During my high school years I walked to school each morning with my buddy George. One day as an act of affection, I reached my arm around George’s shoulder and hugged him lightly. My friend was uncomfortable with this motion and politely threw my arm off his shoulder. I felt embarrassed and we both said nothing. At the end of the year we were off to college and we went our separate ways. For a long time, however, when I thought about George I recalled that awkward moment.
Many years later I received a message from my office assistant: "George R. Called and said he misses walking to school with you." Delighted to hear from my old friend, I phoned him and the next time I was in his city we met for lunch. As we began to reminisce, I confessed, "Sometimes I still feel weird about the morning I put my arm around your shoulder and you tossed it off." George looked perplexed. "I don’t remember that at all," he told me sincerely. "All I remember is that you waited for me every morning, even in the rain."
I was stunned. For all those years one of my primary memories of my friendship with George was built around my perceived error. Meanwhile, all he remembered was the good. What a waste of my thought and energy! And how wonderful it felt to know that George had always appreciated me.
While you have many possible alternative futures, you also have many alternative pasts. Out of literally billions of experiences in your life, you have chosen to focus on only a small number of selected events and call it "my past." You may think of events A, G, M and W as your past, but you could also consider events B, D, R and Z as your past. If you focus on traumatic or self-defeating moments as your past, you will call forth sorrow or loss and your future will replicate them. If you focus on empowering and self-honoring events as your past, you will call forth appreciation and inner peace, and your future will deliver you more experiences to match them.
Like my friend George, the people who love you – and the universe that loves you – may hold an entirely more appreciative view of you and your past than you do. They are closer to the truth. Would you be willing to question what you believe is your past, so you can have a better one?
A Course in Miracles tells us, "The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here." It also notes that all of your past is gone except for the blessings it has bestowed. In this sense, any interpretation you hold of your past other than absence or healing is invalid. It’s time to get a new past.
As this year comes to a close, you might like to review your experiences to consider which ones you would like to take with you into the new year. Perhaps there have been pains, upsets and losses. There have also been joys, gains and healing. You may also recognize that the pain, put in proper perspective, has contributed to clarity, healing and advancement. So the chaff is gone and the wheat remains. You can carry last year’s pain into next year if you choose, but that is entirely unnecessary and counter to your good. Let the slate be wiped clean for the new year so it can build on the good of last year.
You can make anything out of anything, and your past is no exception. The past is not a static, historical event. You are creating it at this moment as you think about it. How you view it determines what it is and was. Many people wish they could go back and make different decisions in the past so they could create a different outcome. At this very moment you can make a different decision about your past and instantly create a better future. View the past as your enemy, and it will be an albatross. View it as your friend, and it will give you wings.
Happy Old Year.