Remember without Dwelling

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about days gone by and reflecting on the many moments I’ve experienced in my life.  I’ve reflected on the people that I’ve had the pleasure of sharing memories with over the years.  I considered some of pivotal turning points in my life that have led me to where I am today.  Inevitably, I ended up spending time examining the place we always go when we consider the past: regrets.

What would you have done differently?  What would you have changed if you could relive some of those moments.  Anytime we spend any amount of time considering the past we always seem to land on this spot of reflection at some point. Ultimately I end up concluding these journeys in the same spot.

When I consider the past and what I would have or could have done differently, I generally answer with “really, not a whole lot”.  Now mind you this isn’t out of vanity that I’m just that incredibly perfect that everything I’ve experienced or done is without flaw.  Any one of those people I was thinking about this week will probably graciously tell you this is far from the truth.  My resistance to wanting to change the past does not come from a lack of mistakes and misfortunes or never having experienced the painful loss of good relationships or putting myself into terrible situations due to arrogance or stupidity.

No, the wish to never change the past stems from my belief that all roads lead to now.  In the purest of senses, I’m not a proponent of fate.  We are the controllers of our destinies and decide our directions.  Every actions we take leads us further down a road one way or another.  But without mistakes or missteps, would we every really gain an appreciation for the things we love in life now?

Life is all about lessons.  Every experience in life is an opportunity to learn.  If we pay attention and spend some time in our thoughts, we can take something away, either positive or negative, from every interaction or experience we encounter.  How we respond to these things molds our inner character.  It builds us into who we really are and who we choose to be.  At some point in life, we all generate situations that create pain for others and ourselves as well.  Without the remembrance of that feeling, why would we correct ourselves or better ourselves in order to avoid these situations going forward?

We should always remember the things we have experienced in life.  Both good and bad.  But rather than wallowing in these things and keeping ourselves rooted to where we came from, use them as tools of progress to increase the enjoyment and happiness of the now.  It’s never how you start the race…only how you finish.  Pay attention to every experience you gain as the years pass you by, but remember to always let the past direct the present to better the future.

~ by bfmooz on July 8, 2011.

2 Responses to “Remember without Dwelling”

  1. (I love the picture, moose!)

    One simple analogy I think about is how each of us starts from scratch in learning to walk, read, do math, hold a job, or start a blog. It is our ontogeny, and it is unique to us.

    The basic mechanisms that keep us alive are universal, and we all share the same core “permanent domains of human concern.” (Dr. Fernando Flores)

    But our history has shaped us, our culture has shaped us, our social circles and other environmental factors have shaped us. To the extent they make us unique, we can design what offers we can make to the world from our unique starting place (now).

    • Great analogy, Ken. While we too often look back at the retrospective, it is definitely all of these things we’ve each experience which forms our individuality. We are special people because of who we are, but we are who we are based on what we’ve lived through and even more what we’ve taken away from these events and interactions.

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