Processing our Past


*These are excerpts of thoughts/notes developed while preparing for my next class session*

I am very reflective by nature. I often think of choices made throughout the day and how I could have chosen better. I think through how I am feeling in order to process these emotions.

For the current course I am teaching I have asked students to write a weekly blog in which they are to process what they are learning in light of their world. I am asking them to reflect, process and respond.

What I notice is that people will go years without doing this. Many aren’t even sure how to do any of those actions. We carry around pain and fears (all sorts of baggage really) from our past. Some of us are so wounded by a previous time that we rather not talk about it. It is “better” to assume we have moved on and not think of it again.

However the past can be quite powerful if we let it. If we don’t learn how to reflect upon our past it will continue to grow deep roots that poison us. When I use the term reflect I am referring to intentionally thinking deeply about an event or time. Now I understand this may be painful. There are moments we’d rather not go back to. However in order to move forward one cannot allow the past to permanently make a home that causes our present actions to be stifled.

Reflection on its own isn’t enough. When thinking about challenging times one must process all the emotions that come with it. Even when we think about good times that have ended we need to be able to identify how we once felt. Accurately being able to acknowledge the myriad of emotions generated is key to moving forward.

It is ok to feel. It is ok to be vulnerable.

Finally, I discuss one’s response. We all have one. We all respond in some shape or form. For those who run that is a response. For those who fight yet another response. For those who shut down… well you get it.

What would it look like to choose differently? What would it look like to actively choose a different response than the one which may have caused further disconnection?

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