I think that in most every way, we need to keep moving forward. The human, as an entity which consists of brain, heart, soul, is not always one of sound reasoning and judgement. I think if we all realized this whenever we start feeling something that sucks come back up at us from the black hole some of us refer to as, “the past,” we would make vastly different decisions. I don’t mean huge life decisions, I mean decisions on what part of us to feed. Like that old native american story about two wolves fighting inside of you. It is asked, which one grows? It is answered, “the one I feed the most.” This could really be a separate post, but I believe it translates into everything. We create our own realities for the most part. Whatever you are focusing on, or “feeding,” is the thing that takes you over.
A lot of people traipse around, feeding the wolf of the past. Thinking about it, dissecting it, giving it way too much attention. The more attention it gets, the more it bloats. The bigger we make it, the easier it is to see it. all. the time.
What is it that we’re after? My high school psychology teacher taught us that in memory, as a function in the brain, it has some sort of selective retention quality and only remembers good things about our past. That is, it forgets the bad things, so when we look back, we don’t have an accurate account of what actuallyhappened. How it actually was. So when we feed that wolf of the past, we are feeding an animal that isn’t even accurate. We feed a fake wolf. In turn, giving us a false perception of our life. (Okay, maybe this post is turning out to be way more for me than anyone reading, ha!)
I also believe that we translate feelings into tangible things. I miss that place, that person, when life was so simple. News flash, those are all circumstances and things that you can’t really even influence on your own. And especially not right now. How could one re-create a scene from 10 years ago when so many factors have changed? It’s like a science project with way too many variables. You can’t compare apples to apples when you used to have one apple and now you have 3 apples, 2 pears and a dragon fruit. For real. What you remember is how you felt.
I was cruising down I-80 and memory lane all at once last week. I found myself at Wesleyan University. Which is about 7 years ago. No kids, no husband, no real job. No real sense of “self,” as I have it now. But I felt so alive, then. I was missing those people and those circumstances. How could I end that phrase of thought on a positive note? Those circumstances don’t even exist anymore. So to wish myself back there is not even a tangible idea. Not that I would, but I always think, and I do it too much, so I’m not surprised that the mind wandered… But what I really was asking myself was about the kind of resolve would be possible when missing things and people that aren’t really attainable? There isn’t one.
So what is the purpose? I don’t know how I got to the answer, but all of a sudden I saw some sweet music on my SiriusXM. (Lithium, if you’re wondering the channel) And I felt it. I felt like I was right back there. No real care in the world as compared to my life now. But I felt the same in my soul. It was song after song, of all the right things to calm the stirring of my soul.
The nostalgia had nothing to do with that place or even those people necessarily. And everything to do with me.
I spent a year doing the things I thought I should do. Best and worst year of my life. You finally start to get things “right,” but then you’re wondering who you’re really working for in that scenario. At the end of the day, you have to be okay with you.
We have a tendency to want to find a measurable, tangible reason or evidence. Something we can point to to explain ourselves away. To explain our situations away. It has always come down to confidence for me.
If you spend time feeding the thought of your miserable circumstances, they will grow. If you spend time feeding the thoughts of what your life used to be like, those thoughts will grow. If you focus on your short-comings and your lack-there-of’s in any aspect of your life, they will become the only known aspect of the meaning of your life.
Focus on you, and the things you have to have for happiness. (A tip: you never actually need as much as you think you do; again, feeding the wolf)
Get to the bottom of yourself. Your actions, your thought processes, your habits. What is the real thing going on? Simplify. Feed your happy wolf. Feed your confident wolf. Feed your funny wolf.
I’m feeding my crazy-making wolf right now. Then my coffee-making one.
Lots of love.