Remember; but, you can’t live in the past…

March 31, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Some days I wish I could go back in life, not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.”  (Unknown).  Jack went on to say – “Thank God today for a mind that allows us to feel some things…twice.”  😉  Jack

In an earlier post, Jack had quoted Charlie Brown from a Peanuts cartoon that he remembered – “There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.” 

 Often when someone is gone you hear people say (and I have said this to others myself) that, “They will live forever in your memories of them”.

 Quite often I’ll stumble upon a picture that I’ve used in a post here of someone who is now gone. Often those may have been people that I had no relationship with, but just remember seeing on television sometime in my past. Many are people who were long forgotten TV or boredmovie stars whose brief term of fame and glory happened well before most people living today were even born. Every day I’m reminded by pictures in my house of the key people who were in my life and who have passed away – parents and relatives. It is easy to pause and let a fond memory flood into my mind and that’s a good thing, but not something that I dwell on for too long. I take to heart a quote by Ken Kesey – “Loved. You can’t use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all.” That is certainly true of those we have loved and continue to love who were a part of our lives.

Some have more trouble that others letting go of the past and that can negatively impact their lives in the present.  Jan Glidewell put it this way – “‎You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” Many people who lose their life partner end up in that state, still clinging so tightly to their memories of a life together with that loved-one that they now cannot live a full life in the present. Others cherish the memories of their departed partner and go on to fulfilling lives, sometimes with new partners.

I like the very descriptive way that Jason Versey describes the state that one can get into when dog chasing tailthey cannot let go of the past – “Chasing your tale? Sometimes we relive past accomplishments, failures and or past relationships to the point of exhaustion. When we do this, I liken it to a dog chasing its tail, just spinning round and round and going nowhere fast. Constantly chasing our own tales has the same effect on us. It leaves us in a state of dizzying immobility. When we wrap our arms so firmly around our past we leave little room to embrace our present future and that, my friends, is a sad tale to tell.”

 So, we must let go of the past and get on with life. We may fondly (or maybe regretfully) revisit the past from time to time, but we cannot let it push aside the present or dictate the future.  In the words of Michelle Cruz-Rosado – “Letting yesterday affect today will only destroy the excitement of tomorrow.”

Sad or angry or regretful memories of events of our past can be especially debilitating, if you let them consume you. It is better to head the advice of Mandy Hale – “To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.” It’s not the past that crying-4hurts you, it’s the constant reliving of things that you cannot change and the tendency that we have as humans to beat ourselves up over those events or the decisions that we made at the time. It’s over! Learn from those mistakes and then let them go.

So, maybe the best way to deal with the past is to separate your memories into those that are fond and involve people or events that you love or that cause you to be happy when recalled; and, keep those that cause sadness or conjure up memories that are painful in a separate place, one that you seldom, if ever, have reason to visit.  You often hear the phrase “I’m going to my happy place”; well, maybe that is the place where you store all of those happy placehappy memories of people that you still love and who loved you and those events that brought you joy.

You can’t change the past, but you can control how and what you choose to remember about it. Choose to go to your happy place when you are revisiting your past. Have a great weekend and, if you must revisit the past, at least go to that happy place that is full of happy memories.

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Where is your happy place? Do you remember how to get there?

January 20, 2016

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little piece of advice – “You gotta go to that happy place in your mind and remember–everything’s gonna be all right.”  (Daniel Schetter)  Daniel is that man who continues to surf the waves of Lake Superior all winter long, even with ice on his whiskers.  He believes that cold is all in the mind; so, when he’s surfing the Great Lakes in freezing weather he heads to his happy place and isn’t cold anymore (at least in his mind). He did admit to suffering bouts of hypothermia, but he was still happy.

I read that story in the paper recently, too. I had a tough time imagining being able to get to a place that was happy and warm while surfing in the Great Lakes in winter with ice on my face; but the advice applies well to everyday life. We all face adversities or situations single momthat are not of our own making. How we react to them and our ability to go to our happy place in times of stress or pain determines how well we make it through those times.

The basis for many of the meditative-based religions or beliefs of the world is the concept of being able to get to that happy place and control our bodies and our reactions to things through our minds. It is also a tenet of hypnosis that we have the ability to block out pain with our minds. I’ve been hypnotized at a dentist’s office once and it did work to block the pain of his work on my teeth. I certainly believe that practices like yoga and meditation work to relieve tension and stress.

listening toi musicA key thing that both yoga and meditation focus upon is helping you find a way back to your happy place, so that you can let go of the stress and let your body’s natural ability to heal itself make you well again. Of course there are lots of other things involved, but being able to get to that happy place is central to both. It is also a key to a happy and healthy life, whether you practice those disciplines or not.

So where is your happy place and do you remember how to get there? As children it was easy to get to that place, usually through play. As we matured and “learned” to be adults, we wandered away (or were pulled away) from that place and found it harder and harder to get back to it. We were taught not to waste our time in idle thoughts of happiness, but to “keep our noses to the grindstone”,” be serious” and “get it done”. There was no time allotted for seeking to return to your happy place. Some turn to alcohol or drugs in the false belief that getting a buzz on or getting high is equivalent to getting to their happy place. Both are false and actually add to the stress that they were trying to find relief for in the first place.

How do find you way back to your happy place? You might try yoga or mediation classes ormeditation even seek out a good hypnotherapist. Talk with the instructor/therapist and let them know that you are there to try to recapture the ability to put aside the day’s stresses and get to that place that gives you peace. They will understand. Then, focus upon the process that they take you through to relax and let go and begin your search for that happy place that is still there, somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind. You knew it as a child and you can find it again. When you do find it; you will know that “everything’s gonna be alright”.

For some people, their happy place is a spiritual place, a place that they reach through prayer. They can start each day with a prayer and that means that they start in their happy place, before the day even gets underway. The nice thing for them is that they can pray anywhere and anytime, without even being noticed. It’s all done in their minds, as is the journey to their happy place. For some of these people it is possible to live all day long in their happy place. You know that you have met people like that, because you cannot figure smiling womanout why they always seem so calm and happy. They are at peace with God and themselves and that is a happy place to be, indeed.

An interesting by-product of making the effort to get to your happy place in times of stress is that it tends to stop whatever was going on in you r mind, because you are focusing on trying to find that place of peace. Just making the effort is a big help in coping with the day-to-day stresses of life. Sometimes we don’t have time to make the full journey back and sometimes we may not be in situations or settings where going through our whole routine (perhaps with eyes closed or in a yoga position of some sort) is possible. In those times, just the mental pause that starts the process may be enough to relieve the pressure.

You can make a mental note to go all the way there when you get home, but for the moment, just realize that you have loosened the grip of stress or panic and can go on with what you need to do in a more relaxed and confident manner. You know that your happy happinessplace is out there waiting for you and you know that you can get back to it when you want to – and that’s a good thing …a happy thing.

So, take a moment before you start each day and try to get back to your happy place, so that you carry a fresh memory of it in your mind throughout the day. Then, when stress or turmoil hits it won’t be that guard to see your way back to it for a quick refreshing dose of happiness.

Have a great and happy rest of the week.


What’s in your Happy Book?

June 2, 2014

From Jack’s Winning Words“The Happy Book is about what makes you glad.”  (Rachel Kempster & Meg Leder)  The Happy Book is a book that you write for yourself.  One page is titled, “What makes you happy?  Maybe it’s….”  Or, “Your favorite smells, sounds, tastes…”  What are they?

The Happy BookI must admit that I hadn’t heard of The Happy Book before reading Jack’s post. I certainly hope they give you a pen or pencil with it, or maybe both (in case there are some things that you’ve not sure make you happy and which you may have to erase later).

One occasionally hears the phrase “imagine yourself in a happy place” when people are trying to calm down someone who is upset or distraught. I think it is important that we all have some “happy places” that we can get back to mentally when we need a boost or just relief from the stresses of the day.

It seems to me that the real appeal and magic of having a physical Happy Book is that it forces those thoughts back out of the recesses of your mind and brings joy and maybe a smile or a chuckle as you mentally relives happy moments in your life. To sample The Happy Book at the Barnes and Noble site, click here.

I suppose that we all have an internal Happy Book in the back of our minds somewhere; someplace that we store good memories and a place that we can get back to when we need to. Maybe your Happy Book memories are of a favorite vacation place or maybe a special event that you went to. Perhaps your Happy Book is full of memories of people that you are happy being around and with whom you have had fun and good times. Occasionally favorite food or meals will have a place in your Happy Book and certainly, if you’ve had pets there is a special section in your mental Happy Book for them, too.

With all of the curve balls and negative things that life can throw at you it is important to be able towomen dreaming open your internal Happy Book when you need it. One way to make that easier is to take some time each day thinking about the things and places and people that make your happy or that made you happy in the past. By reinforcing those happy memories you make them much easier to get back to when you need them. Then, when strife or sadness or despair start to close in on you; you will be able close your eyes and go to a happy place.

Maybe you should even start your day every day with a quick peek into your personal Happy Book; so that you start off on the right foot. And speaking of feet, I’ll bet there’s a place in your Happy Book that is chocked full of your favorite pairs of shoes. Drag a pair out and put them on; then you can have happy feet all day long, too.