Many of us appear to live more in the past than we do in the present. Strange when you think that the past only exists in our memories. It’s interesting too that many of us will have totally different perceptions of the past. It can be lovely though can’t it, to look at all those old photographs and reminisce. To think back on our travels to all the wonderful places we visited, delicious meals we had and lovely people that we have met. How wonderful too the records of our children growing up and photos of your 30 something when she/he was knee high. Yes memories of the good times are precious. They can raise a smile, a laugh, fill us with pure joy as we recall precious shared moments with loved ones and friends.

Memories are not always the thankful, joyful filled moments though. Our minds can stray to the painful memories too and the occasions we would rather forget. We can be compelled to recall them, and all the pain that they once brought, comes brimming to the surface once again. The only healthy way forward, in that case, is to make sure we do acknowledge them, release them and let them go. You did the best you could in the situation you were in at that time. Beating yourself up is pointless and doesn’t change what might have been. It’s who you are now that matters and what that experience has taught you in going forward. Acknowledge and accept you past. Those memories were part of who you were or part of your situation at the time. Let them be on their way through and don’t allow them to fester, continually eating away at you like some sore that refuses to heal. You see every time we trawl through the memory of our painful event, I do believe we are reinforcing it in our bodies and storing it in our cells much like we store files in the hard drive on our computers. The physical ailments appear and we don’t have to look very far to establish their root. We can learn and grow from the past but we surely can’t dwell in it and allow it to define us. You’re not the person you were then. With each passing decade our thoughts beliefs and experiences change and with them, it changes who we are. We grow up, we mature and in many cases become different people. We are continually evolving. I guess the most damaging part of being continually stuck in the past though is missing out on living now. Remember the past no longer exists.

So what of the future I hear you say. Well technically it doesn’t exist either.  We can dream and plan for sure but the future doesn’t really exist yet. I always think we need to mindful not to step on to the, what I call the “if only conveyor belt” You know that habit you can get into of continually wishing for the future. Thoughts like , once I get that new car I will be really happy, once I get a better job I will be happy, once I meet the man of my dreams I will be happy, once my children are a little older I will be happy. Happiness has to be now, within you and not some future date or after some outside event, person or experience comes along. That’s really just wishing your life away. How many mothers when they are faced with children at the baby stage pray for the future so that they can have some undisturbed sleep. Natural I guess when you’re sleep deprived. Unfortunately, they discover years later that those times were really short- lived in the grand scheme of things and they are left wishing they could have the time back. Whatever we are going through, we need to be mindful that this too shall pass. Dream, plan and get ready for change but never live there continually or suddenly you may find that there are so many things that you missed on the way along that you are filled with regret.

Well here we are you and I in the present. It does exist. As I write and you read we are in the moment. The present is indeed a gift. We need to make the most of every moment we have in it. We need to appreciate the people we have in our lives and make sure we never forget to tell those we love how much they mean to us. We need to wholeheartedly embrace opportunities and life’s experiences now. Life is for living, for sure, is a true statement. It’s about finding true joy, love and peace in what we have now. It’s about being grateful for what we have no matter how little that might be. It’s about valuing people not things.  I leave you with this thought………

Acknowledge and accept the past.

Dream, plan and embrace the future

But always when you’re living fully in the present.

Elaine J A Wood