"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then..." Alice in Wonderland
Life moves forward. We are constantly being drawn ahead. There's really no stopping this. Yet for many of us we live in the past, looking back, wishing for a time gone.
I do this. For example, in this time of COVID (as I've been calling it), I often think back prior to the shut down and remember our lovely community studio and how great it was to have the freedom to just drop in to a class with no worries of physical distancing, numbers attending, mask wearing, hand hygiene, etc.
While it can be sweet to hold those fond memories, living there too much in thought (and longing for it) causes feelings of discontent.
Adjsuting Alice's revelation to time, we cannot go back to yesterday it was a different time then. Many great gurus have taught us that living is truly in the present moments. One of my favorite books on this is Ekhart Tolle's The Power of Now.
This is our time now. We can (I can) shift my perspective and decide to be here. Deciding to accept where we are allows the space in our consciousness to find new ways of being with more peace and openness to what is. It does not mean I have to be abject or even like the atrocities of say COVID (like lives claimed). It is just a letting go of any idea that I can control that by keeping the past longingly alive, wishing for something gone and therefore missing opportunities to change and grow.
Not only is the time different but I am different. How? Read on...
At the risk of sounding cliche' each day we are new. At least we have the opportunity to seize anew. This is a truth that many of us do not stop to ponder too often. Why? Because we are busy and scheduled. We have daily lives that follow somewhat of a routine (most of us do) and it's always with an eye towards whatever it is we are working towards. For me, I am growing up my children, working to pay bills and for retirement ( of some sort, ha!). You know, right? Almost all of us live life this way. And there is nothing wrong with this. One might even argue it's just necessary. It's the way of our western civilization life.
So what is Alice saying when she says she can't go back to yesterday because she was a different person then? I think she means what she has learned in a present expereince has changed her such that she cannot approach her life as she did in the past (yesterday).
Speaking for myself, which is only who I can speak for, it means reflecting briefly each morning what my thoughts, feelings and actions were yesterday. These may be about anything like hot topics of lives that matter, the election, to what I chose to wear to a certain engagement or a conversation I had with a loved one. Then I ask myself what did I learn, if anything, that caused or even would allow for a shift in my understanding or perspective? that then would make me different today than I was yesterday? Sometimes I think I find nothing. But usually looking more closely I remember I heard something someone said or I investigated a topic more closely and this then introduced a difference or more of an openness in my way of thinking. If I hold too tightly to ideas or theories etc. I become clothed in a story line that I identify with and it becomes rigid, itchy and unmoveable. It will disallow change if I let it, causing stagnation and ultimately a form of death.
Alice learned things, she saw and heard different things on her trip down the rabbit hole..hehe! She decided, upon reflection, what she learned changed her. I feel in real life we can grasp these opportunities too and if we do we become more compassionate and understanding. We can also though choose to stay rigid, unthinking or choose no self-reflection but this is certainly a less vibrant way to live perhaps even stagnant.
Contrary to what many of us grow up thinking, being able to change our perspective, being able to hear others ideas, being able to stay open when what we believe is challangd by what feels like opposition, being flexible is a strong position. It is not weak.
"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." Agnes De Mille