Yesterday I wrote about not looking back on the past. But certain comments, especially those from Vidya and Kathy, make me want to expand on this and talk about the need to look back on the past! Am I contradicting myself? I think not. Let me explain.
I recall my one and only experience of a maze in the city of Lucknow, India. For someone who is claustrophobic, as I am, any dark and closed structure like that can be an absolute nightmare. I couldn’t wait to get out of the dark, closed walls and breathe fresh air. I needed to escape.
Just like I needed to escape the maze of the past.
Sometimes thinking about the past, especially if you’ve had a lot of trauma and hurt, can be like that dark and claustrophobic maze. Who would want to go in again? But in my experience, you need to go in again for a reason. I suggest we go into the past not to dwell and be bitter, but to learn more about ourselves and examine the experiences we’ve had with new eyes.
At the start of this year, I began to write Morning Pages, as I continue to find my way through Julia’s Cameron’s course. That exercise brought up so many memories that I had suppressed in my eagerness to ‘breathe fresh air’. However, suppressed bad memories, like garbage that keeps piling up, can start to stink if we don’t take care of them. And the garbage in my life was ready to be disposed of. I saw patterns of behaviour in myself: attracting people who manipulated me; trying to be Ms Fix-It; fighting other people’s battles, etc. I realized this couldn’t continue this way. I had to take a stand for myself and I did. I realized that nothing was more important than peace within. If I was misunderstood in the process, it didn’t matter.
I’m trying to keep my memories real. As I recall my childhood, I remember the love, the care, the sacrifices of my parents. I also recall with a smile, the fun, the laughter and the madness. However, I’m not going to pretend I had a perfect childhood – for an empath who absorbs the feelings of others, some days were absolute hell. But I can recall those days too with no bitterness and examine my role and the role of others in those situations. The same holds true of all the other memories.
The Morning Pages, have become my way of taking care of past memories. They’ve become my way of healing, forgiving myself and others and moving on. I find myself being freed of so much of the past and moving forward with ‘new eyes’. The past is no longer a maze – rather, just the path along my journey to this point. I’m breathing fresh air and loving it!