April 2015: Changing seasons
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance” Alan Watts
As April springs forth her light filled days, the lambs and rabbits that I see dotting the landscape are frolicking in the sunshine. I can feel happy at this time of year as I celebrate the newness of the season and optimism of fun days to come. It has not always been like this for me and like the transition of the darkness of winter to the lightness of spring, change has been a challenging endeavour for me over the years. It can be really difficult to feel joyous and light-heartened when situations in our lives are generating feelings of unsteadiness and uncertainty. Then it can be a challenge to stay on stable ground and we can feel unsettled and out of sorts. When life is feeling uncertain and broken, or out of control I myself can easily dip into feelings of inadequacy and despair. I am reminded of some wise words from William Wordsworth “Life is divided into three terms, that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present and from the present, to live better in the future”.
Learning from the past
As we think about the past, we begin to realise it is over and we cannot change it because it has already been lived. What we did in the past was not right or wrong, it just was what it was. You can see your past as a set of circumstances that you had to go through and you can either learn something about yourself from the experience or you can continue to beat yourself up about what you did or didn’t do. I choose to believe I am not the sum of my past and I did the best that I could with the knowledge and the experience that I had at that time. I am now a new person and I can learn to forgive the past so that I might move into my future with grace and love and understanding. It can be difficult to let go of our past and sometimes we need someone independent, outside of the situation to help us to see things differently. That’s what happened to me, it took me a while but I learned to accept the past and move on in my life. Are you ready to do the same?
Profiting by the present to live better in the future
As Bill Keane so rightly puts it “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift”. We only ever have the moment that we are living right this minute now. You can spend your life feeling guilty about what has gone before and worried about the changes in your a future that might not ever happen. Or you can choose a new way, that is to savour the moment that you are living right now this very second. Yes, that’s right, this very moment is the only moment we will ever have access to. I find it helpful to stop for a minute and watch my breathing. As I breathe out I silently say to myself “past” and as I breathe in I say “present”. This physical act gives me the opportunity to live in the moment and this helps me to ‘profit by the present’ so that I might generate a brighter tomorrow. Why not give it a try and see how this simple act can help you to navigate change more easily in your life.
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About Sue Holdsworth
Sue is a counsellor working in Andover, Hants. Sue has 5 years experience working with clients dealing with anxiety and work-related stress, loss and bereavement, depression, family and parenting issues, relationship difficulties and separation and divorce.