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The Maze Of The Past

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.

Memorial to Stolen Generations  "National Sorry Day"


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!


  1. Pixie Pixie August 5, 2013

    Lemme go read the precious post ….

    But, I do agree that memories are precious. Some moments from the past are truly magical..But, I also believe in letting go and moving on from past experiences. I know its easier said than done and I fail at this sometimes.. but, letting go of bad memories and moving on is important.

    I loved your last lines – “The past is no longer a maze โ€“ rather, just the path along my journey to this point”

    Hugs Corinne! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Pixie recently posted..Tribe Whispers โ€“ The plan unfolds: Chapter 3My Profile

  2. Shail Shail August 5, 2013

    An empath’s life is different from others. Truly so. That’s from one empath to another. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Shail recently posted..The reasonMy Profile

  3. Dangerous Linda Dangerous Linda August 4, 2013

    i enjoyed reading these two contrasting posts about how to deal with memories from the past back to back ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Paradox is to genius as passion is to love…


  4. divorceddoodling divorceddoodling August 4, 2013

    Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has been a great guiding light for me too. I’ve spent months and months writing, writing, writing all the bad memories, just spilling my guts out all over the page. So I fully appreciate what you’re going through. It’s a very important exercise and, to tie it up with the post you wrote before this one, about not preserving the past which is also important. BUT, in order not to preserve the past, or set it in stone you have to go through this process of exorcising the demons, so to say. Writing helps with that and eventually those tough memories lose their sting.
    It isn’t an intellectual exercise. If you feel it, you have to express it before it can be transformed.

  5. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson August 4, 2013

    Hi Corinne

    The bad memories serve us well IF we can just observe them, there is absolutely no reason to relive them. I did much reliving until I learned that I could place them in time and only just know they happened but let go of the feelings that accompanied them. It is a way of moving on and knowing full well as a child one was never to blame for other people’s wrong doings. It becomes a healing, you forgive and let go. Never does anyone get off the hook for evil, but they never know how you feel and to carry the hate hurts only the person carrying it. I once read, “not forgiving someone is like drinking the poison and hoping they die”.

    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Demolition of a LandmarkMy Profile

  6. Sheela Sheela August 4, 2013

    ‘Moving along with the new eyes’ appealed me a lot…we should try to make a platform of ‘the load of past’ and climb on it to see the present with our ‘new eyes’ instead of carrying it on our heads….
    Sheela recently posted..You are too Sweetโ€ฆ Honey!My Profile

  7. Roshni Roshni August 4, 2013

    Dear Corinne, you must do what makes you happy! I am glad you are negotiating your way through it all and taking care of the past!
    Roshni recently posted..Moms working togetherMy Profile

  8. Kajal Kajal August 3, 2013

    Everyone here has shared a lot of wisdom and I have learnt from all. I concur with each of the above regarding how we must move on from memories (bad ones). Guess, that’s true. But its not easy. I have had some very bad taste of truth in the recent past and all I ever told myself through the ordeal was that I am a bigger person, I control my life, my thoughts, my actions. They may form some basis from the events of the past but that may not be the complete truth of my life.

    Glad that you find yourself in a peaceful place right now. Its’s how it should be! God bless and warm hugs your way ! <3
    Kajal recently posted..55 Fiction- Love & MysteryMy Profile

  9. sridevi sridevi August 3, 2013

    Hey Corrine , you have echoed my thoughts exactly . I have a theory about memories . They don’t have a timeline . So if you are remembering an incident in your childhood, where your favorite toy was snatched , you will find it difficult to think with the mind of a forty year old . That moment you will become a four year old no matter what . And the moment , you start thinking with the heart of a wronged four year child , immediately you wish the memory away . But doors seldom close on their own . Especially the ones which are creaking and rusty . The moment I realized this thing about memories , I slip into the skin of a forty year old whenever those memories crop up . I try seeing them with the clarity of a forty year old . NO I don’t try to wish it away by focusing on something positive . The memory is there for a certain reason . I try to see it a see it as it is . Try to understand the people involved . and try to understand the circumstances that lead to the memory . Only after all this , I am ready to forgive and finally heal . Corrine , this process takes quite some time , but by the end of the day , you are finally out of the labyrinth . You begin to breathe in fresh air . You are where you were meant to be in the first place . Hugs to you lioness
    sridevi recently posted..Understanding my Roots-1My Profile

  10. Ruch Ruch August 3, 2013

    Now I am so intrigued that I am going to read this Book by Julia Cameron !
    Ruch recently posted..Faking Food !My Profile

  11. Richa Singh Richa Singh August 3, 2013

    I haven’t read your previous post, so I cannot comment on that. But whatever I read here I could relate to it. The emotions that memories often bring to us cannot be expressed in words and yet you have managed to pen it down for us. I was having a similar discussion with a few of my friends and we all agreed that bittersweet memories make the most of our chest. And as much as we want to retain the good ones its like ying-yang they come together. At the same time to not let them get the better of our moods is difficult but always a requirement…

    And next time you visit Lucknow you don’t go to Bhool Bhuliya you come visiting me ๐Ÿ™‚
    Richa Singh recently posted..Like you know me better than I know myselfMy Profile

  12. Ritu Lalit Ritu Lalit August 3, 2013

    A story told by Osho

    A nobleman was riding his chariot. He saw a frail wasted man carrying a huge load on his back. He stopped the chariot and asked the man to climb the chariot and he would drop him where the man had to go. The man at first refused, and then when the charioteer scolded him for refusing the nobleman, the terrified man climbed the chariot and tried to squeeze himself by the side of the charioteer. The nobleman laughed and invited him to the back where he was sitting. The man hesitated but when the charioteer glared at him, the man along with his burden climbed on to the back. He looked at the cushioned seat and found himself unworthy of it. He squeezed himself down on the wooden footboard.

    The nobleman revealed himself to be divine and said, โ€œI want you to sit by me. No, I command you to sit by me!โ€

    The man complied, but kept his load on his back.

    The nobleman said, โ€œPut the load on the floor.โ€

    The man jumped to his feet and protested, tears flowing down his cheeks, โ€œKill me, curse me, destroy me if you must. But this I can not do.โ€

    Your post reminded me of this story

  13. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg August 3, 2013

    I came across this which mirrors the thoughts you have shared and so agree with it… He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. He must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the matter itself is only a deposit, a stratum, which yields only to the most meticulous examination what constitutes the real treasure hidden within the earth: the images, severed from all earlier associations, that stand –like precious fragments or torsos in a collector’s gallery –in the prosaic rooms of our later understanding.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Chapter 2 : The Dream I Dream…My Profile

  14. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi August 3, 2013

    The maze of bitter memories have to be negotiated to a straight path. Bitter memories are bitter as one has tasted sweet memories so as to differentiate between the two and one without the other is like a coin with one side. This is impossible.

  15. Suzy Suzy August 3, 2013

    I truly believe that when destructive patterns emerge, they are the universe’s way of telling us, something needs to change. I hold onto the loving memories and the moments that bring me joy, but I have learned to let go of bitterness and things that serve no purpose. It’s of course a lot easier said than done. I’ve also learned to take a spiritual view of things (as you know I do) and that has certainly helped me move on and understand the bigger picture. And somehow when we see the bigger picture, the little things become insignificant.

    I also believe that in life’s journey we often journey alone. This is when our souls grow and learn the most. then there are moments when we join someone else’s journey as helpers to them until we can help no more and then there is the part when others join us on our journey as helpers until they can help no more. Just helps me deal with the ever changing landscape of my life.

    On another note, the morning pages sounds very interesting.
    Suzy recently posted..Cherished LoveMy Profile

  16. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury August 3, 2013

    Ok, so I was staring at my mailbox blankly when your email alert popped up and here I am.

    See, to me, happy moments in the past, no matter how my relationship with those people is at present, are moments I always give credit for. They cannot suddenly become unhappy. Not after enjoying them so much.

    As for unhappy ones, obviously we’re subjective when it comes to ourselves, at least initially. And one way to come to terms with them and see them in a different perspective is to hold a friend’s hand and walk through those experiences. You’ll be surprised at how, suddenly, everything looks very different from a shared viewpoint. Have you experienced that? ๐Ÿ™‚ This holds good for any thing we’ve gone through in life, with people or things.

    At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say it again: Only one life. Let us fill it with happy moments as often as we can. Sadness will always punctuate them…but may they be dispersed by the positive ones, preferably in a friend’s company. Vodka and banana chips taste much better with a friend, anyway.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Love, Vidya
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Walking On SunshineMy Profile

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