“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”
Did you know many people would lead a better life if only they could let the past remain where it belongs — in the past? Did you know past failing experiences, disappointments and/or fumbled dreams and relationships, if focused on, have the ability to not only limit potential to have fulfillment but can also destroy creativity, the ability to develop new relationships, and chances for work and life balances?
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In my presentations, I have used a chair to demonstrate how past detrimental experiences can be the main obstacle to the future or present life of fulfillment people want to have. You stand up from your chair to go to the door. However, before you take a step you pick the chair and place it in front of your path. That chair becomes the obstacle between you and the door.
Millions of people in life have limited their opportunities for growth because they are too attached to a past of mediocre performance, past negative criticisms, or purely past failing experiences. After almost 20 years of working with hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and from all continents, I have been overwhelmed by inspirational stories of people who have overcome devastating pasts. Some are so drastic that it sounds like you are listening to narration of a fiction movie.
Yet, others’ stories are disheartening. Those are stories where an individual’s present and future hope, vision and goals are blurred by a past they can’t change.
Thinking about this brings to mind a story I read. It was about two monks who vowed never to talk to a woman. As they were traveling they found a stranded young girl who couldn’t walk. One monk had pity on that girl and carried her to her home that was along their path.
A few hours later, he realized that his friend had not talked to him and asked him why he was silent. The friend answered and said, “You messed up our vows when you carried that girl.” That is when the merciful monk said, “I am sorry you are still carrying that girl. I left her five hours ago.”
Are you still carrying your past? Here are some key ways to leave your messed-up past behind.
Forgiveness — it takes a strong person to forgive himself/herself and others of past hurts. You liberate your energy, creativity and focus more than words can describe when you forgive parents, teachers, bosses, colleagues or those mean people who hurt you purposely. When you forgive, you give yourself the opportunity to live a new rewarding life.
Create a new vision — there must be a present and/or a future that is different from the past you dislike. It’s hard to leave a past and enter to unknown present or future. What attributes of life, which are different from your past, would you like to experience?
Develop new relationships — one element that keeps people in a circle of disappointments is the company they maintain. Bring achievers into your life, and your life will be a life of achieving.
Get involved in wholeness activities — programs that provide you with the opportunity to growth spiritually, mentally and physically. These aspects of life are the foundation from which you launch your potential to create the world of your dreams.
Develop other people — there is probably no better way to turn your painful past into something of beauty than help those who are traveling in the same path you traveled or to help prevent others from experiencing the dreadful fate.
Remember, you have the ability to start living the life of your dreams now as long as you are willing to leave your “chair(s)” where it/they belong — in the past.
Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business organizations, schools and Christian groups. Contact him at 208-376-8724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.