Holding on to the past is trying to breathe life into a play which is closed. It is struggling to raise the curtain in a dark theatre, on a dusty stage, by ourselves.
The other players have left. The stage in empty.
It is going over our everyone’s lines, long since said, playing all the parts – alone. It is being stuck.
It is entrapment in a time warp. The costumes no longer fit. The buttons have popped. We are different people today but we still force the action.
It is a brutal attack on ourselves, because we become, on this stage, both the victim and the attacker.
Jerry Jampolsky, author of Love Is Letting Go Of Fear, says that “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.”
We don’t forgive ourselves. We get caught in the “if onlies,” hanging on to dreams which did not come true, losses – a loved person who has died, an unhappy childhood, a love affair which did not end happily ever after, a youth gone – opportunities which have disappeared.
The game is over, but we are bad sports. We refuse to accept defeat. We run the tape over and over. We can put it on rewind but we can’t get into the movie anymore.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of many wonderful books, likens it to our holding on to the bars of a cage. We rattle them, desperately trying to get free. But the bars are just in front of us. If we look to the right, to the left or behind us, there are no bars.
All we have to do is turn around and walk away.
We are looking for love in that past. A cry that was not answered, a happy childhood, that lover who left, that job to validate us. We wanted to feel safe, wanted, worthwhile.
Yet we know that we cannot infuse love into what is gone. We can only give and receive love now.
We have shackled ourselves in bondage. It is time to walk away from the cage.
The past is not holding us. We are holding it.
Picture all your past relationships, now lifeless forms, hanging on hooks in a closet. The closet goes with you wherever you go.
The relationships are part of you – they have made up your experience – but you are no longer part of them. Although you carry them with you, you can no longer breathe life into them. They are your past.
You can open the closet door and look at the array. But, if you take them out and try to carry them around, they are a heavy and unnecessary burden.
Bits and pieces are pinned on these hanging forms as progress is made through forgiveness. And, it is possible that you may meet again in the present, but it will always be a new relationship.
You travel with your closet, filling it more and more each day. But it is carried for you. There is no need for you to put it on your back.
You cannot lose it because it is the summation of who you are. But it no longer applies to your present except as experience and learning.
These are the records of your life and of your heart. It is up to you to decide to keep the door closed, or to live within the boundaries of a closet.
We can’t put the past on rewind. The buttons are stuck. The actors have gone on to other roles. The set has been dismantled.
The movie is over.