This list of Top 5 ways to let go of the past (and thereby begin moving forward into your future) has been put together to help when those thoughts of ‘what has been before’ begin to dominate the present.
Anything that removes us from a full experience of our present reality is something that can move from being a call to address an unresolved situation into becoming a distraction. It is important to consider if a recurring thought is there to highlight a need for healing or resolution, or if it has become a habit, and a way to keep us from seeing what’s right in front of us. How we do this varies greatly and is perhaps a conversation for another day. Comment below if this is of interest and I’m happy to list what has worked for me.
In the meantime, here are my top five ways to move forward where possible.
1 – Be Mindful
Mindfulness is a great word, often bandied about but sometimes lost in translation. The reality is, to be mindful is to be present, and to be present is to be leaving the past where it belongs – in the past. Sounds simple, but if, like me, you struggle to live this in reality you can use tools like Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’ or you can use very quick and accessible one minute mediations like the J-A-M series (just a minute).
If however you have an extreme case of ‘can’t-stay-in-the-here-and-now’s then it might be time to take a moment for yourself and spend a few days with some volunteers who run what I like to call a little hospital for the soul – the Brahma Kumaris. These awesome people run retreats all over the world (thousands of them) that are run by volunteers and accept payment by donation. They are really beautiful, why not give it a whirl?
2 – Eat Well
There are not that many ailments that cannot be healed by great diet, exercise and a bit of meditation. Diet cannot be underestimated as the cornerstone of wellness and generally feeling good.
Find your best diet, be sensible, take a minute (or 20) to prepare your meals (even if they are simple) and enjoy healthy food. It need not be boring. Just work out what YOUR body needs and go from there. For me I function better if I have less sugar and more protein. What does your body like? Experiment! See what gets you through the night.
3 – Move Slowly
I cannot tell you how many times I have caught myself striding ardently through the supermarket, overtaking, taking large steps down the aisle and past the other people there. It seems very important to move quickly sometimes. The baby might cry. I might be late. I have so much to do. Yada yada yada.
But what price sanity? What price a feel good day? I mean there are more important things than being first in the checkout queue. Seriously. Slow down. Take a moment. Look around, smell the smells, feel yourself on the ground. Be present.
4 – Breathe
This is a transformative process. Anyone who has ever done yoga, or martial arts, will know that the importance of the breath is massive. So basically if you do nothing else today, just take a few deep breaths and it will change you. Maybe even go wild and close your eyes. So simple.
5 – Smile and Be Grateful
So this is how it goes. If you get a flat tyre, smile and be grateful you have a car. If you have a cold, smile and be grateful it is just a cold. If you have a small amount of money in your bank account, smile and be grateful you have a bank. This is a “glass is half-full approach” and although it may seem paltry and polyanna-ish, it can actually get you from woe to go in a few important ways.
There is always, truly ALWAYS, someone better off than you and also someone worse off than you (thanks for that Mum – she always used to tell me this). So breathe, accept, smile and be grateful. For when we allow ourselves to consider what we are grateful for (no matter how small) we are not feeling any host of other potentially dominant feelings that can take us off course. Being in gratitude gives us respite from difficulty, and sometimes that break is invaluable.
Most of all, smile and be grateful that you are right here, right now.
I am grateful for you reading this post, I am smiling. I would love to know, how do you stay present?