My parents bought a brand new camcorder when I was born.
You remember the kind, the clunk of a machine that needed two hands to keep steady and came with a shoulder strap and a padded case. God forbid you left the house without extra cassette tapes!
And the home videos they recorded are a hoot, let me tell you!
They aren’t like the little 3 minute clips that children of the Iphone Generation will watch someday; no, they are sprawling 30 minute recordings filled with the hilarious mundane moments of our childhood.
The crying fit I threw when I was too scared to run around in the sprinklers. The ridiculous playground games my sister and I created while Ma was silently recording us through the kitchen window. We Ritchers love to rewatch home movies. The clips just never get old. There’s nothing better for a laugh than my obnoxious, hammy persona in front of the camera, my sister’s awkward venture through puberty and 8 years of braces, and my brother’s sweet, yet sometimes girly tendencies he inherited by being smothered by two older sisters. I cherish those VHS memories.
It’s nuts to think that if my mom wouldn’t have recorded those moments, there is a good chance they might have slipped away with all the other undocumented days of my youth. Memory is a fickle thing; this is the proof of my past.
And it’s so easy to hang onto the past, especially the really good memories…or the really bad.
The good memories are the laughs and innocent moments in the home videos, the moments we took for granted at the time.
It’s hard not to watch those old home movies and feel nostalgic for what once was.
But I think that the positive memories are the special gifts, our reminders of what we are capable of experiencing in this beautiful life. When I find myself missing the past, I remember that this very moment will feel the same way someday. I’ll watch the silly clips I record with my phone and I’ll miss the exhilarating days of my 20s.
We owe it to ourselves to focus on making the present moments worthwhile; so we can receive the beautiful gift of positive memories in the future!
It’s one thing to carry positive memories with you…but what if you can’t let go of the negative ones either?
What if you feel your past choices and circumstances are haunting you; lingering around like a storm cloud on what could have been a bright new sunny day? How do you break the cycle and move forward?
The main thing to remember is, when it comes right down to it, the past is merely a story that we tell ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sometimes I like to sit down and read all my old journal entries that I’ve kept since I was 12 years old.
Oh, the drama! You would have thought that my life would have crumbled to the ground during middle school and high school. Those memories (most of which I wouldn’t remember if I hadn’t written down all the juicy details) are just comical stories now. They are like reading an insane chick lit book – they no longer have relevance to my present life.
And when I reread them, my heart aches for my younger self. “Brittany! No need to get upset…this won’t matter at all in a few years!” It’s like watching a poorly produced horror movie.
If only we could realize how these moments will pass, how they will only live in our minds; blurry little segments gradually fading away. How they are like a Sorcerer’s Stone Voldemort, clinging onto paper or video for sustenance, with no power of their own.
Because our circumstances only have true power when they are rooted in the present.
Once they hit “past mode”, they become nothing but plain ole’ stories. Old moments to recount with friends. Scars to show off or hide.
And the only way that those past stories have any hold over you is if YOU give them that power. The power is entirely up to you!
Every breath is an opportunity for a clean slate, for different choices, for different words, for different thoughts, for love instead of fear. You can turn it all around with one single choice. You’ve already lived and replayed those stories in your mind – it’s time to shelve the story of the past and write a new one.
The only thing you CAN bring with you from the past are the lessons that you learned.
You know the term “baggage?”
People who have baggage from the past are the ones who have stuffed every memory, every emotion, and every judgment into their metaphorical suitcase and then they drag that heaviness into their future lives.
And they wonder why they feel so miserable! I wouldn’t want to carry around that crap, would you!? Neither does your soul.
Even if you consider yourself an emotional person , you don’t have to carry the full burden of painful memories.
You have the ability to pick a few strong, key lessons from your past experience and you can leave the rest behind.
A little knapsack full of power and possibility.
That’s all that you need to move forward. That, and a open heart to all that is available to you now during this very moment. Send the storm cloud of the past away, and you can create new and INCREDIBLE opportunities for the future.
Because, lucky for you, your circumstance and your soul are two separate things. And even more so, your past circumstance and your present circumstance are two separate things.
Marvel at the possibility of those around you. Just look at someone you know who is successful and you admire. They are human (just like you). They have emotions, thoughts, wants, and needs (just like you). They have a soul just like you do, and they have the ability to change for better or for worse just like you do. They even have the same amount of hours in a day…JUST LIKE YOU DO. It’s not like a Super Mario Game, where if you reach a certain level of success you earn more lives or time! All the incredible people in this world have achieved what they have with the SAME AMOUNT OF HOURS IN A DAY. What are you going to do with yours?
You can get back in the game, no one has counted you out just yet.
But if you choose to bring any negativity from your past into the present, you might as well be spooning grimy mud into a fresh glass of clean, pure water. Now the water is murky and cloudy and it didn’t have to be that way. Trust that you have a clean start every time you take a breath, every new moment.
Life is merely a series of moments, each one filled with possibility for you to embrace.
It’s time to filter the water and leave the baggage behind.
Now I’ve shared some of my positive “knapsack” memories and I’d love to hear yours.
Share on by clicking the Facebook button below and tell me your positive memories in a post.
PS… I’m co-hosting my first free LIVE Soultiply event in New York City later this summer! Details will be posted very soon – I would love to see you there!