Archive for November 2011

Letting Go???   5 comments

Letting Go?

I sometimes wonder if it is a rite of passage during the life of a human being to be told the phrase “ Just let it go”. It is the slogan that implies we need to forget the trauma’s of our past in order to overcome them. I can think of one way to achieve this kind of forgetting and that is through the degenerative disease of Alzheimer’s. With Alzheimer’s over time you will even forget how to walk.

Unless you have a severely masochistic personality this is not the way anyone is going to want to have to “let go” of their trauma.

The thing is, you cannot “let go” of your past. It happened and the memory of it, albeit distorted from the actual event, will exist across your lifespan. So what are you going to do with it?

Are you going to give so much weight to it that its burden prevents you from living your life as you would like? Is the guilt over past mistakes causing you to dwell and not move forward? What about the anxiety associated with visions and thoughts of a traumatic event such as a violent attack or rape? Are you unable to forgive someone for wrongdoing and hold onto resentment to the extent that you yourself suffer? Are you unable to ask for forgiveness or forgive yourself?

If this is going on for a long time then you are allowing the memory of the past to effect you in the present. Notice how I use the word “allowing”. I do so not to blame you but to empower you. If you believe that you are allowing the past to hurt you now than alternatively you have the power to stop it now, or later if you so choose. The goal is not to let go of the past, rather it is to put in its rightful place and take away the energy you devote to it so that it is not impairing you now.

Putting the past into its proper place can be achieved;

Believe in the perspective that are able to do so.

If you believe that there’s nothing you can do about the past then you will fulfill this belief and do nothing about the past. If this is the case with you, challenge this belief by testing it out.

One way to test drive the idea is to take a moment and dwell upon your favorite food. Think about all the ways it can be prepared, imagine the savory taste of this delicious meal, imagine it is the best meal you have ever had. What reactions are you having? Are you starting to crave the food? Are you contemplating even getting up and having this meal? Are you salivating? If so, you have just experienced what happens when attention and intention is directed at something. If “nothing” happened, what else were you directing your attention and intention at? The Past???

Fine

Then face the past –

Often times when a past memory that gives us pain arises we want to quickly avoid it and turn away from the thoughts in hopes that it will go away. “Don’t think about that now!” goes the self talk.

Well,

When you find yourself gripped by the memories, visions and thoughts associated with whatever it is about the past that you are giving your attention to then turn it up a notch and overload it with attention, go through it. This can be done alone or with another person, professional or not. Talk to yourself, debate it with yourself if you have to. What conclusions do you come up with? Write it out if need be for further analysis. Take on the past head on. By overloading it with attention you can win it over and come to know that it does not control you but it is you that gives control to it.

Put it away by coming to the present and looking forward

If you are dwelling on the past and suffering for it get your mind out of the past by examining the present an looking forward to the future. Are you living the life you want to? Are you fulfilling the goals you desire? Turn your intention and attention to these aspects of your life. Realize that it is a waste of your energy to allow yourself to get stuck on the past.

Use the past as a strength

When you do face the past what are you learning from it? Our collective experiences contribute to our learning and growth. For instance, if you were ripped off by someone would you rather hold a grudge and get angry and upset over getting ripped off or use it as a learning experience to use caution and greater awareness when dealing with similar situations in the future?

The same is for survivors of trauma, you’ve been there, done that. You are now a valuable resource for other people who may have suffered through a similar experience, someone who can help others get through it and in doing so may help yourself get through it. You now understand how much suffering can encompass the human experience, use it as a measuring stick to appreciate the good things in your life and take pride in the progression you have made. Many of you have already done amazing things in life but you cloud it by devoting so much energy to the past.

The choice is yours, the possibilities are only limited to your own mind. What are you doing now? What are you going to do tomorrow?

Don’t let go. Rather embrace, accept, and put it in its proper place with the rest of your experiences that have helped shape the highest expression of the evolution of consciousness on this planet, you.

Stay peaceful.