In this Issue

Leaving the Past in the Past

The Holiday Season is officially on us and there are SO many ways to consider writing about this month, but I received my best present late last month. I had a conversation with someone who is very important to me for the first time in nearly 30 years. We had spoken in the past, but it was always full of trepidation, reserved and distant.

For what truly may have been the first time, we spoke to each other as people, there were some tears (predominantly of joy) and real communication and it was possible because I became aware of how much past I was projecting into my future.

As human beings it is a natural tendency for us to project the pains and hurts into the future in an attempt to protect ourselves from having to relive those feelings and situations.

An example of this I heard recently is like our love lives. The first time we fall in love, we put it all out there, we hold nothing back and eventually it usually falls apart (those who found their life mate first off officially owe the universe a big, make that huge, THANK YOU!). The next time or two we still put it all out, but after a while we begin to hold a little something back to protect ourselves. Eventually we hold more and more back and anyone who has been in relationships like this knows, it becomes detrimental in the end.

This behavior is completely natural and can also be lessened by becoming aware of it and then nipping it in the butt as it happens.

So here is the best Chanu-Kwanz-Christa-Yule gift I can think of for you this season, the knowledge that the past can be laid to rest where it belongs, in the past. This not only releases you from dragging the past along like a bag of bricks, but opens all sorts of possibilities for creating a future based on intention and not mired in the muck of yesterday.

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A Thought for Your Practice

It is our nature, unless we have insightful parents that have taught us otherwise to not only drag the past into the present, but use it to filter our future. We do this because it seems logical that those occasions in the past that hurt, scared or humiliated us can be avoided in the future by avoiding the “what” that caused these “bad” feelings or experiences. This is a very natural expression.

But one drawback to doing this, is we tend to become suspicious, someone says “Hi, how are you?” and we hear “OK, what does he want?”

There are more expressions of this than I could ever list, not that I really want to, but I am sure once you start looking for these, you will become aware of many expressions of this in your thoughts and life.

So here are a couple of little homework assignments:

There a two easy ways to address this that I can think of off the top of my head, both will help you.

When you find yourself limiting yourself or reacting in some way that likely makes no logical sense to you (though it often becomes self-justified over time) take a step back and look at your reaction and ask yourself “Why?” Not too much later you will start to remember times in the past when you had some experience(s) that the current issue touched on.

Look at these memories, but analyze them from the perspective of what actually happened, the historic actions alone. After you have the facts of the actions, look at how you added to it, your interpretation. For example, the facts: He did not return my call after I left a message on the voice mail. The interpretation can be just about anything, but for this example we will go with “I am not important enough for him to return my call and he does not really care about me and is only using me for something.” Wow, all that from a single missed return call, but we all tend to be true drama queens inside our minds.

Now that we know what the facts are versus what we added to it, we can remove the interpretation and realign the act with the reality in one way or another. This may take a conversation in the future where you talk about all those missed calls and learn the real reason. It is possible that your assessment was right, but where would you rather live; knowing the truth or presuming the worst?

The second place to look is in the major events and traumas in our life, what did we take out of them? Once again, the process is to separate the pieces and do the same with it as we did for the above.

Once we become of how we have done this in the past, we not only bury the past where it belongs, but we can become aware of our day-to-day continuations of the process. We can stop causing ourselves unnecessary pain every day based on self created delusions. We open the possibility to create new thoughts and accurate assessments of our present. Try it…

Honoring the Past

There is a famous quote that says: “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” We have been talking about revising our remembrances of the past, this in no way is to imply that the lessons we have perceived from the past are invalid.

What we are striving for is to make sure that we are learning the actual lessons and not overlaying some misinterpretation on it. In my life, I can usually find this when I notice the pattern that one misunderstood lesson comes back since I failed the class on the first (second or third and sometimes many more) time through.

I have talked about the emotions as the gage of truth, place the thought in your mind and hold it, your system will tell you the validity of it. On the more dramatic or traumatic issues this may take more time and energy, you have to get past what you have added to get to the source and these tend to be well hidden in the stories and buffers we have put around it to protect ourselves and sometimes to hide the truth away.

The secret here is to learn when we pad the facts to validate, justify or protect oneself and then not to use these as lenses by which all things come under scrutiny. The abused child can easily grow to believe that all are out to abuse them, but they can also learn that the abuser was a single individual that needed something and the abused child was the recipient. Of the above choices, which filter would you prefer perceiving your life through?


Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.

Steve Jobs

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head.

Jean Cocteau

Part of getting a second chance is taking responsibility for the mess you made in the first place.

Kiefer Sutherland
as Jack Bauer on “24”

Memory feeds imagination.

Amy Tan

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.

Henry Ford

The memory should be specially taxed in youth, since it is then that it is strongest and most tenacious. But in choosing the things that should be committed to memory the utmost care and forethought must be exercised; as lessons well learnt in youth are never forgotten.

Arthur Schopenhauer

We tend to live in fear of the past recurring and thereby end up recreating the past that we are attempting to avoid. Remember that fear is not real, it is only in the mind. Someone once said that fear was an acronym for False Education Appearing Real.


Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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