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Living in the pastThe past week my partner and I have been busy clearing out space on his mother’s farm, going through layers upon layers of furniture, bookkeeping papers, books, clothes and old love letters. There were things in that house going back 7 generations, all the way back to old farming equipment and maps of the land from past centuries.

As we went through it all we talked a lot about memories and the past and being nostalgic. It is fascinating how we as human beings tend to give value to things due to the memories we’ve attached to them, things that might not have any practical value, that are old and broken and that we keep and allow to take up space, just because of their connection to the past.

So during this process of clearing out space, I found a couple of interesting things:

First of all, in being around and looking at all these old things I found myself becoming overwhelmed. A part of the reason is that I many years ago decided for myself to ‘let go’ of anything having to do with the past. I thought that to free myself I had to get rid of all material possessions that I held an emotional attachment to and that this in turn would ‘free me up’ within my mental state of holding onto the past as well.

So I stopped seeing my family, I sold all my things or gave them away and I deliberately severed the attachment I had created to certain things. It was quite effective in that I no longer create emotional bonds with material items, however it was not effective in terms of freeing my mind – which is something I couldn’t understand until I found Desteni and realized that it was in fact my mind I had to clear and that the physical items (and even people) had merely been projections.

What I mean is that the attachment or bond was not ‘held’ or ‘contained’ WITHIN the person or thing that I was carrying a feeling or emotion towards. Therefore it didn’t help to simply remove that person or thing from my life, because the attachment still existed within me – as me, as my mind.

So when I was working on my partner’s family’s farm alongside his family hearing about their past and seeing them express feelings of nostalgia towards the things, I experienced a resistance because this was exactly what I had worked so hard to let go of many years ago and I was not interested in re-introducing the ‘burdens’ of ‘carrying the past’ into my life. I felt overwhelmed with the sheer abundance of things and the strong emotions that were coming up in my partner’s family members towards them.

Obviously I can’t force others to walk the same process that I’ve walked in relation to material things because to me it was something I did out of my own will and desire to free myself from the past, however what I can do is to decide what I will have in my home based on practicality and to not allow any emotional attachments to influence those decisions. I can share my starting-point with others and if they then decide to keep things because they have ‘affectional value’ to them it is their decision. The past doesn’t have to haunt us and we don’t have to feel like we owe something to the dead to honor their memory by keeping their stuff. Conversely I also don’t have to feel threatened by another’s emotional attachment to the past or fear like their past will weigh me down, because again, the past as memories is not actually etched into material things – it is something we project into them or not.

The thing itself is simply a thing. It is either practical to have or use or it is not. Creating emotional attachments to things on the other hand, is like living with ghosts where you allow the past to keep haunting you.

The other insight I had, had to do with thinking that I knew my own limits and then realizing that I was a lot stronger than I thought.

We were only three people working and we had a time limit of a few days, so we had to get as much done as possible within the time available. I am not particularly used to heavy lifting or many hours of physical labor so I quickly started feeling sore and aching. What had at first seemed like a fun project of going on a treasure hunt through centuries worth of old things suddenly became a burdensome and impossible task. At one point my body simply couldn’t handle anymore and I had to go and rest.

However I knew that I had no choice but to get back up again and start working, because otherwise I would leave the responsibility onto the other two people which would strain them even more and I simply couldn’t allow myself to do that.

So I kept working but I also noticed that I was becoming increasingly frustrated and was complaining quite a lot. No one really complained about me complaining, but in one moment as I was carrying some piece of furniture from one end of the farm to the other, I stopped.

I could see that my starting-point and attitude towards the work, really wasn’t helping the situation. I was allowing myself to become possessed by a negative experience and it was affecting my ability to work. I kept thinking about how I wished that we were done soon and how much more stuff was left and the more I thought about that, the more frustrated I became and the more my body ached with every lift.

So in that moment, I realized that I could change how I approach the situation and that I could simply move myself in the physical instead of focusing on being in my mind thinking about how much stuff was left and I how I wish we were done or that I could just go lay down. I had no choice because this was a responsibility I had given myself and there were literally no one else who could do it.

After that, something interesting happened. Before that moment I had struggled to carry the heavist things and we had left those for ’the men’ of the family to carry and throughout the entire process I was afraid of not being able to carry the heavist things. I was constantly struggling with immense pain in my lower back and my knees. But when I made that decision to change my starting-point, I suddenly discovered strength within me that I didn’t know was there.

This was also supported by the fact that my partner kept urging me to try and lift things rather than just accepting that I couldn’t. Before I changed my starting-point I simply refused and said that certain things were too heavy for me.

A significant moment was when we were to carry a heavy wooden sofa and I was darn sure that I wouldn’t be able to carry it. I even said to my partner ”Okay I can try but I won’t be able to lift it.” But then as I lifted it up I immediately let go of the thought and I simply did it – I simply did it. From that moment on, my partner and I would carry all the rest of the things together without asking for help unless it was strictly necessary and we kept going and going and going until we were done.

So from this entire experience I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.

I have learned that by changing my starting-point from being in thoughts and reactive experiences, I could change my entire experience of myself and so change an entire situation.

I have learned that I have created an idea about myself of being a ‘female’ as being weak and within that have justified not even testing my own strengths or limits to see if I could move beyond them. As such, I’ve accepted myself as limited and as less than what I am in fact capable of – and so I’ve realized that to discover one’s limits, one has to push through the limits one think one has. So I’m not saying that I don’t have limits, but that my limits are not what I thought they were, and if I hadn’t pushed myself beyond my limit I wouldn’t have discovered that I had this strength within me.

I have learned that when we define ourselves according to memories and even to people of the past, we are essentially living in the past, like living with ghosts that are haunting us, only the ghosts are existing within our own minds and through burdening ourselves in this way, we’re making it difficult for ourselves to create space for anything new to unfold.

Whenever we step into challenging or difficult situations, there is a gift for us, an insight, and a discovery about ourselves that would be missed if we didn’t push beyond our preconceived limits. We don’t have to live in the past. We don’t have to keep the ghosts of the past alive. We don’t have to accept the limits that bind us within thoughts and emotional experiences. And so as we bring these lessons back to the process we are walking in relation to stepping out of the mind, all of these lessons can be utilized to support ourselves as we walk our processes; to allow ourselves to clean our ‘head space’, the inner attic of generations worth of memories – which is something that is necessary to do, for us to make space for something new, to decide who we are and who we are going to be, and not allow ourselves to be defined by what was in the past.

Investigate Desteni, investigate the forum where on is invited to write oneself out in self-honesty and where any questions regarding the Desteni Material will be answered by Destonians who are walking their own process. Visit the Destonian Network where videos and blogs are streamed daily. Suggest to also check out the Desteni I Process and Relationship courses as well as the FREE DIP Lite course

Artwork by Andrew Gable.

 

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