How to “pass” the past. In 12 steps.
Step 2: ACKNOWLEDGE.
The first thing that we had to do in step 1 was to change our mind or clear out our thoughts. We had/have to clear our imaginations and mental slates of all of the cluttering debris, be it emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, or just habitual ideas and/or memories that we identify ourselves by, for the purposes of being able to begin the work that is necessary to complete, start to finish, what we have set out to accomplish. We do that, clearing our minds, by utilizing forms of therapy such as Meditation, Observation, Visualization, and Experimenting (M.O.V.E), the formula I discussed in step 1. However long that it takes to “clear” or change YOUR mind is up to YOU. But once YOU are confident enough to desire change or find YOURSELF in a place that renders change YOUR only choice, YOU will definitely be ready. When “enough” is truly “enough”, YOU will do “enough” to M.O.V.E!
And once YOU have done it, time for the next step. It is time to ACKNOWLEDGE, all of it!
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Sounds a little counter-productive. Sounds like YOU are going backwards. I know. I totally understand. I completely understand! But “acknowledging” is not remembering, or dwelling, or wallowing in, or repeating, or triggering, the past. Acknowledging is YOU being strong and bold enough to face who YOU are. And the truth is that everything that YOU have been through, everything YOU have done, everything that was done to YOU, all served to create who YOU are right now. And who YOU become after this is because of that person, the person that YOU are. So “acknowledging” is where YOU get to take back or take possession of YOURSELF. When YOU acknowledge who and what YOU are then YOU are able to identify and define who YOU want that person to be. When YOU acknowledge YOUR awareness and presence in YOUR current space YOU then give YOURSELF the ability to measure and weigh the significance or insignificance of things, people, and “stuff”, that matter to YOU. By acknowledging who and where YOU are YOU also get to identify YOUR standards and REQUIREMENTS as it relates to how and what YOU do going forward. Once YOU acknowledge that YOU haven’t been loved or that YOU don’t trust or that YOU haven’t experienced joy, then YOU can recognize those things when they happen again. Acknowledgment stops the routine of access that the past has on YOU and YOUR life.
Acknowledgement is where YOU lay out the facts. The facts are indisputable. The facts, particularly those of the past, do not change. The facts happened. And it is very easy to believe or not believe in ourselves because of the “facts”. Because the facts, especially when used to criticize or condemn us, have the ability to beat us up and down with the reality of ourselves, especially our old selves. That creates the idea and impression that we are who we were and that leaves us susceptible to the repetition of being whoever the facts say that we “were”. And the facts always seem to know how to bring up the worst about us at the “best” time. The facts have every right to us because the facts are us, and no fact is wrong for being the fact that it is. The fact is always true about the past, but facts can lie about YOUR future. And that truth is a fact, solely up to YOU!
I don’t really find much benefit in reflecting on the past. Reflecting, for me seems to trigger a certain feeling of ownership and I don’t want to be affiliated with my past in that capacity. I’d like to be a former owner. I can be proud of that. Yes, I used to own that. I sold it, to the past. I brought a future!
Here is my process for how to ACKNOWLEDGE the facts about YOU. This is what I did, this is how I believe I had to acknowledge who and what I was, in order to keep or change whatever I need/needed to:
Part 1- Write down the facts about YOU. Write as much as YOU can remember. YOU don’t have to tarry over details and explaining the entirety of every experience or event but write down enough so that YOU recall that fact. Write the hurts, the pains, the feelings, the emotions, the mistakes, the issues, the secrets, the habits, the challenges. Write down the facts. If YOU did something, write that. If someone did something to YOU and it is a fact that has helped create the past that YOU are trying to move beyond, write that. If YOU hurt someone, write that. Write the sentence in full, like “I __________ (what YOU did) to or from or about ___________ (the persons name)”. Write the emotions or feelings that described YOU. Write as many facts as YOU can remember. DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING OUT! I’m not going to tell YOU to mail it or share it with anyone so don’t leave something out fearing being revealed or discovered. This isn’t a confession letter. YOU can burn or shred it after this exercise. But, WRITE EVERY “BAD” FACT YOU KNOW ABOUT YOU!
Part 2- Go to the bathroom or anyplace with a mirror where YOU can have a moment of uninterrupted privacy. (I had to do this at 3 o’clock in the morning to ensure that no one disrupted me.) Take what YOU have written with YOU to that mirror. Now read it to YOU. One sentence at a time, looking up at YOURSELF after every fact. For as long as it takes. Acknowledge every fact about YOU.
The facts are hard to hear. They are very hard to hear. And it is hard to hear them about YOU. It is hard to admit them. It is hard to acknowledge them. Some of the facts are very hard to understand. And there are some facts that make YOU remember other facts and realities that YOU were completely unable to control or prevent. And that makes YOU feel shame and guilt and hurt. It makes YOU feel helpless. But keep going. Some of the facts happened when YOU were a child. Some of the facts happened because YOU were not capable or able to avoid them. Some of the facts YOU are totally and completely responsible for. Some of the facts were definitely preventable and avoidable but YOU did them or were a part of them. And now they are the facts. Now they are YOUR past. As YOU read them, don’t try to rationalize or explain them to YOURSELF. Do not try to justify or make excuses while YOU read them. DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED OR GUILTY WHILE YOU ARE READING THEM. Just acknowledge them. Acknowledge that they happened. Acknowledge that YOU are who those facts say that YOU were. So if those facts say that YOU were molested, raped, abused, abandoned, ridiculed, bullied, threatened, hurt, harmed, hated, … ACKNOWLEDGE THAT! If the facts say that YOU lied, stole, hurt, manipulated, cheated, abandoned, avoided, … ACKNOWLEDGE THAT! Acknowledge YOUR facts. Once YOU have acknowledged them, it is hard for someone else to announce them in a manner that breaks or beats YOU down for their validity. Now that YOU are able to say them about YOU, what anyone else says is just that, what they say.
Before YOU walk away from the mirror say this:
I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR NOW. I have the right and responsibility to live, NOW! I give myself the right and the freedom and the choice to be healed, to be forgiven, to be trusted, to be loved, to be proud, to be bold, to be sure, to be supported, to be helped, to be at peace, to be happy, to be cared for, to be cared about, to be understood, to be free. I deserve to be free. I deserve a new truth. I deserve a chance and I give myself that chance, NOW!
Now tear that paper (of YOUR facts) up or burn it or drown it or shred it or destroy it in whichever manner that is accessible to YOU at that moment. It doesn’t have to be ceremonial, just certainly. Just don’t put them away, and DO NOT HIDE THEM. YOU need to get rid of them for this exercise of the process to be successful. YOU have acknowledged YOUR facts, and then leave them as they are, YOU can move on now.
It’s over, the facts are out. The facts happened. YOU don’t have to be proud of them, just proud of YOURSELF for having come through them. The real fact is that whatever it is or was that happened to YOU, it did not end YOU. It may have done a lot of things but it did not end YOU. And because it is not YOUR “end”, there is still an opportunity to continue, go, do, and become. Despite the facts. In spite of the facts. Some good will come of and to YOU entirely BECAUSE OF THOSE FACTS! And don’t worry about reflecting on them or remembering them in a negative way, “people” are going to do that for YOU. People are going to try to remind YOU of YOUR facts. People are going to try to restrict or redirect or refuse YOU because of YOUR facts. So they will come up again, but you’ve acknowledged them and for that reason, they can’t break you or beat you up like they once did. In fact they will help YOU as YOU decide and determine what to do, what to say, what to be. Because those “facts” showed YOU what YOU did, what YOU said, what YOU were… And YOU ARE NOT THAT ANYMORE! Not if YOU don’t want to be.
The truth is that YOU get to produce new facts. YOU get to make new facts. YOU get to move on, regardless of those facts. The past is a fact. The future is whatever YOU decide it to be. Acknowledge that.
©2014 Cornelious “See” Flowers