The past, we all have one. It shapes us, forms our character and most often makes us stronger. Often times however, we get stuck in the past whether it be longing for the days of yesteryear or simply fixated on the things that have happened to us or perhaps the mistakes we’ve made or people we’ve unintentionally hurt. When we get fixated on the past whether it be good or bad it takes us out of the present moment. We fail to see what is occurring right before our very eyes. We are distracted and our minds our elsewhere. Then we fall into one of the most deadly traps…comparison. We compare our lives to where they were 5, 10, 15 years ago and we often compare the people in our lives today to the one’s in the past. The problem with comparison is that it prevents us from being in a place of gratitude, it prevents us from seeing the value in our lives and it can rob us of our joy.

I once read that the soul is nostalgic. That it likes to hold on. It relives the past over and over. I would say from my own personal experience that is true. I used to reflect on the past a lot until one day I realized I was missing all of the amazing things, people and situations that were right here, right now.

So, how do we move beyond the past?

First, we embrace it. We acknowledge it through writing or ritual. Sometimes it helps to write it all down just to get it out of our system and then burn it. It’s amazing how cathartic this process is.

We thank it for all that it has brought us. We also thank ourselves. We give gratitude for it, even if it’s painful. Not always an easy thing to do, however there are lessons in every experience if we’ll just notice them.

Sometimes it calls for forgiveness, forgiveness of self and of others. This is probably one of the most challenging acts. As humans, we like to hold on to our grievances. Sometimes, we view forgiveness as weakness but it’s one of the most courageous things we can do. Forgiveness frees up our energy to allow amazing experiences to enter our lives.

Most always it calls for love and we often need to celebrate it and let it go. Even when the past is wonderful, it can still hold us back because it keeps us locked in time. It prevents us from seeing all the beauty that is before us.

When we are able to do all of these things we begin to shift our perception and become more present in our lives. We see life through a new set of eyes. We take notice of all that is happening in the present moment and we become aware that we have a choice. A choice to move forward or stay stuck. A choice to open up to all of the possibilities that are available for us.

Carolyn A. Jones and Jana Kadovitz are the founders of The Holistic Institute of Wellness.  They can be reached at 865-712-9754 or office@holisticinstituteofwellness.com.