“Moving on is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard” – Dave Mustaine
Try this, look over your left or right shoulder while walking forward at the same time. Yes it can be done but it makes forward progress a little more difficult doesn’t it?
This is what we are doing, figuratively speaking, every day when we start and spend our days dwelling on the past. Whether it’s a past incidence, situation or a friend/family member that is estranged, we can’t move past it. Each day we are “carrying” it around and at the same time trying desperately to move forward with our lives.
I found myself doing this last week, reliving a situation that was long gone but here I was replaying it over and over. Each time I replayed the scene I felt worse until I remembered one of my favorite stories about two monks:
“Two monks are walking along a country path. They soon are met by a caravan, a group of attendants carrying their wealthy and not-so-kindly mistress and her possessions. They come to a muddy river and cannot cross with both mistress and packages – they must put one down and cannot figure out how to do so. So the elder monk volunteers to carry the woman across the river, on his back, allowing the attendants to carry her things and then all can go on their way. The woman does not thank him and rudely pushes him aside to get back to her caravan.
After traveling some way on their own, the younger monk turns to his master, and says, “I cannot believe that old woman! You kindly carried her across the muddy river, on your very own back, and not only did she not offer thanks, but she actually was quite rude to you!” The master calmly and quietly turned to his student, and offered this observation: “I put the woman down some time ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
There are many different versions of this tale but the meaning is the same, “Why are you still carrying this with you?” There are lots of reasons we continue to carry the past around. We seek justice, an apology or revenge. The list goes on and on but does it help us move forward? It doesn’t and as much as we think there is some “higher purpose” to reliving it every day, there isn’t.
So what do we do? Moving on is the easy part, the hard part is leaving behind whatever “it” is. How do we do this? Small steps every day, first thing in the morning when we usually “load up” our day’s worth of past stuff on our backs. Imagine yourself setting each thing/person down beside you and walking away from all of them. I like to imagine that I’m cutting that tie with a big pair of shiny scissors, allowing me to walk away untethered. What would that feel like to you? Would you feel lighter without your heavy load? Or would you feel sad because you don’t have those familiar companions by your side?
Give yourself time and space on this journey and let go of each thing/person with love. Create your own way of “letting go” working at it every day, one small step at a time. Yes it will take time, yes it will feel like a useless exercise sometimes but the benefits of moving forward into the life you want is well worth the price.
I would love to hear your comments and thanks to all of you, my wonderful readers. Let’s all move forward into the life we want to live.
photo credit: Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc
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