Do you live in the past, present or future?

A Bird’s and Dog’s Eye View

Bentley:  Recently I had an issue come up, and during my decision-making process, my mind became flooded with past memories of a similar situation. I found I was looking to my past to predict my future, while trying to make a decision about the present. My mind kept cycling from past to future to present. I think I’ve lost all clarity and objectivity about my current situation!

Leo:  I’ve had the same experience, Bentley. I find it so frustrating and uncomfortable that my mind calls upon old memories when they really have nothing to do with anything. I recently discovered that when I reference a past experience to make a current decision, it doesn’t allow for a new choice.

Memory structures are so fascinating. When we have a strong memory, whether good or bad, there’s usually an emotion or energy attached to it and we end up reliving that past memory in relationship to our present situation. So not only do we need to deal with our current situation, we get influenced by our emotionally charged memories that affect our mind and body.

If we want to move forward in life without these prominent memories halting our progress, we need to make choices or override this memory force. Here are a few things that have helped me to stop living off my memories and get in the flow of my life:

  • Realize that memories guide us to what is recognizable and familiar, because unconsciously that means safety.
  • In the moment of a memory flood, ask yourself if you are safe, and if the answer is yes, refrain from any immediate decision. If the answer is no, get yourself emotionally or physically to a safe place.
  • Know that a memory brought forward is never what it was in the past. Over time, our perception of the past is altered by the passage of time and the recycling of that memory in our mind.
  • Take a piece of paper and write across the top – What If? Then write down everything that comes to mind about your current situation, from a “what if” perspective. This exercise will help clear your mind of all preconceived, possible or potential options. Then put the paper away for a time and wait for the solution or choice to be shown to you.
  • For 14 days, every time a past memory comes forward, think of something that gives you pleasure. This exercise will allow that memory to fade.

Bentley:  Thanks, Leo, I’ll do exactly that!