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How do we possibly heal the past?
Think of a situation in your past that has left an emotional scar. Now, get out a paper and pen and get to writing.
A caveat – this leans more towards a situation in which other parties are involved. However, this could be applied to an event that was out of your hands (such as the death of a spouse/loved one) or a situation that was of your own doing (overspending and getting into debt resulting in financial collapse).
- What are the facts? Write down in black and white (in a simple sentence), what it was that caused suffering or sadness. No injection of opinion or what is thought to be true, rather, what is known (without a doubt) to be factual.
- What feelings did I experience/am experiencing? (anger – which is really sadness, fear, hurt, etc..)
- Who is involved? Their responsibilities in the situation?
- My name and my responsibilities in the situation. This is intentionally separate, because, by nature, there’s a good chance you did not include your name in number 3. What do you take ownership of, that you know in your heart, you failed to do – for yourself.
- Expectations placed upon others? Upon myself?
- What knowledge/wisdom can I take away from the situation?
- What do I want for myself moving forward?
- In what ways can I improve upon myself – in order to not find myself in the same mindset/situation again?
- How can I share this knowledge moving forward/help others?
An important side-note….
I feel it’s important to mention – in a situation where your life was put in danger, such as a physical attack or a life-threatening situation, this may feel (as you write) as though the experience was deserving in nature. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. That being said, as you write, you may find yourself feeling more empowered by simply acknowledging that which you could not change and shift your mindset from being a victim to that of a survivor.
No one has the power to make you feel, act, respond, or be a certain way. No one. You give that power to others when you are coming from a victim mindset in any given situation. You have a 3lb machine in your own noggin that you, and you alone, can control with your thoughts. That’s a powerful distinction.
It means you truly do have the knowledge and capability to move forward and beyond negative, emotional scars. If, and only if, you are willing to face it head on, acknowledge what was, what is, and what can be.
I have asked myself these very same questions regarding my own past emotional pain.
Life experience – the best free education you’ll ever receive.
Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how.
The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows.
We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. – Agnes De Mille
Agnes was a professional dancer and choreographer. In 1993, she died of a (second) stroke.
I think she has it right. How dull life would be if we knew what was next or knew the how of life itself!
Embrace the not knowing, for you have the ability to create each day to be different from the next – simply by deciding how to fill your time. We all have the same 1,440 minutes in a day.
Take a leap tomorrow to step out of your comfort zone; create something for which you have no expectation of the result (a drawing, painting, a play-doh creation, a piece of writing, a love letter, a thank-you note, a photograph….anything) and give it to someone or consider it a personal joy experiment.
Once complete, measure how it feels.
Sound stupid? Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
Don’t feel anything?
Then, my friend, you missed the entire point and I’m sad for you.
Let go of expectation and just be in the moment of creating – for the sake of creating. You don’t have to be an artist to create.
Life is clay and you are the potter.
Now go….get your hands dirty and enjoy the process, will ya?