By Linda Scholten
I went to visit my mother on Vancouver Island, had a great time, and now it was time to leave. As the ferry pulled out of the harbor, I faced back toward the Island. It is a beautiful place and I was enjoying the scenery and thinking about what a nice visit we’d had. Then a thought struck me. No matter how beautiful the place, how wonderful the time, how great the people, you can’t move forward too far while you’re looking back. The past is important because that’s where you’ve been, lived, learned, suffered, loved, and has contributed to making you who you are today. It can be fun, therapeutic, or instructive to look back, but it won’t get you where you’re going. To truly move forward, you have to leave the harbor.
I don’t know anything about navigating a boat, so those of you who do, please forgive me if I’m butchering sacred knowledge. I’m milking a metaphor, not teaching navigation. It makes sense to me that there are three important things to know: where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you are. Which is the most important of the three? Depends on your objective. Do you want to live in the past, the present, or the future?
The past is, well, past. I love this quote (author unknown): “When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say.” All clichés aside, the past is all we’ve known. For better or worse, it is the harbor we’re leaving. What or who you knew to succeed there may or may not be helpful where you’re going.
The future beckons or threatens; invites or intimidates; shines a light to move toward or blinds us; welcomes us or scares the crap out of us. It is what we are moving forward to. But you can’t live there either. Great as a place to strive toward, set goals, make plans, imagine, and create. It is not real. Yet. You are not there. Yet. On a journey, you might change your point of destination. You might end up somewhere quite different than where you were headed. By choice, by chance, or by consequence.
Of course where we are now, in the present moment, is where we live. It is where we begin, or begin again. The waters we’re on are the ones we navigate. The waters where you are may be calm or stormy. The present conditions are the ones you live with, despite what they were like yesterday or will be like tomorrow. Blessing or curse? It’s up to you. Will you use the power of choice? Will you experience the moment? Will you live it? Embrace it? Be in it? Or will you squander the present moment with regrets, guilt, or hanging on with longing, to the past? Or will you miss the present moment by wishing, fantasizing, dreading or fearing the future (your imagined future, that is)? Are you fully there to make the choices the present moment requires? Your call. Each and every moment. A new chance, a new opportunity, a new beginning.
Shall I end with the most obvious cliché? Shall I be that corny? <Yes, do it! No, don’t do it! You’ll be glad you did, people will see the humor! No, they’ll think it is unoriginal and obvious. You’ll be sorry! Don’t!> I’m doing it! I’m ending with that corny cliché!
Each and every moment. A new chance, a new opportunity, a new beginning, a new gift. That’s why we call it the present!
Linda Scholten offers personal goal coaching! To discuss coaching or to schedule a complimentary sample session, contact Linda at 360-836-9004 or email her at:Linda.Scholten@AccomplishmentCoaching.com