Living in the past and viewing the past is two totally different belief systems and behaviors. A scenario from a co-worker can best explain the distinction. The names have been altered.
Moon: I think I made a mistake.
River: What do you mean? What happened?
Moon: Well, I was going over my messages that I’ve sent over to the head office and I think that I put the wrong message on another’s client’s chart.
(Moon’s normal small eyes are huge like her name.)
River: Ok Moon, let me look at the case and see. I’ll come over to your desk.
(River gears up for the worst to access the damage. Outwardly she’s cool, inside she’s trying to find the road, she needs to navigate the situation and Moon. Moon retells the story and shows River on the computer what possibly could have passed for the mix-up. As River listens, she has visibly seen the process of why this happened. Moon completes her explanation. She looks to River to repair the situation. She looks for hope.)
River: Ok Moon. First of all, you just got here and you’re not going to know everything about this position. Second, it’s not that bad. Let me make a phone call and speak with my go-to person there so we can rectify this. In the meantime, I will add an addendum to the note you’ve sent.
(Moon’s face softens, and her shoulders relax – a bit. River madly writes the new note as Moon watches. River notices Moon’s mouth is made into an ‘o’. She’s breathing through her mouth.)
(River calls her contact. They discuss the messages and several options how this can be handled. They determine, as Moon intently watches River’s face and listens to half the telephone conversation. River hangs up.)
River: Ok Moon, this is how we decided to manage the messages.
Moon: Am I in trouble? Oh, my… I just got here…
River: Calm down Moon. You’re not in any trouble. You just got here, and we don’t expect for you to know everything. Errors will be cleared, but the good thing about this is, you will think of this moment and know what to do if this situation comes up again. Also, the client will be fine. It was merely a matter, ensuring the client’s actual message was fixed. So, it’s alright, really. Everything has been worked out for you.
Moon: Oh, thank you River. I really appreciate all your help.
River: You’re welcome, but let me ask you a question. What made you look back at your message?
Moon: I check them because I want to see if I made any mistakes and when I saw that I knew was not the message I had written for the correct person.
River: Well, it was a good thing that you went over the message. But all is well now so just be mindful of the names on the account. Just take your time, okay?
Moon: I will. But I could have sworn I wrote that message on the other account.
River: Well, it’s fine now.
(For River the situation is over, and she goes back to her work.)
A couple of minutes later River looks up and sees Moon staring at the computer screen and holding her arm.
River: Moon, are you ok?
Moon: She turns around, “Yes, I am fine. We did all that we could, and I will watch the accounts to make sure I notate the correct one.”
River: You’re sure you’re all right?
Moon: Yes, that was yesterday. I’m good. I did all that I knew to do. I can do no more
When Moon made that statement about “that was yesterday” it touched me deeply. Here was a scenario that could have run amiss. The confusion could have potentially been distressing for the client. Moon listened to her intuition to check on her work, and she obeyed. She asked for help, nervously trusted the situation to someone whom she felt would make the best possible assessment and waited. She waited for an unknown outcome, hoping it would be favorable. I could see the questions forming in her mind from possible past similar experiences. Being a new employee would this be a blight on her new journey? Me telling her what the other voice she couldn’t hear on the phone say the solution worked in her favor. I saw her finally breathe a full breath and let it go. Moon allowed herself to feel and experience her emotions. She allowed them to pass through her and not keep them bottled up inside of her soul to create wounds. Her silence came not to keep rehashing the situation in her mind, but to allow peace, contentment and gratefulness to occupy the place where fear once resided. Her simple reply, “that was yesterday” is a person who was now viewing her past and living in the moment.
Gleaning from this hour scenario I sat at my desk and thought about past situations that I was still living in. I decided that when I got to my safe place, I’d write each one down. I did. I also decided that no matter where I’m at in the process I would say to each one, “that was yesterday.”
What are you going to say to the unpleasant childhood memories? Are you going to continue to live in the past or view them from the present with no toxic emotional attachment? Are you going to forgive all parties involved and that does include yourself? Are you going to finally accept you did what you thought was best at the moment, and the belief or behavior you used to protect you no longer serves you? Or are you going to allow yourself to finally say, “that was yesterday?”