There are times when we need to reflect on where we're at in life. There are times when we need to reflect on where we've been in life. And then there are times when we need to consider the differences between those two points in time.
Considering the differences between then and now can be scary. It can be utterly terrifying to look back and think about how things used to be, especially if the now is complex and hard. When weighed against current negatives, the past never seems quite as bad. This is because it's passed - we got through it - we're still here. C'est la vie, you know?
All we really know is how we feel now. And right now, I feel sad, lonely and afraid. Ugh.
It can be difficult to see beyond current obstacles. They're right there in front of you, staring at you fixedly with an air of permanence. It can feel like they're forever attached to you. They appear inescapable and tortuously unavoidable. This is my reality at the moment. Again, ugh.
What the f*ck do you do? How do you make yourself feel alive again? How do you feel uplifted and hopeful in the face of struggle and hardship?
I don't know the answers to these questions. If I knew the answer I wouldn't be writing this post I suppose.
The one thing I do find helpful, however, is reflecting on reflections. Whaaaat?
That's right, I find it really beneficial to think about the past and the present and then fill in the middle ground - compare and contrast with positive intention if you will (the one time I think it's ok to compare). More often than not, when I do this, I'm able to foster gratitude for where I'm at, regardless of struggles. I am able to see the present for what it is and am also able to honour the past without wishing for it's manifestation in the now. The result is typically the recognition of personal growth. Even when I initially perceive myself as taking a step back, after reflecting on reflections, I almost always realize that I've moved forward in life. It serves as confirmation that the old "everything happens for a reason" clause is true. I mean think about it for a second, where were you three years ago? I was getting out of treatment, flirting with boys, slowly making my way through college after withdrawing from university, driving my parents car, there was no inkling of a regular yoga practice. Now I support myself. I'm a dual graduate, I have a career, I'm teaching yoga, I'm in love, I have two dogs. I get shivers when I take the time to appreciate the growth I've experienced. I've come into my own - that's pretty damn cool.
We will always face hardships. There will always be pain and suffering. We will always think we could have done something differently, something better. It's part of being human. Life is not all blossoming flowers and rainbows. And that's ok. That's good. Without rain we wouldn't appreciate the sun. If there weren't ups and downs life would flatline -borrring. Take the downs, learn from them, allow them to elevate you, to make your ups even higher.
Consider where you are and then consider where you were... there's growth there, isn't there?
The honest learnings and raw reflections of my practice and my life. Unedited.