A friend of mine and I were discussing how he likes to live in the past. It's been troublesome to him over the 25 years I've known him and he seems to reflect on and regurgitating situations over and over again, reliving tough details and hurts.
After a particularly intense conversation, he said to me, "I don't know why I do this. I wish I could understand it." So I said, "Well, what do you think it is - other than being a Cancer?"
As we talked, we came to the conclusion that the past, while not able to be changed, was familiar. It was something he knew the outcomes of in all situations. Family hurts, heartbreak, a failed marriage, a bad job - he all knew how that was going to go.
The future, however, was a scary unknown. He didn't see how things could change and so instead of looking into what he described as "the black hole of abyss and a brier path full of psychos", (that's not an indicator of tough relationships in the past, is it?) he decided to go over the old road over and over.
As we talked, he was trying to move forward and think about how the future could be different but it was difficult. He was dragging along the hurts of the past like a heavy bag full of weights and concrete. It just didn't seem like he could move on.
It can be a difficult thing to see the future when the past and the present seem tough. We could be dealing with things that are serious and just not able to see past that.
However, one of the things we discovered in our discussion is nothing is permanent. Even talking about long term relationships, we could see the places they changed, good and bad. We could identify it in jobs, cars, schools - really all our experiences.
Fluidity is so important in life. We've heard the phrase "Nothing is permanent" but it's really true. Life moves along like a river. It can be raging fast or in gentle movement. However, one could guarantee that the river day to day isn't the same. Rocks come and go, people who experience and interact with the river have an impact, season change - lots can impact the river and how it flows. The same goes for us.
If we understand that nothing is permanent and always in movement, it may help us understand and handle better when there is an ending or even a new beginning. Both of these situations can cause anxiety. Understand that flow and moving with it gives us the tools to see where we're going and how to just move with it. A river can't be stopped; neither can certain situations in our lives.
Change comes when we move with a situation and past it if it is to be left behind. By doing so, we can get on to the next experience. And isn't that what it's all about - a series of experiences that make up our life?
My friend is realizing that looking over his shoulder is pulling him away from what's in front of him. And the future can hold a lot of promise - why not look forward and leave the past in the rear view mirror where it belongs?