The Past is Our Future

This is such a wonderful time of the year—all of the flowers are blooming, the trees are filling out, and […]

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This is such a wonderful time of the year—all of the flowers are blooming, the trees are filling out, and goslings and fawns are emerging from the woods. I am always struck by how all of God’s creatures seem to “rebuild” themselves each spring. It also occurs to me that we humans do the same thing, as an ongoing process, throughout our entire lives.

This reawakening into new life also reminds me that this is the beginning of the season for weddings—many of which will be occurring over the next couple of months—which will definitely result in a lot of rebuilding and new growth. It was this thought that reminded me of a book I referenced at the time I was designing my own wedding ceremony. In her book, “Weddings From the Heart,” Daphne Rose Kingma writes the following:

“The other relationships you’ve had, you went through not instead of being in this relationship, but in order to be in it. This marriage is the culmination of years of apprenticeship, the winnowing and honing of your previous relationships to help shape you into the person who stands here today, ready to make the ultimate commitment of love.

“Therefore, when you doubt the relevance of your past—and you will at times—or when you feel embarrassed about it—which, at times, you may—remember that every relationship you have had was a step on the path to this one. The past was a prologue. Every single conflict and disappointment, every beautiful, grueling and painfully instructive moment in each of those relationships was delivered to your consciousness in preparation for this love.

“Your experiences then are the laundry ticket for the silk garments you are retrieving from the cleaners now. What you did then was the antecedent, the exquisitely appropriate conditioning for what you are doing now. Everything was of value; everything taught you something . . .”

Having reread this, it strikes me as to how true this is for every aspect of our lives—whether in relationships with others or in how we individually deal with life. How we react to life has to do with all of the situations and people we have experienced in our past.

Some of these were wonderful and some were not—or as they say in the 12-Step Programs, some meant walking through another FOG (F- – – ing Opportunity for Growth). And I know for myself, the times I kept an open mind and held tight to my faith, I was able to keep from getting lost in the fog and to eventually walk out into the light. The key was to know that the fog was temporary, that it would pass and that I would come out a better person for having ventured into it— provided I truly saw it as an opportunity for growth.

Unfortunately, I think we as humans have a tendency to beat ourselves up for how we have acted in the past, or to take on a victim attitude because of the “way life was dealt to us.” Instead, we need to acknowledge the past as a preparation for our future. We need to not dwell on the challenging aspects of our past; instead we should make use of all that we have learned from those times so we can move forward and embrace our future.

Additionally, we have a tendency to become complacent about life—or to get caught up in the daily stress and noise of life so that we don’t even think about our future, much less plan for it. Then we fall back into the vicious circle of letting life happen to us.

Kingma sums this up nicely when she writes: “Sometimes when we’ve finally arrived at a longed-for destination, there’s a temptation simply to be where we are, without discovering the possibilities inherent to our new state. This marriage [or time in life] may feel like a destination, a sweet safe place in which you can finally rest; but it is also an opportunity, the emotional and spiritual environment in which you can both develop to your highest brilliance. . . . This is the time to receive and intend, to fulfill not only the joy of your heart but the possibilities of your life.

“Therefore, remember to do the simple and beautiful things that will make this love [or life] a treasure. Play. Fight well. Communicate with one another. Focus on what you want, and entice your intentions into being. Plan for the things that are important to you, and make sure you do them. . . .

“And, finally, be thankful . . . This love [or life] was completely unexpected, the joyful consequence of nothing you could control. Although everything you have experienced prepared you for it, there was nothing you could do to actually bring it into being; and so it is, indeed, one of life’s miracles.”

I hope in the days ahead we will all remember to play, fight well, communicate and be thankful for our miracles, for this truly is a season of rebuilding and a time for joy. And today is the beginning of our future!

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Mental Wellness