I try not to think too much about my past. Instead, I try to use my experiences as markers on my paved road. That thing that happened at mile marker 100, or the breakdown at mile marker 380. In the grand scheme of things, that’s really all that you can do, but it took me a long time to come to this conclusion. A conclusion that I could only come to after taking a look at my past. My failures, my regrets, my successes. I am not going to pretend that the past doesn’t reach out and smack me in the back of my head every now and again, but I have learned to remember that just because a situation that I am currently in smells very similar to one that hurt me in the past, it does not necessarily mean that history is going to repeat it’s self. Though it could if I let it, by failing to apply the lesson that I have already learned, and then take appropriate action to bring about positive change.
If you think about something that you struggle with inside of your own life that you feel that you never really confronted, chances are you have the experience of this theme coming back around time and time again. For me it was relationships. That is until I delt with some things about myself and what I was allowing. I came to learn that we attract what we are, and how we see the world is how we see ourselves. I always wanted to help and fix. But I had to accept that I can’t “fix” or help those that refuse to be helped. It isn’t my responsibility, and other people are not within my personal control. Once I confronted this particular life theme properly, all the way down to my personal feelings at my root core, history stopped repeating it’s self. I had begun by really examining my relationships and why I kept drawing people to me that had these deep emotional problems, and then I realized something…their past was holding their power not unlike how mine did before my revelation.
When I began to look at what each person and myself had in common, I could see that we all had mixed emotions about who we really were as people. We had doubts that the “traditional” lifestyle that we were conditioned to go after was really for us. We all had unbelievable, yet untraditional talent and extraordinary gifts that we were covering up or outright denying. We had been told that “it’s nice to be an ______ (insert anything without a guaranteed paycheck from a corporation here), but what were going to do for a real job?” And a few of us grew up inside of households that were turbulent. If it weren’t our parents unchecked emotional traumas from their childhood spilling over into their marriages, than it was someone’s extended family that had extended their own unchecked personal toxicity too far into the new family unit. But then, those people have a past that has power too now don’t they?
When you stop to think about where the generation of 30-40 year olds are right now in this continuum of life, nothing is what we were prepared for. A college education gets you practically nowhere yet is 400% more expensive than our parents was. Some people in my age bracket have lost jobs and therefore houses, or our cubicles and offices pay the bills…but just bearly. Where is this “American Dream” that we were preached to about obtaining? How come we went and got a degree, got jobs, bought houses, got married, acquired debt, then lost jobs, lost houses, lost marriages, and yet we’re still looked at by older generations as the unreasonable ones devoid of personal responsibility and the ability to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”? All we did was follow directions! Directions that our parents were told to follow by their parents and their parents were told to follow before them. Yet, the world has changed since then, and continues to do so at an unprecedated rate. Therefore, as a result of all of this conditioning, there is a distinct possibility that we were not taught the tools to cultivate the emotional intelligence needed to equipt us for this unforseen change. As a result of that, there is the possibility that we don’t value ourselves, our talent, or trust in ourselves enough to go after our true life’s purpose because it may make us look weird. There are many hypothesis to explore on the subject, and I hope that we don’t waste precious time pondering it for too long. One thing I do want to be clear about is that I am in no way blaming our parents. Our parents could only pass on what they were taught and what they know and I just can’t see my great grandmother telling any one of her kids to follow their bliss instead of becoming lawyers and doctors. Therefore, exactly who’s past has power over us? Theirs, or ours? Or ours, because of theirs?
If you are 35 years old and your parents are in the age range of 60-67 years old, there is a sure bet that your great-grandparents were born in the 1800’s. Somewhere between then and now, traditions and the “right” way of living has gotten lost in translation. Very rarely are families not in some sort of discord after generations of family values. As a result of emotions not really being talked through or explored very much, a societal breakdown where emotions are not valid, or covered up with substances has occurred. Look at the stigma of depression that remains to day, if you’re sad take a pill or risk looking bi-polar as you forsake prescriptions to explore the deep trenches of your soul. Men are taught not to cry, women are taught to be agreeable while struggling for recognition inside of changing workforces. You need not look at the news to see how well all of this denial is working out for us. Meanwhile there is a large push to change our world to be a more altruistic one, but to do so requires emotionally healthy people that desire to live their life’s purpose. Stoicism had it’s place in our grand parents and great grandparents generation, and it still has a place with us too, but not if it means that we stay idle any longer. Maybe, just maybe it’s time to do things our own way. We followed directions and picked up suits instead of guitars…are we happy yet? While I love my job and I can honestly say that I am meant to be a paralegal, employed exactly by whom I am meant to be employed, most of you can see that I am struggling with how to launch a writing career in addition to my legal one. Not because I don’t have the time or the talent but because I fear the subject matter. I have a book burning inside of me that I am scared to write because what I have to say may not go over very well with some people inside of my life. But that’s just it…it’s my life. Maybe they won’t enjoy how they are described among my pages, but I wouldn’t be lying about these experiences. They actually happened. To me. How these souls would come across in writing is how they are coming across to me. In my life. Which now leads me back to the point that I am well aware of but struggle with, and that is that you will never ever please everyone. In fact, you shouldn’t even try, because living a life for the validation of others and their approval isn’t living at all.
Following your own path according to your own desires and beliefs really isn’t easy and I’m starting to find out that nothing worth while is. Whenever you go against what the mainstream is trying so hard to get you to conform to, you will pick up some animosity somewhere. People can be scared of change, and when you represent change, you scare them. Being clear on who you are and following your heart is the only way to combat this I have learned, and learn it I have…the hard way. I can no longer concern myself with what other people comprehend of me because it’s out of my control. The only thing within my control is myself. My actions, reactions, and the persistent pursuit of living a good life that encompasses compassion, integrity, faith and love with everything that I do, and teaching my child to do the same in a way that is his own. Once a critical amount of the masses grasp the same understanding, and once we come to fully understand that generation X through Z outnumber the baby boomers, I’m thinking that we can have a new earth.
I can’t sugar coat the above by making it sound like all of these conclusion have been easy to come to. In fact, it is not. I have cried, screamed, pouted, argued, and stood my ground, all alone, many days on this spiritually awakened path. I have been called “crazy”, “aggressive”, “out of touch”, “over the top”, “too much”, “outspoken” and an “anarchist”. My mother has received emails from friends and family complaining about me and outright bashing me. All of it has hurt me deeply, but the hurt has to stop with me. I can’t pass on the anger and the resentment of my past for that just sends ripples of the same into the Universe and is counter productive to the pursuit of a better world. What I have chosen instead to focus on is that the people who have hurt me all have been hurt in someway by their past. They don’t view what has happened to them as mile markers on their paved road. Nor do they use the lessons as they progress in life, some of them stopped at the first traumatic mile marker and now reside there. I have chosen instead to set boundaries, and accept the fact that their past has power over them, but not allow their past to have power over me. Does it make me popular to continuously take stands for what I feel is right for my life? Not in the least and I’m tired of explaining myself all of the time. But when did life turn into a popularity contest? When exactly did we accept the message that we must have approval and validation of everything that we do? From our parents who received the message from theirs who then received the message from theirs?
At some point in time we are going to be called upon to step into our highest self and it is my firm belief that we are at the precipice of that time. Good looks into our hearts are in order. So is the unshackling of our pasts, and the shedding of our limited beliefs. There will be plenty of discussions to be had as to how do to so, but I was once among 300 of Sylvia Browne’s most devout followers when she said “Take what I say that resonates with you, and then leave the rest.” Buddah even said “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Meaning we must pay attention to what touches our hearts and cultivate what sparks our creativity no matter how we may think we look to others, and no matter how many times we heard not to do so in our pasts. Our pasts are our pasts. Though it is a challenge to leave the emotions and feelings there and only take our lessons with us, it can be done. There are so many resources just waiting for us to discover them so to help us. We must love and honor our ancestors for without them, we cease to exist…but we do not have to live like them. And in fact, we are not supposed to. Instead, we can “take what resonates with us, and leave the rest.”
What great lesson has your past taught you?