How to Free Yourself From the Past
What do you play on repeat?
What pattern do you continually enact?
What script do you subscribe to?
What stories do you let control you?
Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all play parts in stories that keeps us from living as freely as deep down we know we truly are. We all have our autopilots. What are yours?
Are they the stories you’ve collected throughout your lifetime? Created in the moments when you were disappointed, rejected? Fears formulated from all of the times that you failed or got hurt? Echoes of traumas as small as not being picked on the playground or as massive as being abused?
Maybe you carry the stories of your parents. The karma you inherited, that your parents inherited, that their parents inherited, that your ancestors inherited. The limiting beliefs they put on you. The examples they did or didn’t set. The ways that they passed on their physical, emotional, pain. The stories you inherited through cellular memory.
And what about our collective programming? The stories of our community. Our culture. Our humanity. Our world. The story that assigns you a role based on the country where you were born, the color of your skin, your sexual anatomy, the material things you do or don’t have.
The story of the Western world. Where we go to school, become good little boys and girls, don’t get into trouble, get good grades, go to university, meet another nice little boy or girl, get married, buy a house, work for a corporation with a good healthcare package. Have you ever tried to fit into that story?
How do you feel about our present story as humans? The story where we are the destroyers of the Earth. The ones consuming every resource. The ones on their way to extinction, bringing the planet with us on our way down.
What role in all of these stories, do you play?
In this cosmic dance where each of us is playing a particular role, are we forever bound to repeating these cycles again, and again, and again? Generation, after generation, after generation? Will the story ever end?
And also no.
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Bring all of your attention to your body.
The feeling of aliveness.
Let your breath deepen.
Feel it soothe you, soften you, surrender you.
No story lives there.
In that place, of pure presence, with your body, with your breath, you are bound by nothing. There is no such thing as the past. You are free.
And you can get there in any moment.
Because you are it.
You are the light that glows beyond the story.
You are the God who witnesses the story.
You are the heart loving every beating heart that suffers while living within the stories.
You are eternity.
Perfect effortless beauty.
You are the pure white lotus that can blossom in any pile of shit.
If you practice meditation, whether it’s through yoga or dance or tantra or ceremony or millions of other practices that bring us all back to the same place, you know what I mean. You know how it feels to be free from any story of the past or projection of the future. You know how it feels to be.
Yet, there is a difference between tasting that nectar, and really believing it.
There is a difference between knowing the truth, and really living it.
So, how do we bridge this gap between our humanness, bound to the stories of our people and our past, and our consciousness, endlessly expansive free as all that ever is? And more practically, how do we break the program and start living more authentically, more in alignment with our highest selves, NOW?
We find the gateways.
As a woman who has dedicated her life to accessing freedom in all of its forms, I’ve forged my way through forests of my own subconscious, lost myself down dark holes, and discovered true, grounded, practical, pathways for integrating the freedom our consciousness knows at its highest level, in our minds on our most human level.
I’m so grateful to share those gateways with you now.
Let me first say… this path is not linear. One gateway doesn’t necessarily lead to the next. The road will twist and wind and take you wherever you most need to go. And frankly, it can disappear in a moment and it can never end. The layers of conditioning are not something you’ll ever get to the bottom of, and you can dissolve them all in an instant.
Take the journey not with a destination in mind, but as an explorer. An adventurer wandering the majestic landscape of your very being. This is simply one way of becoming and unbecoming all that you are, and all that you never were. Enjoy.
This is an obvious one.
To heal at the level of the conscious mind, we must have an awareness of what’s limiting us. The mind likes clarity, detail, and understanding. So it needs to understand and to witness the story in order to move forward.
Miraculously, simply by seeing the story or the memory for what it is, we draw it out of ourselves. We no longer identify with it. We can recognize it as an external force that has influenced our lives, rather than a piece of ourselves that we will forever be. We become empowered with the ability to choose another way. That’s when conscious action can take place.
On my own journey, I’ve had many profound realizations about where my habitual behaviors came from. Many have arisen from the simple practice of journaling my feelings and inquiring, “Why do I think this way? Why do I have this belief?”
Try it on for size next time you see yourself in a same-old-cycle that you feel trapped in. Why do you think this way? Why do you act this way? Why do you attract this experience? What is your lesson? What is your evolution?
When we become increasingly aware of our patterns and the old memories and stories that bind us, we may also begin to cast blame on others. We can easily justify blaming our parents, our past lovers, and even society as a whole.
But frankly, blame doesn’t get us anywhere. It places us in the role of victims, relinquishes our power, and fosters resentment that closes us at the heart. Blame is completely understandable, but it does anything but heal.
To shift out of the victim role and reclaim our power, we take responsibility.
I discovered this about a year ago during a three-week intensive personal development course I took in Guatemala. My intention throughout the journey was to manifest full empowerment. Our last week together, I finally understood what that meant.
For years I felt completely stuck in this story that I’d never fall for a man who was romantically available. I believed that they would all end up having girlfriends (which some of them did), I’d be too intense for them (I often was), or for one reason or another they wouldn’t be able to return my love… because I thought I must be unlovable. I felt like an absolute victim, powerless to have the kind of relationship I so deeply yearned for.
It’s the reason I signed up for the personal development course. I wanted to heal my love story. What I realized in the course was that to do so I had to take responsibility for my part in the love story. Not just blame my exes and my father and heal that trauma through role-playing. I needed to take responsibility.
So, I stood up in the center of our circle, surrounded by 17 men and women, including a man who I had feelings for and felt rejected by, and claimed responsibility. I acknowledged that I’ve chosen men, time and time again, knowing that they couldn’t give me what I needed. I knew, but I went for it anyway. In every circumstance I betrayed my intuition and myself. Admitting that, I finally felt powerful in a story where I had once felt defeated.
If you feel bound to a story ask yourself, “How am I responsible? What role have I played? What do I have the power to shift?”
Be very, very gentle with yourself in this practice. A common tendency is to go into self-blame mode, and punish yourself, which you certainly don’t deserve. You are not to blame for any hurt or hardship you have endured. Especially if your story comes from childhood, when you certainly weren’t responsible. Sometimes taking responsibility is simply acknowledging your own innocence and focusing on what you can do to love yourself more fully in this very moment.
Claiming responsibility gives us the power to make change. But sometimes we can work and work and work to change things… and feel frustrated that the story still persists.
We come from a culture that is so obsessed with fixing things, but what if there isn’t actually anything wrong? What if everything is perfect? What if this story is here to help us? To teach us something? What if nothing needs to change?
Over the years I had done many things to try to change the love story I felt bound to. Particularly with my attachment to a Costa Rican man who this cycle began with. I thought I had literally tried everything to get over him over the years, and even doing an intensive personal development course didn’t shake him out of my system. Finally, I left Costa Rica as my last resort to move on.
I ended up in Thailand, in a dance meditation facilitator training, where I realized I couldn’t escape this story even by leaving it physically behind. As I danced daily with my eyes closed, there he was. He came into every dance, and even manifested in another form as a man in my course I was attracted to.
At first, this really frustrated me. Though as I surrendered to the experience and allowed him to crack my heart open dance after dance, I eventually arrived at the gateway of pure acceptance. For the first time, ever, I didn’t need to change anything. If I never found another lover, that would be ok. If I was alone forever, that would be ok. If I never got over this man, that would be ok. There was nothing I needed to do, nothing I needed to fix, things were actually perfect exactly as they were.
Then, I finally let him go.
Because I finally gave myself permission not to have to.
Acceptance gives us the space to acknowledge the attachment we have to the story, to allow ourselves to be bound to it, to not need to change anything. And when we feel completely seen and accepted by ourselves, that’s usually when we feel safe enough to let go.
In the place of acceptance, gratitude arises naturally. We can witness the ways this story has facilitated our evolution. That it was never holding us back, it was pushing us along. Gratitude reminds us that all is divinely orchestrated, all is acting in our highest good, all is truly here to help us.
Just like my love story. Every heartbreak was simply breaking down the walls that stood between me and the love I was withholding from myself. Every unrequited lover was just directing me back home to my own heart. Every moment of pain along the journey was here to teach me how to love.
How can you see that everything that’s happened to you in your life, every story you’ve inherited, witnessed, and lived has been an essential part of your evolution to make you the whole person that you are today?
If it’s hard to see, just ask the question. Keep asking the question. Make it your mantra. “How is this here to help me?” Keep asking and you will begin to see the gift.
True freedom is simply love. And anything standing between you and love can be instantly dissolved with forgiveness. Because forgiveness acknowledges the essence of you really are, the essence of every character you come into contact with, and the essence of life itself: LOVE. Forgiveness restores all innocence, returning us to the truth of all that is.
Maybe you can get on board with that idea, but do you feel it in your body? Do you live it day by day? Forgiveness is often said, sometimes thought, but to truly be experienced and integrated, it must be felt through the heart. It must transform you through the active practice of love.
To cultivate forgiveness on your personal path, I recommend developing a compassionate meditation practice. Two that I personally use include the Hawaiian ritual ho’oponopono and the Buddhist practice of metta. (Read more about both in my post How I Healed a Toxic Relationship Through Meditation.)
Healing through these gateways is the focus of our first month in The Freedom Tribe, an online journey for unconventional free spirits ready to live more openly and authentically. Get all the details here.