Two Buddhist monks are strolling through the forest when they come across a woman who’s struggling to cross a creek.
Without fuss, the elder monk quietly picks her up and gently carries her to the other side.
He continues walking.
Sometime later the young monk expresses his frustration. He’s cross and confused because the monks have an order of chastity that prohibits them from touching women.
“How could you have carried that woman?” the young monk demands.
The other monk quietly replies, “Who has done the greater offence? I put her down hours ago but you’re still carrying her.”
Let’s leave the monks to their stroll and let me ask you a simple question:
“What burdens do you still quietly carry from your past?”
No, really, I’d like to know.
We all have emotional baggage from our past. Even if Especially if, it wasn’t the fairy-tale childhood you’d have wished for, it’s over now.
What’s done is done.
Your parents, your kindergarten sweetheart, your ex-spouse …. or anyone else you believe did you wrong, it’s time to give ‘em a break.
Let it go.
‘They’ did the best they could.
And, even if they didn’t (for whatever reason), you continuing to re-visit your past with thoughts of “what if this” and “if only that” serves to rob you of the breathtaking joy of being fully awake in your own life.
Ironic, isn’t it.
We all know someone who’s sadly vacant from their own life today because they’re off deep in their past, picking at the scabs of unhappy memories.
Let it be.
And, as if stealing your present wasn’t insidious enough, living in the past can also make you scared about your future.
As harmful as we know it is… we still do it, don’t we?!
Do not underestimate the impact your emotional baggage has on your current weight, or day to day happiness.
On the surface this baggage can manifest itself in comfort eating (where you overeat to numb yourself from the pain of memories that still hurt) or a feeling of “what’s the point” or “I just can’t be bothered”.
Maybe you’ve already discovered no amount of comfort eating can fill up the painful parts of your past.
(I mean, how can it? Food’s food. It’s not a time-travel machine or magic wand.)
The wonderful news is you can re-pack your emotional suitcases. Heck, if you really want to darling, you can ditch some of the extra suitcases. Everybody knows it’s much more fun to travel light.
Next time you find yourself dwelling on the past ask yourself these questions.
#1: “Can I change it?”
No matter how smart, funny or gorgeous you are…you can’t change the past. Sobering, I know.
Repeat after me, “What’s done is done”.
Accept this truth. Be free.
#2: “What can I learn?”
Our past can be a great teacher. “What do I need to learn from this event?”
If you spot a learning: yay, learn it, move on.
If you cannot: yay, move on.
See the common element here? MOVE ON, baby. Get back to your life, now.
#3: Notice how short it is…
The next time you start worrying about something you did (or didn’t do) or something someone else did (or didn’t do), say these words, “I don’t have time for this”.
And move on.
Over time you’ll train your mind to ignore those thoughts and as the weeks go by the attachment to the past will fade away.
#4: Control freaks: I’m speaking to YOU.
When you return again and again to an event in the past, you’re actually seeking control.
Do you blame yourself when things go wrong or dwell on mistakes long after their expiry date?
It’s OK, here’s your mantra. Repeat after me..
“I cannot control everything. I cannot control everyone. And pretending I have this super power is driving me freaking crazy.”
Yes, you’re in charge of you but there are times when you will be utterly unable to change a set of circumstances.
So let it go. You’ll be glad you did.
Remember, no matter how much you analyse the past you STILL CAN’T CHANGE IT.
Oh hello, we’re back to #1.
#5: Cultivate compassionate
Picture this if you will: you’re a kid again and one of your classmates does something rotten to you. It happens. Here’s the thing…. when you replay that memory in your head, you’re being rotten to you.
How uncompassionate of you!
#6: Decide to forgive
Some of you’ll be challenged with this one because there’s a part of you that worries, “But if I forgive the person who hurt me, I’ll become their doormat.”
Honey, you’re already being a doormat….a doormat to your past.
Forgiveness isn’t about you condoning the other person’s behaviour. It’s about doing what it takes to get you back to your happy place.
Back to now.
Just a thought honey… maybe the person you need to forgive is you.
You have a choice.
You can choose to continue dragging your stuff around with you or you can choose to lighten the load.
Here’s to you re-packaging your suitcases and travelling light.
Love etc, Avril