Exploding the Past

We can read and think all we want about how to recover from our past experiences, but actually recovering seems to take something different.  It takes a personal realization, perhaps a sudden moment where for some unknown reason the balloon is pricked.  The past explodes and there’s nothing left to look at.  And then you suddenly arrive in the present moment like it’s a new place, a new experience without the baggage of the past to constantly haul around.

As I was falling asleep just one night previous to the end of the year, the message that repeated itself over and over in my head was that EVERYTHING IS NOW…  Nothing exists outside of this moment.  I “knew” that, but I hadn’t applied it to the struggle with my past that I had been going through for, well, a really long time.  The other message that followed was not as short and simple, and it took a few iterations to solidify, but it was

Whatever the past WAS, it isn’t anymore.

It isn’t anymore, because everything is now.  The past doesn’t exist unless we mentally haul it into the present and try to recreate the emotions and the memories that go with it.  Even then it doesn’t exist except as a figment of our imagination that struggles to make it seem real.

Memories can be useful, like remembering which way to go on your way to work and back.  And some memories are pleasant; it’s sometimes enjoyable to retrieve pictures or mementos of those events and occasions and to feel the emotions that were connected with those times.

But other memories can be a nightmare, or a perpetual “daymare” or whatever the equivalent word for that would be if they flash around you all day long.  And those memories aren’t useful.  Memories born of trauma are like wounds that leave scars, or perhaps it’s like having splinters in your psyche.  Whenever you access them they hurt almost as badly as the original event.

So I’m going to keeping repeating this mantra that seems to provide a lot of relief to me:  Everything Is Now.  And it’s companion:  Whatever the past was, it isn’t anymore.

I don’t have to free myself from something that doesn’t exist.  And I don’t have to “let go” of the past if there isn’t anything real that I’m actually holding onto.  If I can truly realize that it isn’t anymore, and the only thing and in fact everything that does exist is now, in this present moment, I am free from the past.

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Causes, Symptoms, Help

If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But with the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can speed your recovery. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.

Check out this highly relevant article on the subject at: Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Causes, Symptoms, Help.