As anyone who has lived 50 years or more knows, the old memory bank is just brimming with millions of recorded events, some buried deep beneath the surface, unseen but felt, while others are right there in plain view, a ragtag collection of good times, bad times and everything in between. Not everyone I know has the ability to recall nearly every significant event in their lives and while I consider this both a blessing and a curse to have vivid and at times total recall of my own past, my memories are very often effective in holding me back from fully and completely experiencing the present. In fact, my memories have done an exceptional job at helping to frame the way I see myself, serving as the lens through which I see myself. In reality, my thoughts about the past have done nothing more than help form a set of “limiting beliefs” about myself and what I’m capable of.
It’s easy to get stuck recalling our past “failures,” which really were nothing more than practice runs through this game called life. I don’t believe in mistakes, bad choices or errant paths; we are always walking with intention and purpose. If we’ve encountered great difficulty or other trials, these were merely life lessons that we sorely needed to learn. Sometimes it takes a lifetime (or more) to understand what it is we need to learn. I am fully engaged in this process of discovery and may well be for the rest of my life. My advice for today is to not allow yourself to be stuck to your memories of the past, the decisions you have been made, or the things others have told you about yourself. These do not define who you are. Like fly paper, they can be powerfully attracting to contemplate, but linger too long and you risk getting stuck in a place that you won’t easily escape from.