Past Tense

let-it-goI began this year and this blog with the vague intention of “falling in love with life again”. It has been a year of mistakes, of trial and error, of some satisfying personal triumphs and achievements, yet of many failures and fuck-ups. In other words, a pretty normal year.

“The emotional trigger than begins an argument may have little to do with your present situation, but has dug up a wound.” Madisyn Taylor, Stepping Back from Anger, Daily Om

After an ill-timed (ie, Christmas Day) but long-coming outpouring of anger, grief and frustration targeting my parents, I finally, finally, understand the ultimate lesson I needed to learn and action this year: I NEED TO LET GO OF THE PAST (or, as Queen Elsa put it so much more succinctly, “let it go”).

My eyes and my mind have finally been opened to how much mental and emotional time and energy I spend and waste in and on the past. Earlier this year, I blogged in defence of nostalgia; one of my arguments was, “There is a difference between clinging to, or even wallowing in the past; and revelling in fond recollections of previous times. What are we, except our pasts, our memories?” I still agree with the first sentence. I just need to actually stop clinging and wallowing. I now disagree with the second sentence. Of course our pasts have led us to the now of our lives. The huge mistake I have made over and over again is disregarding the fact that now and everything after it does not have to, in any way, be done, said, or felt the way it has before. To ensure I am constantly reminded of this, I had a dragonfly tattooed on my left forearm yesterday. The dragonfly symbolises potential, transformation, expression, wisdom, the breaking of illusions.tat

From now, I am living by my own policies. I am sick of trying to be the version of myself other people expect, of feeling selfish if I am not in a constant state of “happiness”, of protecting the feelings of others at the expense of my own decision-making process and mental health.

Two friends recommended Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now to me when I decided to embrace the self-help genre in January. At the time, it did not speak to me. I picked it up two days ago and began reading it. I get it. Probably because I am now ready for it (tee hee). Below are just some of the quotes that have resonated thus far:

~ “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

~ “Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”   

~ “If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.”   

~ “To complain is always non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”   

~ “Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.”  

Isn’t he marvellous?

Another book that continues to be a source of inspiration is Timber Hawkeye’s Buddhist Boot Camp – talk about a guy who turned his life around!

~ “Isn’t it refreshing to know that just because we’ve always been a certain way, it doesn’t mean we have to stay that way forever? Our beliefs are merely stories in our minds that we ourselves wrote long ago. Knowing that, don’t you feel empowered to rewrite them if they no longer serve you?”

In Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life, Ariana Huffington states, “It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’, it’s ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’ ”  Brilliant.

Q: So, me, what kind of life do you want?

A: A life in which I am authentically me, even if that disappoints or pisses anyone else off.

In closing, I am going to share a thematically congruous poem that a friend, rather spookily, introduced me to yesterday. Love and namaste to everyone.


She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

Rev. Safire Rose, Elephant Journal


8 responses to “Past Tense

  1. Wow. An amazing post. I have known you for years, know you deeply and think you are amazing. You should do what makes you happy and proud, and not have to fear upsetting or disappointing others. Put simply, it’s your life. Love you always. xx

  2. I think we so often make the mistake of thinking that someone venting their frustration wants to pick a fight. More often than not, however, it is rather because they are hurting and need to be heard. They feel they are not being heard without venting. Because we trust the ones we love most, they are the ones that we explode to. Not from a place of hate but a place of love. A place of needing support and encouragement. Never feel bad from venting.

    I loved the poem very much and I’m going to look to take more risks in 2015. To not look so much for external validation. To have fun! What a strange concept, but I’m going to create more time for fun and joy in 2015. Can’t wait!

    Love you, and look forward to reading more of your adventures in 2015.

    P.S. I also loved your reminiscing post and it spoke to me at the time. But you’re right. The past will always be there, but it is the future where we can take control.

  3. Only just read this now. So much resonates with me it is spooky. Go for it Kate. Be authentic and we will love you for it because it is you. I have copied this post as I want to use the poem in my yoga teaching as I think it is perfect. thank you for this lovely gift.
    Namaste to you too Kate.

    • It is a beautiful poem, isn’t it? Thank you, as always, for your kind and supportive comments. Five days in to 2015 and all is well – I just hope to not be attacked and kept awake by mosquitoes tonight … sleepy …

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