Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

09 March, 2009

LIVING IN THE PAST? FIND A BALANCE

...It helps make your future
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I often wonder if in the twilight of my life I spend too much time living in the past, remembering with fondness days of yore. I admit to some concern about my penchant for nostalgia and it has forced me to do some serious thinking on the subject.
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I understand that the present is only a fleeting moment, an instant that passes at once into the past. It then escapes our influence so utterly that it is beyond the reach of our wildest imagination. It is not unusual for one to behave as if the future is completely and irrevocably forfeited by what was done in the past. It does not necessarily apply to me, but this conviction is so deep in some people that they continue to live in the past while in the present and thus confirm their expectation, namely that the past is binding.
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I think that I balance my reflective moods fairly well and healthfully. They are not affected in the least by regret or remorse. My reflection is always warm and happy, so I can take consulation in that. The insights of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais encourage me in this regard. In his foundational book The Potent Self, he explains that the present is the time in which we live, and what we do with our present selves is the most important thing for us. "The past is carried into the future through our present selves; what we do now is the key factor for our tomorrow. If we do nothing to change our emotional pattern of behavior, tomorrow will resemble yesterday in most details except the date. The past is history, the future is a guess -- the present makes them both what they are," he adds.
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So I think I hear Feldenkrais advocating that we try not to forget the past, because that is impossible. Pleasant or unpleasant, the details are stamped in our body and mind. We can use those memories to make our present a vital basis for a fuller, more absorbingly interesting future.
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Maturity itself is a process, and not a final state. It is a process to be celebrated, a natural evolution whereby past experiences are broken up into constituent parts and new patterns are formed out of them to fit current circumstances. Good memories of the past are to be nurtured and carried with us into our present. Bad memories should be rationalized and left in the past where they belong. As I concluded in a dissertation on stress and faith last week, the secret in all of this is to foster a happy balance in all aspects of our lives.
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I will continue to savor my nostalgic wanderings down Wrights Lane, convinced that "I'm alright, Charlie!" Convinced too that nostalgia adds a fulfilling dimension to life.
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Together we sentimentalists, wrapped in the comfort and warmth of fond memories, will be alright too! It's nice where we live...It took us a long time to get there!
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Thought for today: "In just two days from now, tomorrow will be yesterday?"

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