The past is an ancient thing, from the past in this lifetime through to the affects of things that happened decades, hundreds, and even thousands of years ago, we are affected by the river of time that flows through our minds and experiences.
How though, do we overcome the past? How do we heal? We do so through a process of love, if we will.
Let’s start with a weird kind of healing logic – brace yourself. The only way you can forget the past is through a severe brain illness or injury, and no one wants that. When working in a neuro-rehabilitation unit I became profoundly grateful that I could remember my past.
You can come to a point of healing where you don’t think about the past, where you know you’ve triumphed over it, but you can never forget. If you accept that life gets a lot easier because you stop fighting your own mind, and possibly feeling stupid because you haven’t forgotten it. But how do we heal?
1. Stop Raging
The world has a process and flow in the same way that humans have a process and flow. Terrible, terrible, things have happened in the global past, and no amount of apologising by anyone will undo it. Sometimes a personal apology makes you feel better, but in truth it undoes nothing.
When you recall bad things that have happened to you, or in the world, understand that time moves forward and the most important thing is to learn from the past and try to teach others to avoid it. But in recalling it you resurrect an anger that there is nothing you can do with, because the world has literally moved on.
We rage against the terrible events that happened to indigenous people’s, to other races, to women, to people of different genders, but we can change none of that. We rage against personal experiences, and we can’t change that either. We can only remember and use that memory not for hurting ourselves, but in respect and prevention.
That’s called triumphing over the past.
2. Find Love
I always said that I wouldn’t know if I loved either of my parents until they had passed away. I had such a complex relationship with them I really didn’t know what I felt in the end (no physical abuse, plenty of mental and emotional battering).
Dad and I got to a good place before he died, but mum and I didn’t. Yet there is not one ounce of doubt in my mind that I loved them both. I came to this by understanding their past, thinking as an adult about the ‘stories’ I’d heard when I was young, realising they weren’t stories, they were the horrible and tragic lives of my parents and grandparents. Just words heard when you are a child can be real eye-openers if you’ve been able to develop compassion for humanity, and your parents are human.
At their funeral the minister said it sounded as if I’d found forgiveness, something I’d struggled to find for years – what is forgiveness? That’s when I realised it’s just love.
3. Take Charge
Only you can decide what you think about, only you can decide where you focus. A few years ago I would have laughed at that idea, but then I learned that it was true, and when I turn a bad thought around I feel much better mentally and physically, in fact it’s quite shocking how mentally debilitating it is to think a hurtful or angry thought. Notice your mind, body, and emotions the next time you’re thinking of upsetting things, especially angry things.
Healing isn’t as hard as you may think, it’s often sold to us as a struggle, but the truth is that changing what you think about, thinking in the now, visualising an amazing future, these simple things take your mind away from the past. If you decide to feel that this must be a terrible struggle then so it will be. If you decide that the next time you think of a bad memory you will find a good one instead, or focus on the amazing future that you have the power to create, then that’s how it will be.
At the end of the day the only person who can choose to heal is you, the only person who can let go is you. Just never let anyone who hurt you take control of your present and future. LET GO NOW!
With hugs and respect