Understanding the journey we are on is important. Our rear view mirror is so much smaller than the actual window for a reason. Our way forward requires us to focus on what’s next and not where we came from.
If we drag the past into the present moment we will be doomed to repeat the failures and hurts of our history. An old client of mine who worked in a domestic violence unit told me: “If someone witnesses, or is a victim of, domestic violence before the age of five there is a 80%+ chance they will be a victim or perpetrator of violence in the home as an adult.” We repeat what’s happened in our past because for us that’s “normal”.
Now important to note: we do have an obligation to the past. Complete it, completely.
If it’s not complete then we end up packing around baggage that, over time, gets heavy.
Once we are no longer weighed down with old, tired, worn-out scripts and emotions, we are freed to look forward and enter the new opportunities that are always presenting themselves.
Here, however, are a couple of things that will keep us trapped in the past. Firstly, if we are keeping secrets and are not open and honest. We are only as sick as our secrets. A symptom of this is feeling trapped. When the walls are closing in on us and the emotions of stuck, lost, empty start to wrap their tentacles around our soul, then we know there is a sick secret somewhere deep inside that needs to be released.
Secondly, numbing addictions become coping mechanisms. Numbing emotions are a classic way of remaining stuck and, often, stuck is a comfortable place to be. It feels familiar, like an old sweater that we love – not something we would wear out of the house but oh the comfort.
Compulsive behaviour only has power over us while it remains unconscious. Once we acknowledge its existence then it transforms from a comfy place to a very uncomfortable reality. AA step one: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” Replace the word ‘alcohol’ for any word and you get the gist. The unmanageability is the red flag being waved: “Hey over here, my life is a mess.” When we run to any form of checking out – rather than being present to the people and life we have now – it’s a sign.
Recently I was challenged to leave my phone at home while we went out for dinner. The emotion I felt was disconcerting. I realized, in that moment, that my relationship with the phone (not sure why we call it that because talking on it is such a small reason we own one) was of a compulsive nature. Wow… this opened my eyes to the subtly of addiction and the unconscious. Phone free zones are as uncommon these days as are alcohol-free/compulsion-free zones.
As we carefully drive into our future, be aware of what needs completing, what is keeping you stuck, sick or lost. The freeway (pun intended) is opening up before us. I hope our lives are unencumbered enough to embrace the new possibilities.
The stories we share allow us to put voice to our thoughts and feelings. They help us describe the things we have seen and done, the moments that matter, the things that have shaped us, and the things that have defined us. Read some of the Transformations Stories here.