As we enter a new year, remember we can’t change the past—but we can learn from it.
As we begin a new year, many of us will take a moment to reminisce about the past year. Perhaps we’ll remember a vacation we took, a loved one who died, or a tragedy that struck too close to home. Each January, I look at my prior year’s paper calendar, recalling all the things that got me through another year. In hindsight, most things soften. We can laugh at a misstep, marvel at what we’ve learned, and swear that we won’t ever do “that” again.
While it’s nice to revisit the past, we don’t want to stay there. Both good and bad memories have a tendency to draw us away from the possibilities of today. And though it can be fun to trudge through the mud at times, why would we want to stay there?
Recently, a friend shared this quote, “Never let yesterday fill up today.” It came at the perfect time, as I was wallowing in the past, suffering perceived slights and feeling pretty low. Upon hearing these words, I realized I was missing “today” because I was so busy dwelling in the muck of yesterday.
The truth is, we can’t change the past, we can only learn from it. And what we do remember is filtered through the lens of history and revised through the retelling. I wonder what would happen if the stories we tell—especially the painful ones—were instead spun into valuable life lessons. Imagine if we allowed ourselves a bit of mercy, a small kindness, as we let go of what used to be. How would that change our lives in this new year?
More and more I’m aware that our time here is brief. Feeling guilty or undeserving takes away so much vital energy. Instead of dwelling in the land of past habits and outdated expectations, maybe we ask ourselves, “What is my truth? What brings me joy?
As we begin another year full of possibility, let’s take the lessons we’ve learned, use what we can and disregard the rest. We have a rallying call to live our lives on purpose; to do things that make us happy; to discern what is ours and what is not (emotionally and otherwise); and to sing, smile and love our guts out.
Take a moment to consider what lights up your life. When do you forget the old stories and find yourself fully present? Recently, a friend talked about her cat and her joy was palpable. Another showed me pictures of her granddaughter and beamed. I feel wholly alive when I teach or spend time in nature. What is it for you?
Let’s set an intention to listen to our hearts, acknowledge our passions, and free ourselves from the past. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year, filled with love and light.
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.