Don’t Forget To Remember: Looking Back to move Forward

“Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come…”

That is my favourite line in the hymn, “Amazing Grace”. It is both powerful and poignant, propelling the pliable heart towards apprehending purpose in every experience. We tend only to extrapolate value from those pleasant experiences. But every experience has value – they all come to teach us something – about life and about ourselves.

While most people seem to use this time to make resolutions or write a list of things to do, in the coming year, around this time, I prefer to use it as a time to turn my eyeballs inside and look at the life I lived the past year. Is it something that I can be proud about? Have I wasted my time? I spend the time looking for the lessons I was taught in this school of life and for those tests I passed and failed and to determined what made me pass or fail those tests. It is that clarity, I believe, that helps us to make better decisions – beyond resolutions – in the year ahead.

This past year has been a year of learning for me; particularly learning more about myself – my resilience and vulnerabilities & tenaciousness & “bouncebackability”. For me, this journey of getting to understand myself more intimately and loving the ‘me’ that I discovered – foibles and all – has been my greatest accomplishment to date. It has helped me to define my purpose; set goals for myself based on that purpose; and to remain steadfast in the face of challenges.

In 2015, I discovered the amazing power of forgiveness, of self first and of others, and then to seek forgiveness from those whom I have hurt or offended. Forgiveness comes easier when one recognizes that every experience, every relationship, every trial has value attached to it, including those that brought pain. Surrendering to this consciousness helped me to not just release the pain from those uncomfortable experiences but it also helped me to excavate from each experience, lessons that I can take into 2016, so that when I confront similar challenges, I am able to conquer them.

I also discovered that unless we surrender to the process that life uses to form character in us, we will never be able to live our best life and to walk in our purpose. For me, the greatest form of self-actualization is not the acquisition of things but walking in our purpose. Each of us is here for a reason and I firmly believe that closed doors, denied and delayed opportunities, betrayal, broken relationships all help to shift us into the direction we are meant to walk. Have you ever come to the place where you said about a situation or relationship, “I am glad it never worked out how I wanted it to work out.”?

In 2015, I lost many things… Money, job, friendships but I did not lose the will to go on living. Intuitively, I became aware that in order to move on, I had to let go. So often, we hold on to that which we are meant to release so that we can move on to the BETTER that is in store for us. We cannot move to better unless we release the “good” we lost but insist on holding onto. So, it was a good job; a good wo/man whom you loved; a nice car… but you lost it and more likely than not, it is not coming back. See it as an opportunity to welcome new and better things to come. Letting go of lost love finally opened me up to receiving and experiencing the greatest most unconditional love I have ever received. Letting go has also pushed me into new career paths and aspirations for my life. There is deeper meaning now. Letting go will open you up to beautiful surprises & propel you further than you expect and soon the wound of yesterday will disappear without scars. I am the happiest I’ve ever been because I learned to LET GO. Suddenly, there was happiness. Suddenly opportunities replaced calamity; and for every closed door, it seemed two extra opened up and that is because I became open to all the good that was awaiting once I had released. You have to release to apprehend.

I think, above all else, the most important lesson I learned in 2015 is gratitude. It is important for u to be grateful – both in times of plenty and times of scarcity. Be grateful in time of health and in time of sickness. Be grateful for the companionship of being in a relationship and for the solitude of singleness. Just adopt an attitude of gratitude and you will rest in the midst of all the upheavals of life. Gratitude is the soul’s balm. It takes you through the many dangers, toils and snares. It positions you far above the cacophony of negativity that swirls around you. I woke up this morning and was becoming frustrated about what I should prepare for breakfast. I had options. Suddenly, a memory interrupted that frustration. I remembered the days when I did not even have it to become frustrated about what I should prepare for breakfast. Frustration was replaced with gratitude all because I remembered.

As we leave 2015 and begin 2016, I want to leave these four thoughts as a guide for you:
1. Forgive
2. Surrender
3. Let Go
4. Gratitude


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