You know how "they" always say "hindsight is 20/20", meaning that it's easier to see the problems and pitfalls of your choices after they're over? Well, sometimes we spend a little too much time looking backwards at the choices we've made and the things we've done and we forget to look at the opportunities we have right now and in the near future; that or we see the current situations through the filters of our past.
With all the talk about the Secret and the Law of Attraction, it occurred to me that a whole lot of people are looking back at their lives so far and making their lists and affirmations about corrections to what they see as problems instead of creating opportunities for new lives and new experiences.
We don't want to attract more baggage from our past. Let me explain.
Ever notice that when you pack a bag for a trip, things never repack as neatly or compactly once you've started going through the contents? You could use this analogy for your memories and experiences, too. Once you begin rummaging around in the memory pile, things don't fit back neatly and you find errant thoughts and memories creeping into your daily lives like a staticky white sock that attached itself to the back of your good grey wool suit. And they don't match any better, either! Your past is just that, p-a-s-s-e-d. It's all over and done with, things happened and you cannot un-happen them. No matter how much effort and perspiration we put into it, we can't change things that happened 2 seconds ago yet we spend countless hours in contemplation, personal debriefings, should'ing all over our best selves and wishing we'd done something different at the time.
Well, I'm sorry to tell you this, but you didn't and that's that. You made the best choice possible at the time based on the information, experiences, gut instincts you had at your disposal and the situation you were in at the time. There's no backtracking for a do-over. Yet we spend so much time trying to relive less than optimum experiences so we can do better next time. It's not foresight or hindsight we need. We need sight, plain and simple. We need to see what is right in front of us.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret.... You can remember the experiences - I'm not trying to say forget everything that has happened to us- but we don't need to relive these things over and over. Once is enough to make an impression.
Sidney Madwed says... "How many of your judgments, when you made them, were you perfectly sure they were correct, would you want to change now with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight? Since every judgment is only an opinion based on the limited information at hand, filtered through one's personal value system, it might be safe to assume no two people will judge anything exactly the same. Even concepts of right and wrong, good or bad, good or bad morals and ethics are only opinions, for what may be good in one case may be a disaster in another. "
You may have heard this before, but you know, human beings are hard wired to be meaning making machines. We just HAVE to ascribe a meaning to everything that happens. We can't help ourselves. I've heard some people say the weather that is terrorizing the globe lately is a punishment for the world's evil ways, some blame it on global warming. Okay, that's fine, but what is happening is we are experiencing lousy weather. Period.
When we're faced with an opportunity,whether it's favorable or not it's still an opportunity, do we look at it through all the filters of what has gone before, or look at it for what it is?
Five days before my 45th birthday, my life as I expected it to be ended. My mother passed away and disinherited me for a reason known only to herself. I was evicted from her home by her executor with nowhere to go. I felt betrayed, alone, and all the other things loss brings about.
Now I could have wallowed in self-pity (which I did for about three weeks, I admit - it didn't do anything to get me out of the situation I was in), gotten angry, bitter, cynical or any other way of being, feeling put upon and sorry for myself. I could have dug out my violins and looked at the situation as an insurmountable barrier and just given up, thinking I was a terrible person for my own family to have thrown me away like that. I didn't.
I'd had a huge revelation. I was no longer anyone's daughter, no longer anyone's mother. The roles that had defined my life had suddenly dropped away and I had a very rare opportunity to totally change my life as well as my view of the world and everything in it. I knew I had to begin again. I had to sit down and figure out just what I wanted my new life to be. I could have struggled to find the meaning in what had happened to me.
I remember the events, but the emotional charge has gone. There's no anger, there's no wasted energy in blame and sadness. I've unpacked those bags and don't intend to fill them up again (In fact, I've thrown them away). One of the things that's so great about discovering the difference between what happened and what we make something mean is that once we know we give events and situations their meanings, we can make them mean anything we want!
Now what I'm getting at is this: As you go forward into 2009, 2010, and on and on, you can choose to see each opportunity as something brand new and exciting or a rerun of a boring, sad old tape. If the first thought that enters your mind when something occurs is, "oh, no, not again" or "here we go again", that's your signal that you're just replaying old tapes and digging through those old bags. Fluff all that old stuff up, expose it to some fresh air and sunshine and toss out what doesn't fit anymore. You don't need it, really. We've turned the corner on Winter and Spring is coming. Start your Spring Soulcleaning a little early.