When I first heard, “Heal your past” I ignored it. I did not know that anything in my past could be healed and I was oblivious to the reasons why I would need to do this. I was unaware of how much of my attention was in my past and how much of my energy I was spending thinking about an event or person I held responsible for my pain.
We all carry a heavy burden with us, a burden that acts as an anchor that debilitates and enslaves us to a painful past. We all have suffered painful experiences, things, and people that have hurt us. We have had things that marked us and changed us in some way and because those experiences altered us, we assigned an emotion to them that keeps us connected to that painful past.
This is not to say that our entire past is made up of painful experiences. I, for one, have many joyful and heart-expanding emotions attached to some wonderful moments.
However, I’d like to speak to you about the 70 to 80 percent of the time we spend feeling and thinking about some problem or that somebody that hurt us or disappointed us. Our brain is a record of the past. It looks inside its memory bank to make sense of the world in front and ahead of it. Our brain likes to predict and control the future based on the feelings and experiences of our past.
When our brain brings a memory, our bodies feel the emotions we felt at that specific point in time. The physical body cannot tell if an emotional feeling is happening now or in the past. In other words, when you relive a joyful or painful moment from the past, your body thinks that the moment is happening now.
The subconscious brain works by association and if you believe, as I do, that our thoughts have power and that the way we think about things affects how our life unfolds, then surely you can see the problem, right?
If 70 to 80 percent of our time and attention is spent thinking about something in our past, then we are living in the past and if our future is predicted by how we feel and think, then our future will be nothing more than a copy of the past.
Our subconscious mind is responsible for 95 percent of all the programs that run our daily activities. The subconscious mind thrives on familiarity and learns only through conditioning and repetition. Each time we place our attention on that thing or that someone that wronged us, we are conditioning our mind and body to not only live in the painful past but to become addicted to our suffering.
The problem is that we do this unconsciously and that’s why breaking free from the emotions of the past is sometimes so difficult. Over time, we have conditioned our body —the subconscious mind, that the past is our reality. Most people wake up each morning on autopilot and their habit is to immediately recall events of the past, or the things they have to do and the problems they need to tackle. Before they even get out of bed, they have primed their body with cortisol, the fear hormone and now they are headed for a day of stress and anxiety. I speak from experience, living in the painful past is the surest path to disease.
Why? Receptors on the surface of our cells, interface with our emotions and tissues so each time you feel the emotions of hurt, anger, resentment, betrayal, loss, our brain receives the signal to make chemicals to match the very emotions you are having. These emotions in turn create neuropeptides and when our emotions are linked to unresolved traumas, the neuropeptides get stored at the cellular level in our tissue and organs. Over time, we can develop all kinds of unwanted issues such as chronic inflammation and sometimes illnesses in certain organs that get associated with our unresolved traumas.
Every thought and emotion you have carries a vibration. Vibrations attract everything that resonates at that same frequency. If you are constantly reliving your painful past, feeling grief, pain, shame, and guilt —you tend to attract things, people, and circumstances into your life that vibrate at the same frequency as the very emotions you are emitting. Unfortunately, the five percent of your conscious mind that wants to get healthier, the one that wants to attract better relationships and be more successful, is working against the 95 percent of you who is living by the chemicals and chains of your past. What do you think you will attract?
How do you heal your past and unleash your destiny?
You have three choices:
1. Keep reliving your past for the rest of your life.
2. Forget what hurt you by ignoring it.
3. Change the emotion you attached to the event and release the trauma.
Only you can decide which way you’ll go. To change and heal requires work from you. I can tell you from experience that breaking free from your past takes a great degree of consciousness, willpower, and awareness to catch yourself each time you are in your past and to train your thoughts and emotions to say in the present moment.
You may hear people say that the best way to release your painful past is to ignore it. Tuck it under the rug and never to look back, “Focus on the future, not the past.” I followed this advice for many years. In fact, that is why therapy for me did not work. Either people spend every session retelling and reliving the past with no resolution, or we are told to put it away and look forward not backward.
We cannot sail to our new destination while we are still anchored to the port. Just because you think you have left your past in the past; does not mean you are freed from it. Trust me, I was carrying the anchor with me everywhere I went: into every relationship, work, life, and circumstance.
In order to sail to the future, we must first peel all the layers and heal each part of our past. Stuffing it down or pushing it under the rug in the hopes that if you can’t see it, maybe it is not there –that’s just an illusion. Thinking about it unconsciously is not going to help you either. It is will just continue to replicate the pattern into your future.
I am fortunate to have figured out how to heal my own past. I am blessed to have worked with over 1,000 people from nearly 85 countries, through The Gratitude Experiment, to help them heal their past.
From my experience, here’s what I’ve learned:
Believe me, when I tell you, there is no bypass for pain. If you can’t feel it, you can’t heal it. So, I advise my students in my gratitude course The Gratitude Experiment, (FMTG) that the first step in their healing is in the allowance. Allow yourself to feel and to feel whatever it is you are facing or have faced deeply without shame or guilt. The act of allowing and not resisting what lies at the deepest recess of your subconscious wounds to surface is what helps to finally release and heal.
All those neuropeptides that have stayed in your cells and tissue are waiting for something to shift, something to change so they can finally metabolize and release.
I am an advocate of breaking free from your past, but in order to do this, one must first take a short visit down memory lane — not to relive the trauma, but to go back in time to change the emotion you have associated and attached to that particular painful event. Let me be clear, you cannot change the event, but you can go back, in a meditative state to replace the emotion.
My gratitude students are taught to go back to that particular event in time and sit with Mr. Pain and Mrs. Darkness. I teach them to face their demons, to cast light into their shadow, and turn their pain into wisdom by shifting the way they think about the event —focusing on the lesson, not the hurt.
I am not advocating you go back to relive the trauma. I am advocating to go back and face your shadow without shame or guilt but with compassion and gratitude for being a part of who you are. Once you no longer resist the event, your energy shifts. The emotion associated with it weakens and it no longer holds an energetic charge over you. You walk lighter and freer as the chains that have tied you have dissolved.
You must consciously and intentionally visit your past because you can’t build a future with the same tools, emotions, thoughts and behaviors you used to make the decisions that led you to your painful past.
If you are consistently judging the world through the lenses of the past, you actually perceive and see the world how you are not as how things actually are. Your view of the world becomes distorted, narrow, and painful.
You cannot build a joyful present with the same circumstances and habits that led you to the painful parts of your life that you are now trying to forget.
When you forgive and accept your past, you no longer have the need to keep remembering it. Your attention is no longer there and when you take your attention off your past, now your energy can be in the present moment creating a future of possibilities. Your past is no longer a predictor and determinant of your future but merely a teaching tool.
Only when you release the attachment to the past and change the emotions you felt for it, can one begin to be defined by a vision of the future you want to create. FMTG teaches students to prime their bodies and minds first thing in the morning with five minutes of concentrated gratitude — gratitude for the present moment and for their present blessings.
The act of consciously connecting and feeling heartfelt emotions such as love, acceptance, appreciation, and compassion on a consistent basis, teaches your body to create new thoughts and feel new emotions that in turn direct your brain to create more chemicals to match the very emotions that you are feeling — and a new world of possibilities opens up.
When you keep practicing and rehearsing being submerged in the present moment, you will inevitably get out of bed and start your day feeling like a new person, being more present, more loving, more connected with yourself and everything in your world. And at least for those five minutes, you are no longer bound by your past or your pain. You are in the present moment, more present with life.
When you place your attention on the present moment with high vibrating emotions, you are no longer in the past and you begin to attract what resonates with the signature of possibility. The end result is that you become a magnet for miracles.
If you want to heal your past and unleash your destiny, start by forgiving and letting go of your past. Through the act of acknowledgment, unwrap each trauma, every childhood conditioning, every societal program, and through the act of compassion and forgiveness, you heal every layer in your past through gratitude. Only then will you be able to fully be free and build the life you are destined to have.
For Information on how to sign up for The Gratitude Experiment, FMTG