Are you judging situations in your life and people in your life based on things that happened to you in the past?
Someone told me today that she had been in a panic creating worst case scenarios for a situation. A panic. Just because her new boyfriend didn’t return a call when he said he would. Turns out he fell asleep. Her ex-boyfriend had done this to her before, but when he didn’t call he’d be out, cheating on her.
Now, this new guy doesn’t stand a chance if she can’t get beyond judging people because of one bad experience in the past. Or, she doesn’t stand a chance to be happy if these little things from a new person are met with huge reactions because of… the past.
You may be doing the same thing with opportunities, with your career, with friendships, with love…
It’s easy to do.
You may be doing it unconsciously. I definitely have done it…and I still catch myself doing it and have to shake myself out of it!
If you have had a few- or even one great-big- bad experience, its very easy to justify the idea that they will keep happening again and again if you try to do the same things again.
So, you stop daring in certain ways.
But then, you are imprisoned by the past.
And you may think this is being self-protective or wise.
Anything that keeps you from doing what you need and want to do with your life is neither self-protective nor wise.
So, here’s a little feng shui to help you stop the past from messing with your future!
(I love the images of sand under a microscope… things really look different when you look at them closely!)
Understand what really happened.
It’s pretty incredible how many ways we can tell a story.
Even the terrible stories and tragedies do not have to paint us as victim… unless we choose to be a victim in the telling.
Think about where you have been really challenged to open up and make progress in life. Are you attached to stories in the past that make you feel really bad?
Here’s the first example that pops to mind: I got punched at a party in the Hollywood Hills when I was 22 and decided not to go to parties again for a while. I would tell people over and over again how I could still feel my ears ringing and was so completely shocked and devastated and would never want to put myself in that position again.
The rest of the story that I didn’t tell for some reason: this really aggressive and big guy who was high on cocaine kept trying to put his hands on me at this party. I asked him a few times to stop. Finally, I threw my drink in his face. I actually had time to walk away but I was really enjoying the moment. That’s when he knocked me on the ground.
Two very different stories. One, you pity me. One you are not sure whether to cheer or feel I was a bit arrogant and overly heroic. But one I am a victim, and on the other you can see how I conspired to create the situation.
Is there another way to tell that story that is menacing you, one that is kinder or more instructive or any other way but damning?
If you have emotional patterns that are strongly tied to this story, you might want to try some homeopathy like Flower Essences (*these are my favorite, from Alexis Smart) to peel back the layers of emotion.
Accept the right now.
I talk a ton about being present on this blog and with my clients. As a much-recovered space cadet with every possible habit known to mankind to check out of the present moment and fly away into a fantasy land, I know full well the horrible side of being absent from life. You lose every bit of power and efficacy you have to make things go well for yourself and others when you fly away into sugar highs, recreational drugs, drinking, any kind of addictive behavior… even the seemingly positive ones.
One of my vintage articles from Mind Body Green that I wrote years before I even had this blog (!) is all about becoming very present. My favorite feng shui tip from this article is #4: Dump Some Bad Memories. I am doing that one tonight. It is quite revolutionary to get rid of reminders that you do not want or need.
In service to the idea of having a life that is being created now, and not as a reaction to bad memories, you might want to dump some bad memory stuff today, too!
OI think most of us can agree that being more present and awake and right here “in the now” of today is a pretty logical bit of advice to stop this “past-interfering-with-future” phenomenon from messing with your life. But, if you are not thrilled with where you are at the present moment, that can be a trick.
Psychology Today published a great article called The Art Of Now and one of the six steps suggested to become more present is this huge word called ACCEPTANCE:
” We all have pain in our lives, whether it’s the ex we still long for, the jackhammer snarling across the street, or the sudden wave of anxiety when we get up to give a speech. If we let them, such irritants can distract us from the enjoyment of life. Paradoxically, the obvious response—focusing on the problem in order to combat and overcome it—often makes it worse, argues Stephen Hayes, a psychologist at the University of Nevada.
The mind’s natural tendency when faced with pain is to attempt to avoid it—by trying to resist unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations. When we lose a love, for instance, we fight our feelings of heartbreak. As we get older, we work feverishly to recapture our youth. When we’re sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for a painful root canal, we wish we were anywhere but there. But in many cases, negative feelings and situations can’t be avoided—and resisting them only magnifies the pain.
The problem is we have not just primary emotions but also secondary ones—emotions about other emotions. We get stressed out and then think, “I wish I weren’t so stressed out.” The primary emotion is stress over your workload. The secondary emotion is feeling, “I hate being stressed.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.”
You can pretty much change anything as long as you can see it for what it is and accept it.
Design a new way to move forward that creates freedom!
I have come to really love the “reset” button. If you spend some time on a film set, you’ll see some of the best moments have come after trying to work out a complex scenario and heavy emotions in a series of takes. From the time the camera is rolling to the moment it ends, or gets cut, or someone walks out, or an actor jumps in a pool or otherwise bails until they can come back and start fresh, over and over, again and again until they nail it….
That’s sort of my practice for life.
If you don’t get it done the first time through, stop and then reset things. Try it again.
You might need to call someone back to have a second conversation, or a fifth. You may need to make six pieces of art to realize you don’t even want to make it. If you don’t get caught up in the past, you can hit “reset” and start fresh if things go off the rails or not as planned.
If your diet goes south, you can hit reset right now.
If you had a fight instead of a conversation (it does happen!) you can reset yourself and go back and hit reset and try for a conversation.
This is my way that brings me more freedom. I’m OK if I have to try a few times to do something difficult. In this way, I don’t stress and overemphasize the first try. Its very freeing for me. And the more I do it, the more I get it right the first time! In feng shui, it’s part of flowing with Nature.
You will likely find a way that works for you, a way that you can catch yourself if you are getting to tense about a situation where it is not warranted, or judging a situation based on the past.
As soon as you can catch yourself doing it… that’s when you can find your way to freedom.
Stay calm. Be here, more, right now. The world is gorgeous in all its weirdness and challenges as well as its beauty and majesty. And I’m sure you have a tremendous amount to bring to every day to make it even better! xoxo Dana
A huge P.S. today: The Love Camp is HERE! Eight weeks of turning your home & life into a Love Magnet (!) starts NOW! We’ll be feng shui’ing your home (including a full bedroom makeover in very way) and clearing away anything that is not love from space so that your passions flourish and you attract more and more of the greatness (and maybe even a soulmate or two!) in every day! You can learn more & join us HERE! xoxo!!!
If you want to learn how to transform the place you live into the home you love in full, grab yourself a copy of Feng Shui 101. Its the unique guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks! It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow! Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE!!! xoxo Dana