I loved living in the past for years of my life.
It was like split pea soup or chicken noodle soup or some other kind of soup that instantly makes you feel at home.
Imagine being curled up in a warm blanket on a rainy night, slurping on your favorite soup in your favorite cabin in the woods.
After soup is a cup of hot chocolate and smores.
Your feet are roasting by the fireplace and because the Wi-Fi is down, all you can do is read your favorite book on the Kindle.
You wish this moment could last forever.
This is exactly what it’s like to live in the past.
Some of us do this for a weekend, some for a few weeks at a time and others for years at a time.
Why stay stuck living in the past for inordinate amounts of time?
This is a beautiful, relaxing and peaceful place.
In this place, you don’t have to grow, stretch yourself or do anything else.
You can enjoy your past relationship for months or years.
You can take refuge in the memories of your past, replaying them over and over again.
You can find comfort in the certainty of what happened.
The future is unknown; it involves risks and all kinds of growth. You never know how the story will end.
But living in the past, you’re the queen!
You’re in charge.
You bring up the memories you want and you replay them over and over and over again.
You assign blame, you take on blame. You assign guilt, you take on guilt. You take on sadness and regret and shame.
You play in the sandbox of sadness and struggle.
You bask in the sunlight of anger and resentment.
All these things I’m describing feel good. Who would ever want to leave that place?
You get to be the victim of a love gone wrong.
And you get to be the hero who made it through the rain.
We are all like Adele in the past, with our lovers forgetting about us or taking advantage of us or cheating on us.
All we can do is pick up the phone, say “hello” and dream about how things used to be.
“Hello…from the other side…I must have called a thousand times…to tell you that I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done…”
In the past, we create our own reality.
We tell ourselves our own stories about what happened.
And we choose how long we sit and marinate in the misery and pain we have had to suffer.
What you’re missing out on if you live here.
Unfortunately, as wonderful as it has been to live in this place, you and I have been missing out on the lives waiting for us out there.
When we were babies, for example, we fell many times in our quest to walk. However, we didn’t give up.
Each attempt involved hope, risk and, ultimately, reward.
In our childhood years, we constantly ignored the consequences and took a risk, pursued a passion, went after a dream.
We pushed it to the limit, not knowing or caring about our previous experiences.
We had a blank canvas on which we could paint the life we wanted.
Yet, after this last heartbreak, you just want the safety and security of your bed.
You don’t want all the things the world can offer you.
You don’t want adventure, risk or the freedom to explore.
You don’t want newness or excitement or possibilities.
You sure as hell don’t want another relationship or to date or to open your heart to anyone.
You just want peace, quiet and calmness.
Maybe you want to move back home with your parents and be with them as you all age.
You want love from furry animals that will never betray you and always stand by your side.
You may have chosen to live like a hermit for years.
I did…and I know how comforting and welcoming this place was.
Yet, I’m now realizing that as I was warming my feet next to the fireplace of the familiar, you and I have been missing out by living in the past.
You’ve been missing out on soul expansion and growth.
You’ve been missing out on heart passion and joy.
You’ve been missing out on all the things the world has to offer.
You’ve been missing out on jobs, relationships, travel and the opportunity for your life to be so much richer than the safety of your cocoon.
You’ve been missing out on opportunities to find the “real you” and to realize your life’s potential and destiny.
The past was safe but having lived there for what seems like ages has robbed you of the richness and potential of what can unfold in your life.
Is it time to move on…and how?
If you’re ready to leave the warmth of the cocoon, seek your purpose and live the life that’s waiting for you, you can do this today.
‘Is now the time to move on?’ is a question only you can answer. However, know that when you answer this question, you are affirming a choice.
You were not in grief and stuckness because of time but because of choice.
It’s time to move on when you deem it’s time to move on.
You move on just like I did.
You move on by taking small steps to find your bearings.
You move on by releasing anger towards your ex and letting go of the pain of the past.
You move on by forgiving the people who hurt you.
You move on by forgiving yourself.
You move on by releasing the past stories you’ve been telling yourself and, instead, choosing a new story.
You move on by learning from people who have been in the same place you are. You find out what they did and then you do that.
You read and learn from the experiences of others.
You experiment until you’re able to let go of the past and find peace today.
In a book I’ve written for you, I’ve summed up my own efforts and experiences.
Not only did I walk this journey but I confirmed each of the 12 steps of that journey I took on the wisdom of spiritual masters and teachers.
These are not just my steps of walking back from the past to present-moment living. Rather, these are actions that teachers, old and new, have prescribed – everyone from the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh to Deepak Chopra and Ram Dass.
As comfortable as it may seem to remain in this space of living in the past, at some point you must give up this place and return the keys to its rightful owner: the past itself.
You may not have a new place to live yet but the future promises soul expansion, heart growth and new opportunities to fulfill your destiny.
A little uncomfortable but so worth it.
You can pick up The Sacred Art of Letting Go on June 1, 2019 on Amazon.