The past is the past. Simple. We call it the past, because it has passed us by. It has gone, it’s been done, it’s had it’s day It’s done and dusted. If you are dragging yesterday into today, the reality is it is dragging you away from the joy of today.
It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday; it doesn’t matter what happened last week; it doesn’t matter what happened ten years ago. It doesn’t matter who you had a crush on in high school. It doesn’t matter how you missed your high school football team. It doesn’t matter that time you embarrassed yourself in front of your family.
Nothing you do today can change any of that. Let me say that again. NOTHING you do today can change what happened in the past.
The past has been our journey. The past is our history. The past is our learnings. The past is how we have got where we are today. Our actions, our adventures, our mis-adventures, our mistakes, our problems. They are the foundation of where we are today.
AND who we are. Our past does not define us. It has given us the benefit of learning and growing, but it isn’t who we are.
We should learn from our past, and that’s it. We all make mistakes….all of us. Learn and move on.
In 2011, I was rocked to my very core with a mess that occurred in my life. I lost a lot of things close to me and because of the situation lost some of the very people closest to me. I was shattered. Shattered. At the time I didn’t see a way forward. I had all the coulda’s and shoula’s in the world.
How could this have happened to me? I didn’t deserve this! I was wallowing ……
In the end, the only thing I could do was simple.
What happened, had happened. I couldn’t look anywhere else but with me. What did I do to create the mess? What actions of mine had led to the series of events? How had I contributed to this?
I needed to realise my role in the drama and it was only then that I could learn and be better for it, and it was only then that I could move forward. And I needed to move forward and I had to look at each day as a way of getting better within me. And when I got better, the people around me got better.
My mum had been battling cancer, for some time and after this shattering event I was called to serve my mum in her remaining time on this earth. It was special and it was humbling. It was a time when my only concern was my mum’s final wishes and my daily focus was on ensuring this.
I still remember my last visit with her. It was a Friday afternoon. She was in her palliative care bed and her frail body was heaving with every breath. She was asleep but far from peaceful. That afternoon I sat in her room just being there. Just being present. I had nowhere else I would rather be. Mum’s wishes had been completed. And I just wanted to be there.
She woke briefly and sensed my presence. She asked me just one question after saying hello. The final wish had been to bring back my father’s ashes back to Brisbane and complete the plans for mum and dad to be laid together.
“Is everything done?” she asked
“Yes mum”, I replied with tears in my eyes. “Thank you.”
A long pause took over as I sensed the realisation of what was happening. In time she asked if I was still there and what I would be doing the rest of the day. It was about 4pm in the afternoon. I had nowhere else to go, and let mum know this and I would just stay with her for a while.
“OK, I’ll just go back to sleep” mum said in a voice so low and strained that I struggled to hear. “That’s ok mum, I’ll just stay for a little bit”
I left around 5pm the vision of mum’s heaving chest as she struggled for breath in a fitful sleep firmly in my mind. I understood we didn’t have much time, but it still came as a shock when we got the call at 8am the next morning, while getting ready to come up and see mum, that she had passed away.
There was sadness, of course. There was relief as mum was no longer in pain and she could finally join dad who had passed away in 1987.
But overall I felt honour.
I felt humbled that I was given this chance to serve my mum and I was privileged for those times we spent together.
I visit mum and dad’s memorial site, whenever I need clarity. Whenever I need “me time”. I’ll sit and have a coffee and allow my thoughts to focus. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t think of mum and dad, and it’s a common scenario when people lose someone, they feel closer to them after death. Life has a habit of getting in the way, and often we don’t make the time to catch up with people we should. Our life gets in the way.
These two events happened for a reason.
They forced me to look internally at my behaviours and at my agenda. Being called to serve my mum highlighted the need to see the real me, what was inside me. I needed to see who I really was. I realised I needed to change.
I could have been bitter! I could have been angry! I could have focused on the regrets. I could have played the blame game. But none of that could change anything.
Both events happened. I chose to look at the lessons I had learnt. Nothing I could do could change what happened. I created a mess and paid for that, and Mum passed away from cancer. I couldn’t stop that. I would have if I could have, but I couldn’t.
I could only do what I did. I chose to serve my mum and fulfill her dying wishes. And I chose to learn from the mess I created.
The choice was clear. Focusing my energy on the positive learnings and service, allowed me to create a better me. Focusing my energy backwards, would have created a poison within me that eventually would have eaten me from in the inside out.
Around the world, many live in the past. Focusing their energy and emotions on things they cannot control, trying to understand and contemplate the reasoning behind events from the past.A world we live in based on regrets and blame is not a pleasant place to be.
We live for yesterday, we live for last week, we live for last year.
We believe in the “good old days”, we believe our best is in the past. The only things the past is, is memories and lessons. We Should smile at the memories and we learn from the lessons.
I learnt to live in the present. To make the most of everyday. To continue to live and make the most of what I have and what I can deliver.
What happened has happened. Do the very best you can today. Stop thinking of all the Woulda’s , Coulda’s and Shoulda’s from your past. These thoughts serve you no purpose and can lead to poisoning you.
Focus on what you can do today. And when you learn to think like this, you life gets clearer, your life starts to get simpler. People who focus on making the best out of everyday and making the right decisions and combining with the right actions, lead us on a path to living simply.
Tony is an empowering coach that develops clarity for many of his personal and business clients. Contact Tony today and take the step towards clarity for your dreams and goals.
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