Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Past Is Gone

“One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone;
and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come.
Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”


Inside each one of us there are compartments filled with memories and experiences. Some are happy. Some are heartbreaking. Some are uplifting. Some are depressing. Some we revisit happily. Some we prefer to forget. But no matter how they are defined, these remnants of our past are an important part of us; each moment fuses together with the next to shape the person that we are.



Sometimes there are things in our past that we are not proud of or happy with. We force them to stay dormant, pushing them back down into the foul cavity where they reside. Over time, minute by minute, day by day, year by year, these moments from the past get buried, covered by layer upon layer of denial and avoidance.



But no matter how deep we dig the grave, we cannot truly bury the past; it manages to claw its way back up. It is a living, breathing entity that follows us around until we neutralize it. Instead of facing it, accepting it in all its ghastliness, forgiving our weaknesses and fears, we attempt to run away from our past. And it runs with us.



We can’t erase the past any more than we can escape it. What we can do is confront it. Examine it. Try to understand it. Accept it. And forgive ourselves for parts of it. But we must not dwell in it. Or stay trapped in it. We must move forward. Without it.



There is no greater burden in life than to be carrying the weight of the past on our shoulders, lugging it around like penance. We must learn from it, instead. Every experience we have is a stepping stone towards the future; a gathering of wisdom. A deposit into the ‘bank of life’ that grows and matures over time.



Experiences – good or bad – contribute to the development of our souls. They help us evolve as human beings. The past is there for us to learn from - mistakes and regrets included. Each moment we travel through is a stepping stone to another tomorrow. And another.



I like to think of my own past as a precious compilation of short stories to which I am the female protagonist (sometimes antagonist), carefully documented and preserved; each one filed away as I move onto the next story.



I cannot go back and change anything – and have no desire to do so. And dwelling on moments gone by is futile. Instead, I gather those experiences and process them into higher learning. And hope they help me to grow into a better person.



Then I let those moments go. In peace.



Life unfolds in the present...and that’s where I want to be.

14 comments:

  1. Living in the present can be so hard sometimes but you seem to know the secret of how to do it!

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    1. Yes, it can be awfully hard. Our past haunts us at times.

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  2. For years I wasted too much time re-living negative experiences and sad times. Thankfully, I spend less and less of my time doing this and try to focus on all the fun times instead.What has happened before cannot be changed but what happens next is up to you ( to a certain extent, anyway)This quote from Emerson sums it up for me: "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

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    1. What a beautiful quote! I shared it with friends; it's too good not to. I don't spend much time in the past. Things are good in the present, and there's nothing much I can do about what happened yesterday, the year before, decades earlier... I do wish some things had been different. But things are what they are, and here I am. May as well make the best of it.

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  3. What a beautiful post, with equally lovely photographs. This reminds me of the poem by Kalidasa:
    Look to this day!
    For it is life, the very life of life,
    In its brief course
    Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
    The bliss of growth,
    The glory of action,
    The splendor of beauty
    For yesterday is but a dream
    And tomorrow only a vision..
    The rest is here.. http://bikbikroro.blogspot.sg/2010/12/rejoice.html.. I wrote that post a year and half ago, and thank the Lord, I'm learning to truly live in the now, and to trust Him with the next now.. "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead".

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    1. What a lovely poem! I'm also learning to live in the now. And I am much happier in that state!

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  4. Thank you, Martha, for again a very thoughtful and inspiring post today. I think that we need to acknowledge the "dark" memories before we can move on. They have helped shape who we are and taught us through hard knocks how to be strong in the face of adversity. When negative events happen in the present, I have found it useful and helpful to acknowledge the hurt/anger/negativity but then move on and learn the lesson (if there was one) but not let myself stay trapped in the event. Thanks for your blog. My day is not complete without visiting it.

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    1. We do need to acknowlege the dark memories; I believe it's the only way to move on. Pretending something didn't happen, or trying to avoid it only makes things worse. Thank you for your kind comments about my blog. It's my playground and you're always welcome to stop by!

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  5. Fabulous thoughts Martha - I will pomder them for sometime. Our past experiences certainly make us who we are - some experiences I could have done without though and they haunt me to this day - when I let them - some things are much easier to move forwards from than others, that's for sure. Beautiful shots as well - I am a big fan of drawing the 'life' out of inanimate objects.

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    1. Some inanimate objects actually speak to us depending on how you photograph them. I haven't spent much time doing that, but I'd like to get more into it once I get more and more comfortable with my camera.

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  6. Like Sulky I have spent (and sometimes still do) too much time on what ifs and I wish when it comes to my past. I try to focus on the new day but the dark past just seems to always hang around right behind your shoulder.

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    1. It's easy to get caught up in that. We all do. I've just learned not to dwell in it, and how to stay focused on today. We can't get rid of our past; we can learn to live with it.

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  7. So lovely and so beautifully written Martha. You joy in the present is very much a part of your blogs, but there has been some letting go of the past as well. A pleasure to read!

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    1. There certainly has been some letting go; particularly in the past year. But so far, so good. I'm still in one piece, and happy despite everything. My blog is definitely a place to reflect my joy in the present.

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