There is an art in the ability to reflect and learn from your past without getting helplessly stuck there. For years, I was haunted by my past, always thinking about what happened to me and how much it still hurt. I was rarely ever living in the future or the present. All I could focus on was how much the past was still very much my reality.
It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I discovered the gift of living in the present. The asanas, breath work, and meditation that I found through yoga suddenly brought me into a beautiful place – the place of NOW. Yet, there’s importance in being able to reflect on our past and understand where we come from. The key is to not get too hung up on it.
Our past is basically like a pile of garbage. You can look at it as a collective whole and see there are bits and pieces of trash that may have a story or some significance to you now (oh, there’s my ex boyfriend… hmm, and over on the side there is the big fight I had with my sister three years ago… yup, I remember that credit card debt!) – but you’re not going to stand there digging through it, are you? The trash is left out because it no longer serves you. The past is the past for a reason. It’s time to let it go.
The art of self-reflection lies in the ability to understand your past happened, and to live with enough compassion to trust that you are strong enough to move on from it all. Give yourself permission to throw it all away. Those things happened, but they don’t define you. You define you. Through awareness and self-discovery we learn what stories serve us now, and which ones we choose to leave out with tomorrow’s trash.
***Meditation is a great tool to practice self-reflection and staying present. Here is a resource with free guided meditation audio files – try it for 10-15 minutes each day to start. ***