Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Yesterday

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 When it comes to yesterday, there’s a difference between living in the past—and learning from it.

As the quote by Kierkegaard in the Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights masthead says, Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. Insights rarely come without analysis of patterns in your past. When you “get it” all at once, it’s called an aha moment in the present. It relates to the future, because hopefully you will take what you learned from the past and carry its lessons forward.

That’s why at these crossroads of past, present and future, I recommend that we stop, look both ways, and listen for signs. Those times are magical when past, present and future merge. They allow us to take lessons learned into the future and with them the possibility of new behavior patterns. They are threshold experiences, and our willingness to learn and change from our experience is the essence of growth itself.

But what about when we get stuck in the past and can’t let go of yesterday?

This is #5 in a series of 10 words drawn as oracles, spirited topics to ponder in our Hot/Cool community. Visit the post for Word Oracle #1 (Upper) for background on why we’re playing with words for ten posts.
What to Do When You Can’t Unglue

Whether you’re stuck on an ex, stuck in a job, or stuck in old ways of thinking, it can be murder on the spirit.  What can you do to unglue?

We all know the expression, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” It’s important to “examine your conscience,” as one of the nuns in my parochial school used to nag us, to see whether or not your rut is fear of the unknown. When we are deeply entrenched, we’ve used up so much energy digging the hole, it’s hard to have enough juice to climb out of it.

But if the problem is only a habit turned ritual turned rut, mere awareness can be a tonic. That’s where the prescription is to do something different—even if it’s “wrong”—even if it’s only an experiment. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be taking a different route to work, eating a different breakfast cereal, or deciding you won’t leave the house without saying something positive to everyone in your family. Start small. Make mini-changes. Soon the small steps will domino into a more open and adventurous you, free of entrenched habits. It’s all about courting a new habit of openness to the New. You’ll find it’s not so scary. In fact, it’s exhilarating to mix things up a little.

On the other hand, when things are more emotionally based like a relationship or major loss of a job or family member: these are more difficult to let go and may take stronger measures. One of the tricky aspects of the human psyche is how we know intuitively that we have to come to terms with yesterday and our past in order to move on. When we are seriously stuck, we’re just not getting the lessons, opportunities, or insights presented in the loss. That’s why we can’t move forward. Our psyche knows we can’t leave the stuck place until we do, so we stay there. It’s terrible to wait till it’s so painful; we nearly break. Why be miserable. See a counselor, your clergy person, an astrologer, or another consultant or advisor you trust who can help you get from stuck to “getting it.” When I serve in this role in my Inner Growth Work practice, I consider it a sacred trust and am deeply moved by helping others move on. It’s one of the things I live for, because I’ve been there and wish I had someone like me help me before I spend decades mourning a lost relationship that hurt so deeply, I never could move on completely in that area of my life.

Another tip? My friends the flower essences. Flower essences help move emotions to completion. There are flower remedies for being stuck itself (Blackberry by FES), mourning the loss of a love (Bleeding Heart by FES), and being stuck in the past (Honeysuckle by Bach and Healing Herbs). In fact, there's a flower essence to fit nearly every human condition. If you’ve been stuck and long for a boost out of your deep rut, flower essences maybe be something to consider.

Rewriting Your Story

We don’t like to hear it, but many of us enjoy our drama at some level. One of my favorite quotes fits what I want to say next perfectly:

Change your melodrama into a mellow drama.
~ Corita

The ultimate goal is to rewrite yesterday into a positive part of today and tomorrow. My tender heartbreak in my late teens/early 20s was a vehicle for one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I tended toward relationships that had high highs and low lows, laced with both intense pleasure and equally intense pain. I would overlook unkindness, even cruelty—and for sure, very unloving behavior—just to get the highs. It had to hurt enough that I would ultimately understand that I couldn’t allow anyone to mistreat me. No pleasure I worth it! This didn’t just go for “romantic” relationships but carried over to friendships and a vast variety of interactions.

Now I see this pain as one of the greatest teachers of my life and have “rewritten” it as a key experience to make the rest of my life a better story. Recently, I had the pleasure of being on a paranormal panel with a number of other professionals in hypnotherapy, the psychic arts, and identification of unwanted household entities (“ghost busters”). The hypnotherapist and I had a fascinating discussion about past lives, and I am lucky to be privy to several of mine through past life regression. Currently I am facing the emotional fallout from when I was an astrologer in another lifetime where the powers-that-be harmed me physically for “seeing too much.” My colleague has done hundreds of past life regressions and her simple statement is where we all have to start, “Then was then and now is now.”

Hear yesterday’s message, learn from it, and rewrite your tomorrow.

And now for a little journey to help you get started.

Meditation and Journaling on Yesterday

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “yesterday” to yourself.  Let it rest on your mind, then let your mind speak. What does the word yesterday mean to you?  Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I am thankful for my past and everything I learned from it. I am willing to hear its lessons, bring them into the future in a positive way, and let go of what no longer serves me.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “yesterday.” What steps will you take to “process the past?” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to yesterday.  Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

May every yesterday help you weave a better tomorrow.

Next week’s word:  Coloring

Photo Credit: Yesterday and Tomorrow—Two-Way Street Sign  © Iqoncept | Dreamstime

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