Thursday, February 25, 2016

3 lessons I learned from my past

When looking back is a good thing…

The New Year has been rather eventful with so many twists and turns. Life somehow never fails to surprise, with its curve balls of chances, choices and change.

Over the past two months a business trip took me visiting many old addresses. Flashbacks of years gone by; people and places left behind in the race of life and living. I walked through some corners of my heart that I had squared off and some footsteps which when retraced unleashed much nostalgia. Though I preach and practice dreaming forward – just for these few snatched moments I succumbed to dreaming backwards, lying vulnerable in a labyrinth of memories.

It did leave me feeling rather exposed and reflective. Yet what came forth as a result was enlightening. What was that, you might ask?
This - 3 lessons I learned from my past.

Don’t shut out your past. If it has resurfaced; understand why.
Hmmm.  Aren’t you curious about those moments when something or someone from your past reappears in your present as if you have stepped into a time machine?  Like an instant portal into that era, there you are swirling in memories of that group of colleagues that you shared every bit of your life with back then, or that old romance, those special girlfriends that you bared your soul with – opening floodgates of remembrances.

Now I believe that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences in life. If things and people have stepped into the present, they’re here to show you something about yourself in the here and now. So you might wonder, is it the right time for me to resolve something, think differently, change some beliefs or offer a helping hand? Why not treat these windows into your past as an opportunity to remember who you were and appreciate what you are now? Give yourself some credit for the path you have walked and the milestones you’ve achieved along the way.  
Then step one layer down to ask, “Is there something from this period of my life that I need to let go of?” “Is there something from this period of my life that I need to hold on to?” If the answer is maybe or yes, then write a word that represents that thought. Is it about who you were then, what you learned, is it a characteristic you need to lose or an abandoned self-belief that you need to find again and carry into the present. Treat the past as a teacher. Simply ask the memories that sift up from your past, “Why are you here now?” and then keenly listen.  
You are the ultimate artist of your bigger picture. Design your life by using these precious stones of the past to springboard you into the future you desire. 

You don’t need to fix the past every time in order to have a future:
Whilst in the above process of understanding your past you may as a result come across a quality, a certain mind set or a habit which you’re still struggling to imbibe or abstain from. Unresolved, it (re)appears posing as ‘problems’ in your personality.
At such times; we tend to believe that the responsible, necessary, or adult-like thing to do would be to hold the problem tightly until we fix it. Professionally I must admit, I often recommend to examine it, analyze it, talk about it and focus on it with a whole lot of emotion and energy until you deal with it.
However in hindsight, sometimes that creates more suffering. Of course, there’s a lot to be said for understanding ourselves and our experiences in a new way and taking action where action is needed. Those are absolutely necessary. But keeping our “problem” under a constant microscope, trying to use our intellect to solve it as if it’s a crossword puzzle, is not the only way to freedom.
Sometimes the best chance for change comes from letting go of everything you thought you knew, letting those loose ends remain just that; loose and undone. Instead focus on the present. Be open to fresh, new insights and ideas. Don’t carry around the box of your past; leave it there. As an alternative, address your issue in the now. Start thinking anew.
Don’t think inside the box. Think outside. No box required.
Remember; you can’t make old friends; you either have them or you don’t.
Most importantly along your journey, there would be some people who watched you rise and shine out into your own. Some of these celebrated your victories with you and a few other quiet ones silently rejoiced from the shadows. Oblivious, you lived your life up until you met them again. After decades. Maybe more. And it didn’t matter. It was just like old times. No questions asked, no judgments passed. These hearts still carry a torch for you. Cherish those souls. The ones which have stood the test of time and distance. Give them a permanent spot in your life and keep them close. These special ones are for keeps.
I’ve discovered that staying connected with old friends can make you happier here and now.
Look at me; I’m grinning from ear to ear.

Are you struggling with your past? Do you wish to learn how to let go of your problems? Are you unable to overcome old memories from your past and be more content in the present? Contact Tasneem Kagalwalla to know how Personal Coaching can help you embrace yourself in the present whilst creating the compelling future you desire.

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