Looking Back...Looking Forward
My post written for Salsa about looking back at the past year went live today. In the post, I talk about life on a bike, the places it can take you and the people you meet, how traveling can change you as a person. These are all things that drive my wandering desire and that motivate me to keep moving -- but today, I want to transcend the world of biking and talk a bit about Life.
The last day of the year is always a good time to look back and to look forward. We as a people like to think about what is right & wrong with our lives; what we wish was different; how to change where we are in life, what we are doing in life, what we have in life, ... The list goes on and on. It is easy to take this time and reflect on what you perceive to be wrong, building a list in your head of all that needs to be changed, all that needs to be done differently.
I am here to throw out a different strategy for this annual end of the year ritual. What if we take the time to look back and remember, but instead of building that list in our head of what needs to change, we build a list that states all is right, all is as it should be. Now that line of thinking is sure to raise a few eyebrows but stay with me for a few more moments. What I am suggesting is that in order for us to find happiness and to find peace we must accept that what is, simply is. It is where we are in life because we can't change the past. Accepting this is crucial to finding a sense of overall peace and happiness.
Does this mean that we don't want the future to be different? Well, not at all, but what it is however is a subtle difference in how we approach where exactly we are in life. Looking back with regret and frustration cannot be a good foundation for building the future. Looking back in that negative way causes us to have internal emotions that are more negative than positive. If we can shift our way of thinking, so that we see that whatever is 'of the moment' as being right, then we can approach the future with a sense of hope and optimism.
I know for me, even though I deeply believe in these words, I still can struggle at times with the belief that my 'Now' should be different than it is. I must however stay true to my words, take a deep breath, and realize that living in the Now, accepting that the past, good and bad, is what has put me at this very spot in time, is the only way to lead a peaceful, content, and happy life. In the words of one of my favorite sayings:
"I was never not going to be here"
Do I want to do things that are different that where I am now? Well of course I do -- I have dreams and goals and aspirations of all different sorts. But the difference is they are all in the future, they are all within my control (to a certain extent, and a much different discussion....), I have the power right NOW to move in the direction of my choosing. NOW is the only time that I actually have any control of who I am, which really is the point of this post. The past is simply the moments of time that built the path that defines who we are at this very moment, nothing more and nothing less.
So, as we sit here on December 31, 2012, with the opportunity to look back and to look forward I say this. Look back at your year with a happy heart. The good the bad; the happy, the sad; these are all the things that make us who we are, and no matter what you think, one thing is true, you can't change them, you must just accept. What you can do is approach the future with a zest for living your life.
Live your life on your terms; make it what you want it to be. Do what you want to do without exception. Build a beautiful path for yourself so that next year, when we have this conversation again, it is even easier to smile at who you are.
Happy New Year with much Peace, Love, and Joy in your life.