You’re Not Planning Your Future if You’re Speaking in the Past

I recently met with a client who has been in a life struggle of hurt and confusion that has left her and her entire family in a sense of loss. They have no idea how to move forward from here.

As we were working together, I keep noticing how she tells me stories about what other people had done, how they had done it, how wrong and unfair it was, etc. I notice how often she tells stories of other people advocating or taking her side in this messy situation and how important it seemed to her to know she wasn’t “the bad guy”. More than anything, I notice how each and every time I try to shift her into the present moment, what’s happening now, she immediately resorts to another story or the continuation of a storyline of hurt and betrayal from the past. Every. Single. Time.

I am a person who recognizes a need to honor our past experiences as “the setup” for our present and often our future. I get that. And there comes a time when we need to become aware of how we’re creating our future through the hurt of our past.

This was one of those times.

After some time, I asked her to stop talking…completely stop. She literally couldn’t stop herself.

Her Spirit began to speak about how she loved her life and her family. How by staying stuck in the stories of what had been done to her she was putting their past in the pathway of their future. That every time she spoke about what had happened she was pulling herself back into the throws of the darkness of that pain. Over and over and over again. That narrative needed to stop.

We talked about the storylines she had in her thoughts, and what came out of her mouth. We made an agreement to practice (because new behaviors are a practice) catching herself repeating the stories to herself and to others.

“I’ll try”, she said.
“No”, I said, “You’ll do it.  You will practice. You will celebrate yourself every time you catch yourself and you will bring your awareness into the present moment with one single thing that is happening right now.”

“The wall is blue”, “that yellow leaf just fell”, “the sofa is gray”, if you’re at my house, “there is dust on the end tables” any simple little thing has the power to bring us back into the present moment, and from there, we have the power to move forward.

We can’t create a better future if our mind is filled with voices and stories from our past. We’re just creating what we’ve already had. I reminded her that no amount of “right”, the right place, the right job, the right partner, the right salary, or no amount of right can’t be turned wrong by us living in our past. We project what we’ve had forward through our words and thoughts until it becomes our next reality. If we never leave our past, it is truly the only future we have available.

Be mindful. Yes, honor the experiences, and get the help you need, but please don’t stay stuck there long-term. Tell the story for understanding, sharing, and purging, and then allow the future to start to step in.

Be mindful of how much head space you’re giving to the old, bring yourself into the present, and be available for what new story you can create.

Forever the journey, Anne

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