Saturday, April 4, 2009

History

I was talking to an old friend last night. She is actually one of my oldest friends and she has now become a new friend. We went to school together - all 12 years, all the way through. We always knew each other...but we never really KNEW each other. I have only seen her once since high school at our reunion. Then a little over a year ago, we got back in touch - by a very random chance. Knowing her now has made all the difference in my life. She lives 3000 miles away, we keep in touch via email, instant message and facebook. We've spoken on the phone once and I didn't want to say good-bye.

We have so much in common, we seem to have had many of the same life experiences and we see the world in the same way. There are differences between us as well and the awesome thing is this: our differences are the things that we admire most about each other - the things that inspire us about each other.
For example, She is a mom. As you know, I have no desire to be a mom, yet the idea that she has worked so hard to be a mom and that she works so hard at being a mom, inspires the hell out of me. I struggle with my spirituality and am just now really coming into my own as to how I feel about all of those things. My friend is Jewish and celebrates her beliefs. Growing up, where we grew up, that was something that made us different. Now, it draws me to her, makes me want to know her more and inspires me to figure out what I believe. In talking to her, we have also found things that happened in the past, during our school days and since, that caused us to admire each other. To be able to tell her these things now, feels good.

We were talking last night about the sixth grade. I don't remember that year at all. I spent most the year being sick and really had a hard time. It was probably the hardest year of my life and I really do try to forget it. This friend remembers that year, vividly. She mentioned something about thinking how courageous I was during that time. What a nice thing to say. We also talked about an issue she had several years ago and then she said this: "I don't want to be defined by my history". That statement hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don't want to be defined by my history either! I don't want to have to do or be something just because that is how it was in the past. I want to be free to carve my path to the future, unhindered by the things that have happened before. When you measure yourself by your past, you limit what you can become. Those things in the past can serve as excuses for why you can't do things now or in the future. This really is hard - most of us use our histories as a way to define who we are. "I'm not good at that...I don't like this....I've always been x, y or z".

I've spent the last few months practicing meditation and visualization. I am focusing on what I want to be and do, not how things have always been or who I used to be. Who says that just because I've always had a hard time traveling that I have to continue having a hard time. Our words and thoughts can create our reality. So, when I say "I'm an awful traveler. I hate to fly", I am reinforcing this behavior, setting it in stone. If I instead say, "traveling comes easy to me, I enjoy the entire process", I am now convincing my mind that is the truth.

I want to let go of all the things that have limited me in the past. I do not want to be defined by my history and I look forward to more words of wisdom from a friend from the past who is helping me shape my future. People come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. I know that is true. It is ironic that someone from the past would teach me that my past doesn't have to define me!!

2 comments:

frankiecatpdx said...

Fantastic post. As I was driving home I heard a story on NPR about how "all this social networking is ruining relationships." Not true! Your post drives home how validating and valuable our shared memory with friends and family can be. Thanks for the insight.

Tracy said...

You are welcome!