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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Letting go of the past

Have you ever watched one of those movies where the convicts are chained to a great big steel ball? Not only are they chained to the steel ball but also their hands and feet are chained in there as well! Quite obviously they can no longer sprint for freedom, which I guess is the idea of it all in the first place. They all move slowly and awkwardly and seem quite a dispirited lot. They physically can't let go of the past. It's chained to them, a constant reminder of what they have done and what has happened to them.

How many of us go through life all chained up to the past, dragging a huge heavy ball of old "stuff" around and never letting go. It can be just as exhausting as being chained to the real thing. If there is one thing that can stop you moving forward to your better future - it's your past.

It can be all of those little things that happened to you that you wished hadn't. But - they did! Let's be realistic; you know that you can never go back in time to change what happened to you at school, at home, at work, with friends, with business, with finances, with relationships, with your health. All those terrible, horrible, embarrassing, financially crippling, emotionally debilitating, health destroying things. They all happened and, at least to you, they were very real.

I'm going to tell you a personal story. When I was young and at secondary school (college in America) my mum and dad moved home a lot. I was very shy at the time and with all the new schools and having to constantly make and lose friends, my self confidence was pretty much destroyed. Each school I went to seemed to have a different syllabus and way of teaching. The last school I went to was an all boys private school. I was having a very hard time especially with maths.

One day there was a problem with maths that I just could not understand so I asked the teacher if he could spend some time with me to help. He must have been having an ultra "bad day at the office" because I was told very abruptly to not waste his time. All my life I have carried a great dislike for that person. Not quite hate but a sort of "I hope I one day bump into him in a dark alley someplace" thing. I have dragged that particular steel ball along all my life up to now.

Well it just so happened that this school had a reunion recently - and I went. I got to meet guys I hadn't seen for 40 years! It was a great night. Also present were some of our old teachers - and, yes - THAT old teacher. He walked up to me and we started chatting, and guess what? He was a great guy! Not at all like I remembered. We talked, as old friends do, about our grandchildren and how wonderful it was to be grandparents. We chatted about lots of stuff for some time. As we talked I could feel the chain holding that steel ball snap and gently fall away.

We all need to let go of the past. It's gone, can't be changed, history. Letting go of the past is one of the most liberating things you can do to empower yourself. You may have tens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of different size steel balls chained to you day and night, exhausting you as you desperately try to move forward and make progress. You need to find a way to let them all go, cut them loose, one by one. Believe me, letting go of the past can be a wonderful and liberating gift to yourself.

How to start - stay tuned till next post.

A quote for you: "Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love? - Leo Buscaglia

Inspirational reading: "Emotionally Free: Letting Go of the Past to Live in the Moment" - By David Viscott M.D.

1 comment:

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