#115 – How Living in the Past Is Stopping Your Progress and Some Real Ways To Overcome

Ýlona María Rybka on Unsplash

The past is a story. It doesn’t exist anymore, yet the basis for a lot of mental issues is derived from stories of yesterday. We willingly and unconsciously conjure up these stories again and again.

Why do we do this?

Why do unfavorable circumstances hold so much precedence in our lives today?

In my personal experience, it has stemmed from childhood. I observed those close to me inflict venom on each other by using their past missteps against each other. It was as if they were spewing batons of mental weapons of mass destruction.

Petty arguments created avalanche-like mounds of force in the form of mental and physical abuse, with the aim of crushing one another. I was young, naive, and an observer when this battle of egos was taking place. However, I still had the capacity and know-how to understand that this wasn’t normal. How I was able to understand this as a child is beyond me because I was at an impressionable age as we all are when in our youth.

I could have easily fallen down the pit of addiction, victimization, and other mental health issues that plague more and more people today. However, immersing myself in philosophy, understanding human psychology, taking care of my body, being mindful of what I eat, and observing my mind have been impeccable tools for growth.

I talk about this openly because I want to help others find peace with their past. It has been an arduous and ongoing process, but one that I am grateful for because it’s teaching me how to understand myself better. This is a constant process. The self is like a plant. It needs constant nurturing if it’s going to grow.

I bring up my past story today because humans have an extraordinary ability to recall hurtful past events that have left psychological wounds but will still have a hard time finding their keys. Feelings that have caused mental anguish, leave a pathless wound. If not resolved, these wounds keep us lost and we keep re-counting them over and over again.

The past limits us from attaining our true potential. It inhibits us from seeing the beauty of the world. It causes us to ignore the fact that each day is a life gone, like a single petal falling from a rose.

I’ve been mindful and cognizant of how I let the past into my present. With day-to-day tasks, memory is a useful ally, but when those memories are obstructing my present perception, I am able to decipher the issue and get myself back into a place where I am enjoying the only moment we will ever have.


The commentaries below are ways that I have made peace with my past and the steps I’ve made towards moving forward. Also, it’s important to note that I am a work in progress. I come back to these lessons time and time again.

Self-improvement is an ongoing task. At the same time, it’s worthwhile because living a pleasant life full of joy is a responsibility we owe to ourselves.

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#114 Morning Pages – A Useful Technique For Anyone Interested In Improving Their Lives

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I first heard about Morning Pages from Julia Cameron, an American teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, pigeon fancier, composer, and journalist. Needless to say, she’s a BAD-ASS, a term I grew up with, used to describe someone that is amazing at what they do.

She was also married to Martin Scorsese, who happens to be the director of one of my all-time favorites movies, Goodfellas (RIP Ray Liotta).

Julia Cameron describes morning pages as spiritual windshield wipers. She said morning pages should be spelled mourning pages. It’s a farewell to life as it was, and an introduction to life as it needs to be.

Morning pages is a writing exercise to conduct first thing in the morning.

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#113 – Forgiveness is a Selfish Act

Image by Jackson David from Pixabay 

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain

When I first heard this beautiful quote my heart skipped a beat, goosebumps arose throughout my body and my eyes began to tear up. Twain tells us that even when the heel of a foot crushes the violet flower, it still permeates its sweet fragrance.

Learning how to forgive yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in this lifetime. If you have experienced hurt and are able to forgive others and yourself, you soon come to realize that no one can take anything from you, rather in every interaction you give someone something to remember you by.

Before learning how to forgive yourself, you must understand why we forgive.
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#112 – Maybe  -  A Timeless Lesson About Change

Image by Aamir Mohd Khan from Pixabay 

“There are no obstacles on the path, the obstacles are the path.” — Zen Proverb

Once upon a time lived an old farmer who had worked on his crops for many years. He was considered wealthy because he had a horse to plow his land in a village where many didn’t. 

One day, his only horse ran off. When the villagers heard this, they rushed to his home to express their sympathy. “What a terrible thing” they lamented. But all the farmer said was: “Maybe.”

The next week, his horse returned, leading with it an entire herd of about a dozen horses. The villagers rushed over, exclaiming at his good fortune: “now you are the wealthiest man in the province”, but all the farmer said was: “Maybe.”

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#111-The Wisdom of Jerry Seinfeld — Timeless Lessons From a Comedic Legend

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to the greatness of Jerry Seinfeld.

I didn’t watch my first episode of Seinfeld until 2020, some 30 years after its infancy.

I also never had potato dauphinoise until 2020. If you don’t know what that is, then I’m glad, because I may have just introduced you to one of the best dishes on Earth.

My admiration for Jerry Seinfeld started with the Netflix show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

He likes cars, he likes comedians, and he loves coffee. Why not make a show about it?

If only all of life’s decisions were this easy.

Perhaps they are, but we have made it a point to make it complex because we have intangible useless junk lodged in the tiny crevices of our Cabeza.

By the way, the storage industry is a multi-billion dollar industry housing tangible useless junk. If you don’t use it, why keep it?

Anyways, I love comedy and the brave comedians that practice this art.

They make observations and pour out their contempt and love for the world in a way that makes us think of everyday occurrences differently.

They are able to stroke our vagus nerves until we are gyrating with laughter.

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#110 – If You Want to Live a Good Life, Don’t Chase Happiness. Instead, Cultivate This…

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

What does it mean to be happy? It’s a noble question, a question that I used to ask myself often, but rarely do now. I care for happiness, much like I care for sadness or any other feeling that is part of the human experience.

Happiness is a temporary feeling of euphoria, a firecracker with a short burst of light, or a surge of dopamine intended to make us feel good.

The taste of something delicious, a strong alcoholic beverage, a mind-numbing orgasm, a warm bath, and a million other iterations of pleasure can be aptly placed in the bucket labeled happiness.

Don’t get me wrong. I love good food, making passionate love, and enjoying the many beautiful blessings that life has to offer.

However, I don’t chase these euphoric feelings anymore. I don’t think about them as much, nor do I look forward to them. If the feeling of happiness finds me, I embrace it with open arms. Once the feeling leaves, it’s out of sight and mind.

The Happiness Trap
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#109 – The Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make

In the course of a given day, we make many decisions. Some are conscious and others were once conscious, but are now on auto-pilot.

The decisions that were on autopilot need little energy now.

For example, taking a daily shower may not seem like a decision, but it is. There is a known consequence.

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#108 – The Life That Chose Us

Photo by Tanya Grypachevskaya on Unsplash

It was about midnight and Reza was ready to go to work. His wife Anissa packed him some lunch, a thermos filled with piping hot chai, and a few extra rags for protection. Every evening she gives him a goodbye hug as if it’s the last time, even though she doesn’t want to. 

Reza is a sulfur miner and on his way for the daily climb to Mt. Ijen’s volcano, located on the outskirts of Java, Indonesia. 

During his trek up, he has little by way of protection. Volcanic gas and toxic fumes only increase as he makes his way closer to the belly of the beast. He has a thick rag that has become damp with heat, humidity, sweat, and gas that rivals overcharged battery acid. 

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Image by Shelburn from Pixabay 

The tall trees, with their giant, branched limbs, held each pine needle intact as if it had nothing else to do. It was early morning when Anand and Alicia jogged down to the group site to get some exercise before the sun would delicately scorch everything that wasn’t shaded. Summer in these parts is dry, with low humidity and skin crackling. 

They saw Dale, one of the camp hosts at Sharp Creek campground. He was going nowhere in a hurry. He stopped to talk to them. In unison, they greeted him. 

“Mornin Dale.”

Alicia with gleeful curiosity, “What’s goin on?”

“Oh, a little of this and a little of that.”

Dale had a way with words. He was quick-witted, artfully humorous, and used a vocabulary that seemed foreign to the young couple, but still easily understood. 

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#106-Walking Through the Dark Tunnel — A Life Lesson In Story

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

My current address is Sharp Creek Campground, site #9. It’s about 11:30 pm. I’m situated in the heart of large pine trees. It’s hard to believe that I’m in the Arizona high desert, but here I am. The campground is empty during the week and may stay that way on the account of campfire restrictions set by the National Forest Service.

I turn off my flashlight and walk through the vacant campground. I crunch and crush pine cones as I make my way to the luxurious pit toilets. The coyotes are howling in full bloom nearby as I glance at a dark dancing cloud passing the half-moon. The only guiding light I can see is the dim flicker of the bathroom a few hundred yards in front. I am temporarily taken back to elementary school.

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