We have all read the ‘self help’ 101 books that tell us that we have to ‘live in the now’. “Forget the past and live in the present”, they state. This, in all it’s power, is harder in reality for some, than it is for others. The past, steeped in it’s history and heaviness, seems to bind us to a reality that we continue to live up to on a daily basis. Whether we like it or not, it is almost human nature to do this, for those who are not consciously living in the present moment.
As I began putting together this site, I had to go through the process of breaking down what I wanted to include. What should the layout look like? What should the ‘About Me’ include? Where should the blogs sit? What I found was that I was not ready for what the ‘About Me’ section was about to truly reveal. It is that moment when you are required to determine, in black and white, what it is you want the world to know about you. For some, they would think that it’s crazy to even think twice, and for others, I am sure it brings about a light sweat and a level of anxiety that we have all experienced one time or another. For me, it was a reflection on what reality I had created about the past in my life.
I remembered when I was 17 and dreaming of traveling the world. As I wrote in the ‘about me’ section, I recall sitting in my grade 12 english class in Brisbane, Australia, looking out over the school yard, with a view of the city, and dreaming about the the enormous world out there just waiting to be explored. Little did I know that when I did get the chance to go travel, that I would find such power in being free from my past. I understood very quickly, that every new person I meet in this world doesn’t know about the ‘Luke’ from Brisbane or Adelaide, Townsville or Peterborough, and all of his “problems” of the past that he felt so bound by. They didn’t know that I grew up with chronic eczema for the first 10 years of my life, creating a reality of illness, discomfort and exclusion; that I had over 12 rotten teeth pulled from my mouth when I was 10 as a result of a poor diet due to being so sick as a child (and not as a result of neglect, as the Dentist tried to imply to my poor, tired mother); that I did Drama classes for 7 years, resulting in being part of some major musical theatre productions, and being cast for mini roles in Australian tv dramas (sounds WAY more important than it was!); that I came from a broken marriage; that whilst I was ‘liked’ in high school, especially by the female population, I certainly wasn’t popular with all, especially with other guys, and spent many years being bullied… the list goes on. And whilst many of these don’t sound like a significantly troublesome past, for me, as the main character, they had shaped my perception, and the perception of those around me for so many years. To know that I could now break free of this, and be the person that I choose to be, rather than what I felt was being chosen for me, was liberating. This is probably why I subconsciously loved to travel for so many years. I was the person in control. I could determine what people would know, and wouldn’t know, about who I was. Why couldn’t they all just like the Luke of today, without having to know these things from my past that I felt so upset by?
With that in mind, the years have thankfully passed, and I have grown and matured into who I am today. With that growth came the ability to accept all parts of my past without being held captive to them (ok - I probably have a few more to go, but for the most part I feel pretty good). I have the ability to be able to own who I was, who I now am, and what has shaped me today, and simply be grateful for it. For so long, in hindsight, I can see that I ran from it. Scared of what it would look like to those that didn’t know. When in fact, these stories are the strength behind the person of today. Why hide that? Why think that there is some burden of my past, when it has helped to shape such a positive future?
If I was to ask you about your past, would you feel comfortable sharing your story? Does your story define who you are today? Or have you not given it the time it deserves to understand how much power it holds over you? The process is real, and for me it has proven quite significant in my journey. If you don’t know the answers to this, I suggest you sit with your story, and determine how much power you give to the main character of your past.
What I have learnt so far though, is that the past shouldn’t hold us prisoner from the present. The past should be owned, understood and celebrated, where possible. Not so we continue to hold that same cloak around ourselves, and walk through each day with those burdens on our shoulders. Rather, so we can continue to grow and learn as individuals, and consciously live; knowing and celebrating our journey to this point.