need those. There’s no sense in wandering around aimlessly.
But when we obsess over anything…a person, a thing or a situation…it’s a recipe for trouble.
Because it is our nature to constantly reinvent ourselves.
We are the only animal whose hard wired programming doesn’t work 24/7.
We evolve. Constantly, and often in very inconvenient ways.
In practical terms, that means we’re going to have a very hard time being satisfied with whatever gadget we’re shooting for. Or mortgage payments, or whatever thing or life situation is being packaged for our consumption.
And what felt really good at one point may not deliver the goods the way it used to.
Pretty rough situation, huh?
I choose to feel more gratitude for that than anything else.
I like stability as much as the next person. I’ve got a crew who’s going along for the ride with me, and it helps to be grounded.
Of course being too grounded defeats the purpose. It makes us stale and moldy.
And maybe you have a crew as well. Or maybe you want one. Maybe you have one and it’s no longer making your heart sing.
That is the joy of being human. Not just the the desire, but the capacity to pursue it.
There is more stuff available to us than ever before. Not just consumable goods. Access to thoughts, ideas, emotional choices we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.
And yes…it could scare the shit out of us. Many retreat to the safety of conformity.
But that’s not you. Not if you’ve read this far.
That’s what’s available to all of us: Discernment.
The ability to pick and choose different passions at different points in our lives.Things that make our hearts sing,
Things that kindle a fire in us that might have been out for 20 years. Or 30. Or 60.
Someone who is dissatisfied enough, or playful enough, or adventurous enough is throwing
caution to the wind right now.
And someone else is looking the adventure in the face, and also looking at what’s around them. They’re making the choice not to pursue the thrill.
But they know it’s still available to them.
That is precisely what the 21st Century offers us.
And that is what I am grateful for beyond measure.
The undercurrent of love, adventure, pain, thrill.
The absolute and total abundance of people we can relate to serve, and who can serve us in return.
A Divine source with a wicked sense of humor that ultimately loves and supports us.
And knowing that if you’re not ready for it, if it passes you by, if you fuck it up…
You have the chance to try again.
You are bigger than any circumstance.
You are bigger than anyone’s judgment of you, or your judgment of yourself.
My holiday wish for you is that you tap into that source in whatever form is appropriate for your life right now.
And walk toward it. Or run like hell. Your choice.
It will still be here for you, as it’s always been.
What are you thankful for this year that others might not see as a good thing…but you know really is?
Share below. Show someone the courage to speak truth, even when it isn’t pretty. They will be thankful for you!
More practice sessions (pre-Bermuda). But I did manage to get some practice in!
Too many people won’t start a project, won’t take a chance, won’t see it through…because they’re afraid of making mistakes.
That’s how we learn everything…screwing up and learning from it, and doing better next time.
Part One of four ball practice. I’m more than happy to document my mistakes. Because I KNOW I will OWN four ball juggling by the end of August. And I’m really not worried about what you think of me!
Anyway, if you’re here and watching these, I have a feeling we play nicely together.
And there’s Part Two.
Next one is gonna rock the house!
And there’s my “reward” for a few hours of Four Ball Practice.