The past never truly goes away, especially if it had emotional significance. Relationships especially. Just when you think they're dead and buried, the past pops up to take you back down memory lane. And it doesn't even have to be actual relationships, it can be passionate 'liaisons' you had when you were barely out of your teens that left an indelible mark on your psyche. The reason I say this is because yesterday I got a message out of the Facebook blue from a former flame from my college days. I won't go into detail, suffice to say I'd been on his mind and, apparently, in his dreams. We were only in each others' lives for five months or so, but yet the memories had lasted much longer. Why contact me now, I was wondering? What did it mean, if anything?
Then it occurred to me I'd been reading a book called Finding Inner Courage, by Mark Nepo (Heron Books; £12.99 Amazon.com), only the previous day, and had opened it 'randomly' at a chapter about a building project that had been stalled when they unearthed the ruins of an old city, and had to get archaeologists in. The part I'd most pondered was this: "What stays with me is this question of how to build on the past. For aren't we all pressed with excitement and necessity to build new homes, new relationships, new careers, new lives - always pressed by some real or imagined deadline, eager to get the thing done? Yet suddenly, if blessed, we trip on something of the past and, just as it feels that we are stalled, the thought appears that the need to dig in order to build might be God's way to unearth our foundation."
Learning from our mistakes
And while my eye is on the future, with regards to relationships and what might occur this year, perhaps this little interlude from the past has arrisen to show me something. Though too much backwards glancing is counter-productive in that it prevents us living in the now - and Lord knows I'm guilty of that one - sometimes remembering where we've been, who we were back then, and where we came from, can inform our choices in the present, and remind us of certain mistakes we may have made so as to avoid them again.
We can all look back and regret things, wondering what would have happened had we taken this path or that; again, this is something I've been guilty of far too much. But to be proactive about it, as Mark Nepo suggests, is to think 'OK, I made this choice and this, now what do I want to do and who do I want to be? If the past has any point at all it is to learn from and grow as human beings. None of us is perfect and I reckon everyone has something they said or did of which they are ashamed, but we can't keep carrying those burdens around, shackled to the regret, remorse or 'missed opportunities'.
Did I 'cosmic order' his message somehow? After all, I do still have the university teddy bear mascots on my bed, and, since moving house, a picture of the college building on the mantelpiece. And I was only the other day talking to my house mate about the teddies saying where they came from. Was I energetically reconnecting to that part of my life, hence opening up the channel to receive a message from someone connected to that time? Or am I reading too much into it? Either way, as storyteller Mark Nepo suggests, it's brought up an opportunity to reflect on the issues of that year, and the romantic mess I created, and perhaps as a reminder not to do the same again. It also makes me think back to my hopes and dreams as a naive 20-year-old, and how I've fulfilled some of them, such as editing not one but two great magazines, which has been a blessing and a dream come true (Soul&Spirit and Bodyfit) but how other 'fantasies' have remained shelved because I never thought them possible, namely my desire to dance in professional shows, which was always a pipe dream.. It might be too late for that one - but I guess it only is if i think it is.
Pearls of wisdom
I think we can all learn a lot from the relationships of our past, good or bad. I was recently talking to TV presenter Amanda Byram (amandabyram.com) and she said something very wise on the subject, which was that each relationship brings us closer to who we really are. Few people get lucky enough to be with someone from 18 through to when they die, and those that do often have other life issues to contend with. The rest of us go through a series of learning experiences, each one of which can, if you take time to unearth the gems hidden within the remnants of the relationship, help you discern more about who you are and who you want to become. It's only by being with people who challenge us and push our buttons that we get to grow, painfully at times, into the people we are destined to be. And that's the benefit of digging back into the treasure chest of the past. Just don't stay there for too long or you miss the beauty in the present moment!
What Katy Louise Did...
- Katy Louise
- Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.