Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letting Go Of The Past

"Your past is like a rearview mirror. It's good to look back once in a while, but if you stare too hard, you'll miss what's in front of you."

If every time the sun would set, one ray would stay afloat
If right after a flame goes out, one spark would cast a glow
If all the waves would crash to shore, but one would linger mid-air
If as the leaves were falling down, the branches would shed tears
Only then, would I believe, the past can yet remain
Only then, would I retrieve the memories, the pain
But since what goes down, stays forever, and slowly disappears
I know that every single thing I went through in all my years
Is gone forever, never ever going to be within my reach
I can only remember, only look back, and squash it... like a peach. 

          *sighhhhh* Letting go of the past................. Yup, it's a big one. A huge one. The One I Fought For Years Against And Swore I Would Never Do It And Then I Did It. I always promised others and myself too, that I would NOT, I repeat would NOT be like those people who screw up when they're teenagers, and then miraculously turn their life around and everything's all better, and blah blah blah. Back then, I hated those people. They represented a concept I couldn't relate to, they represented a world of hope, and back then... well there really was no hope. All I saw was darkness. When people would ask me how I saw my future I would really really try to see it, but there was just nothing. I never thought for a second, I would ever change. Ah, change. That's the word. Change lets you let go of the past. Some people stay in the same job, with the same phone number, the same friends, same house for years, and years, and years. If it's a healthy person we're talking about, that's great! The memories stay because every where you were back then, you're still there walking the same floor, dialing the same number. So you have a good healthy past in which you were constantly creating a good healthy future in which you currently are in. Every time you walk in the door, every time you sit down on the couch, good stuff floods your brains, and it helps you to keep going forward. But what if it wasn't healthy? And you stuck with it anyway? You know what happens? Maybe you do, maybe you don't. I do. I held on so tight. I would not let go. And so, the struggle continued.

           I know so many people who are holding onto their past. You may be one of them. You should know firstly, that I don't think I am completely out of the loop in this one, I do have my moments. But I don't like writing about things I don't actively work on in my own life. So, this is a thing I'm actively working on in my life, and I've gotten places. When you get there you know you got there. So let me try and explain what letting go does. 

          Picture a person sitting in a chair. A regular chair. This person is not paralyzed. This person can walk, breathe, talk, run, jump, dance, sing. Wait, this person is actually an acrobat. And a professional juggler. And, he also on the side happens to be a great conversational, outgoing, friendly person. He has many, many qualities, and many talents. He has a working brain, a working everything, yet he sits in the chair. Why is he sitting the chair? I'll tell you. One day, this Jack of All Trades was performing as an acrobat. He was on a high wire balancing his whole body on the tip of his pinky fingernail. Suddenly, he remembered he knows how to juggle, so he began taking off his buttons from his shirt, and proceeded to juggle them upside down on the wire hanging from his pinky fingernail. The crowd cheered him on. Next, he begins to sing while doing all that, singing an opera song using his lungs to their full capacity. And yet, he still remembers one more thing, he's a funny guy. So, he begins to crack jokes while singing, while juggling his buttons, while balancing on his pinky fingernail on the highest wire he could find. The crowd is applauding. .... and then it happens..... He falls.. off the wire, buttons flying in the air, his voice echoing in all directions, screaming echoes of a fallen acrobat. his pinky fingernail flies in the air, drifting until it lands on someone in the audience's suit jacket, and seeing it, they brush it away, to the floor. Our guy is doing a slow motion fall.... he's still mid - air... and THUD, he lands on a hardwood floor. All he's thinking is for what reason in the world is there not safe cushions under every wire on this planet. He is all bruised up. From head to toe. The people in the audience are kinda quiet. What to do? No one knows. Some medics arrive, and try to help him out, but he's so ashamed, he can't even begin to acknowledge the physical pain he's in. He had it all, his show was going great, and then BAM, he can't go on. He's numb. He looks at his bleeding body, and cannot feel. Some people in the audience are booing him, others are shouting at the booers, and there are some cheering him on to get up. He can't focus though. Things go fuzzy, he blacks out. Next thing he knows he's waking up in a hospital bed, with no real serious injuries, albeit plenty of cuts and bruises. The first few steps he takes are painful, but it slowly gets better, and easier. But he can't forget it. That fall. What if as he's walking on the sidewalk down the block, what if he falls flat on his face? What if when he goes up the steps to work, what if he falls down the steps? What if people see him fall? What if he falls alone? What if? What if? And so, he sits in a chair. He feels trapped, like there's handcuffs around his wrists and his hands behind his back, like a noose around his neck, and a constant tug pulling him tighter against the chair. And so, our person sits. For years, and years, and years, and years.

         If I were to tell you how many people I know who are living their lives like this guy I just made up, I don't even know if you'd be surprised. You probably know them too, or you may be one. I was that person, and I am free to admit it, and to acknowledge the fact that I am no longer trapped in the past Baruch Hashem, Thank You Hashem, It's all You Hashem. When you're in it, it's impossible to see that you can get out of it. It won't come to you. You have to make it happen. You have so much in you, and sometimes it's precisely those amazing qualities you have in you that make you fall, when used in it's negative form. Every character trait has a negative and positive side to it. You might have fallen using a quality you have in a negative light, but you can pick yourself up, or at least get the handcuffs off, by using that quality in a positive way. Everything has it's flip-side. What made you fall, can help you grow. And how do you go about doing that? GET OFF THE CHAIR. Get up! Let go of the past! Let it all sink away, deep down in the sea where pieces of the Titanic have been sinking for years. Let it go! Once you let it go, you can look back, and try to gain some clarity. Try to learn from your mistakes. But you first gotta get out of it. You can protect yourself sometimes, by staying in the same pattern you were in when you fell, but that pattern will not really protect you. It will numb you, it will make you think you're good, but you will not get anywhere in life. And if you're in a place where you don't even care to get anywhere in life, start caring. Because life is precious, and time is slipping away into the future. 

         Every person has in them the ability to pick themselves up, and start again. Let Go and Let God. Yeah, the AA people know something. It's just a matter of getting off that dumb old chair, which by the way eventually will break. 

         Spiritually speaking, which is really generally speaking, thank Hashem for your past. Whether it was good, semi good, semi bad, or horrible, thank Hashem. Ask Him to help you get out of it, make some changes, and let go. You can't ever go back, you're holding onto nothingness. Try holding onto a metal bar, you got a grip, but try holding onto thin air, it hurts. The past hurts. The future doesn't have to be planned. But the present must be lived, and in order to live it, you must let go of the past. Remember who you are, remember what you have inside of you. Don't let yourself or others hold you back, at the end of the day, it's you and Hashem, and whatever your relationship with Him is, He is constantly there for us, and we in turn need to trust Him, and move on. 

There are no words I can use to adequately describe the joy of the freedom of letting go. It is redemption of the soul. There's a concept of personal Mashiach, which is a redemption of an individual from themselves, from their past, from the misery. May we all let go, move forward and bring Mashiach, AMEN.


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