Letting the Past Go So We Can Enjoy This

I encourage you to toss anything that makes you feel the past is more special than right now, that life will never be as good as it once was.

You may experience some resistance as you feel the pull of yesterday as the glory days. Our culture is very nostalgic. Sometimes people talk about the past as the good old days. But I think that's a symptom of being overwhelmed. Right now things might feel like too much, so yesterday can seem easier and better. But once we start living with the past on a pedestal we begin to lose an essential part of ourselves.

I can tell when clients get caught up in something that takes them back to a "more special time." A big part of them diminishes. It's like they are evaporating. They become weaker. This right now is replaced by a remembered and imagined ideal of a previous now. Studies have shown that our memories are not accurate. We add details to support what we want to believe. When we are lost in a "better time" we are doing it for comfort, to overcome or erase a feeling of pain, sadness or loss.

I was working with a client and we came upon his encyclopedias that he used when he was a kid. These old books sat in his living room and gave off a thick and heavy energy. He looked dull as he gazed at the set. I asked if we could let them go. He gave an emphatic "no!" I asked if he looked at them. He looked away and said he didn't. He said they were filled with useful information and that he wanted to be able to use them as resources, but his voice sounded tense and at half volume.

I said he must have gorged on the information in these books when he was a kid. He lit up with a distant remembering look in his eyes and said yes. I said that it's great that he loves to learn and these books helped make him who he is today. When we let something go that is no longer of use to us, we appreciate the benefit it brought us, and we open to doors for something new that suits our current needs.

I asked my client how it felt to learn. He said that it makes him very excited and happy. I had him hold one of the encyclopedias and asked how it felt. He said, "stale." I said this is just like cleaning out the fridge. We feel better when we eat fresh food. He said he was okay about letting go of the encyclopedias.

I try to only keep what reflects my life as significant in the moment. Recently I felt this wasn't the case with where I live. My lease is up at the end of this month, I've been looking at a lot of new apartments, but I noticed I was choosing to look at places that I was used to living in and none of them were making me happy. These apartments felt like a part of me that used to be exciting about twenty years ago, but now didn't fit me.

I want my new home to support my present life as a great place to be. So today I'm signing a lease for an amazing coach house. It's huge and sunny and near the lake and feels like home.