Summer is a great time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next.
If you are in school, you can see your achievements marked as moving up into a higher grade level.
Some of you finished middle school or even high school and you will be going into higher education. Some are graduating from college into jobs and responsibilities.
Those of us with jobs and duties to our families can see changes as well. Often just seeing our children grow marks our own advancement through life. We rejoice in their victories and struggle with their defeats. We internalize their struggles as our own.
In any of of these cases we can look back at the past and try to draw conclusions and ideas for the future.
So what does does the past hold for us? Is a series of events set in stone, unchanging in the fixed nature of history? Or is it a source of lessons upon which we can decide what to do in our present moment? Perhaps some past memories inspire us while others fill us with remorse.
I submit to all that the past is not necessarily fixed and subject to the approach to the present moment.
Lets go back to the foundations of what we can control and how it affects not only our possible futures but can very well alter our perceptions of what is past.
The present moment
Try this exercise. Find a place that you can sit Or stand comfortably. Feel the ground that supports you. Let each breath in fill your body, and as you exhale feel the ground under you support you.
The ground is always here to support us. It is our foundation, our anchor. It is from here we can create a limitless set of futures.
We can choose to move or not move. Not moving, stagnating, frozen by indecision deletes all future possibilities.
The magic, the super power we all possess is in the simple act of moving. The movement can be as simple as the act of breathing, sitting and breathing again.
Or or we can choose to move forward, or as a Jason Redman, a navy seal, taught me to drive forward.
I met met him at a conference a few years back. He had been in quite a few battles and recounted his last.
His team was ambushed during a patrol in Afghanistan. One of his team members was shot in no mans land and the remaining squad was pinned back. Every time they mounted an attempt to get their comrade they were driven back. They did not even know if he was alive. The ethos of the seals is to never leave a man behind. They had a choice then: stay put, immobilized by the fear of pain and death or to drive forward to rescue their teammate. With resolve, our navy seaman organized the rescue leading his team to no mans land. In the process he ran through the hail of bullets, grenades and fire to recover his fallen man. He himself was now pinned down, having been shot through his arm, legs and jaw. He knew he could not afford to let anymore of his team die to rescue them both so he gathered his strength in what most would consider a superhuman effort to pick up the fallen seal and drag both of them back to safety.
Through 60 separate reconstructive surgeries, Jason was put back together. Throughout his recovery he maintained a great sense of humor. He said he learned two valuable lessons from his training and battle experience. First, always drive forward no matter what. And secondly, usually they aren’t trying to kill you.
Its true that almost all of life’s trials and tribulations are serious and life changing. But they ain’t shooting at you.
So this is a vivid reminder that movement and seizing the moment allows us too the super power to guide our future. Not only does action create limitless possibilities for us, it gives us a new lens to see the past moments in a new light and thus changing the past. Yes it is true we can change the way the past is viewed. Now that is a superpower akin to Spider-Man's agility or Superman’s X-ray vision.
Your goal is to find the present moment, anchored to the foundation (ground), and move. Through incremental, gradual changes we create quantum leaps such as a graduation, or breaking with a technique you have not tried before. With that we can look back at our past deeds, successes and defeats, and have a new understanding of it. Thus the past can be changed by our actions in the present. We do not have to slaves of our mind or the narrative we have created about ourselves based on our past.
Once we let go of what we preconceive of ourselves, free ourselves from regrets, demands on what we should be, we can begin to realize that our future is limitless. That our past is not fixed in stone, defining everything. We truly become superhuman, like the navy seal, in the action of movement and change in the present.