“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” - Buddha
Welcome to my second post in my three part blog series of learning from the past, living in the present and embracing the future!
I’ve spent so much time thinking about my past and future. My thoughts would travel backwards and forwards in time. In the middle of that flux, I become disassociated with my present.
I used to look at my past, and wonder ‘what if?’
What if things turned out differently? What if I acted another way instead of the way I actually did? What if I did this? What if I did that? I thought about how painfully shy I was about my hearing loss in high school and in university. I never liked speaking about it, and I let it stop me from exploring things further. What if I had the confidence that I have now? Would I have made more friends? Would I have been more open to trying new things? Would things have stayed exactly the same?
Playing “what if?” is a dangerous game. It’s easy to get swept up into a myriad of different worlds where anything could have happened. The past will never change, no matter how many different ways you spin it. Consciously, we all know this, but unconsciously, we let our mind wander into the past. Sometimes, we can go so far into the past, that we forget where we are in our current state - the present.
The past is not a place to dwell, but a place to learn, and to apply those learnings in the present.
Before, I used to look back into my past and feel regret.
I regretted how I thought about myself - if I was more confident in who I was, then maybe I would’ve forged a different path. I regretted how I didn’t spend enough time with those that I loved, or didn’t give them the attention that I should have. If I did that, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so bitter or angry now that they are gone - bitter that they were taken away too soon, or angry at myself for taking them for granted.
It’s common for a lot of us to look back into the past and feel regret - it happens so often that we forget about the other emotions. What about happiness, fondness, and pride? No matter the memory, or the emotion felt from that memory, there is always something to be learned.
I learned that even though I didn’t view my past self with that much self love, I no longer want to feel that way now - so I’m working on letting go of my limiting beliefs and my second guessing and making sure that I value myself and the person I am right now. The person I was in the past had her moment, now it’s my time to shine.
I learned that people do come and go in my life, whether it’s temporary or permanent - and it’s important to relish every moment with those you love, and to make sure to show your love and appreciation when you know you can - which is right now.
The past will always be there, but it’s set in stone. What happened has happened. Those chapters have been written and published. What is not set in stone is what is happening right now. There’s miles of blank pages ahead of us, and we hold the pen.
I’m learning to be more intentional with living in the present moment. I view my past as something to be learned from, and I make sure to not cast my mind too far into the future. I’m leaving behind hesitation, procrastination, second guessing, limiting beliefs and more. I’m working on acting on my intuition and taking the steps to go after what I want, when I want.
I’m trusting myself, and ultimately trusting that things are happening for me, even when I can’t see it.
I’m no longer going to dwell in my old feelings of shame and regret when it comes to parts of my past - my hearing loss especially - and all the limiting beliefs that came with it.
I learned that feeling embarrassed of my hearing loss led me to regret that I wasn’t more confident about it. Now, I’m proud of my hearing loss. It is a part of who I am - and it has shaped several parts of me. Not all parts, but a lot. I’m taking that feeling of pride and showing it in how I speak to myself, how I speak to others and how I show up in life every day.
I will continue to learn from my past, and continue to dream where the future will take me, but I will always bring myself back to the present to do the things that will help me fulfill those dreams.
What are some of the things that you do to bring yourself back to the present moment?