Past Memories

I woke up Sunday morning, excited to go on my bike ride. I did one last check on the weather and confirmed that it wasn’t predicted to rain until the afternoon. According to my calculations, we would be able to ride at least 60 miles and be back before the downpour.


I threw my bike shorts and shoes in a pile on the floor and walked over to the drawer where I keep my bike shirts.  As the drawer opened, I spied my shirt choices.  There, front and center was my purple bike shirt.  I reached for it, and in the span of a few seconds, I relived all the memories.


You see, my purple bike shirt has some “baggage”.  It’s the shirt that I was wearing at the Cincinnati Ride event, where things didn’t go so well. I ended up flipping my bike and landing on my head. Firsthand, I experienced an exciting rescue squad ride to the University of Cincinnati Emergency room. The end result was some serious road rash and a bruised, dislocated shoulder that haunted me for a good 2-3 months afterward.


While reaching for the shirt, I honestly felt all the feelings that I had on that fateful day. In the span of a few seconds, I felt a myriad of emotions— none of them remotely positive. Quickly, I let go of the shirt. It was as if it was tainted and couldn’t be worn safely again.  I sifted through my shirts, looking for a better one for the trip, one that didn’t make me feel so uneasy. And then my conscious thinking took over.


I stared at the purple shirt and thought things through, pragmatically.  “Why are you afraid to wear that shirt? Do you really think you’ll fall every time you have that shirt on?” I questioned my thinking and came up short. It just didn’t make much sense. My negative thinking and fear was not rooted in reality. There was absolutely no evidence to prove that I would fall off my bike again if I wore that shirt.  In a show of defiance, I grabbed the shirt, yanked it over my head and willed myself to let go of the negative thinking.


I only caught myself thinking about it once during the journey.  As soon as it popped in my head, I forced myself to let it go by redirecting my thinking to something more pleasant. In the end, I had a safe ride and enjoyed myself.


Later, I gave thought to the whole morning incident. Just the sight of my shirt had brought on such intense emotions and almost stopped me in my tracks.  In those few seconds, I could conjure up the sights, sounds, and emotions of the whole experience.


And there you have it.  Simmering just beneath the surface are many memories of your past experiences, some good and some not so good. Some of those painful memories are so intense that you may lose sight of the fact that it’s part of your past and not your present. At times, it sure feels like it’s NOW, the pain is so real.

The point is that you can’t let these memories inhibit your ability to see the truth in your present! Question your fear, take control of the situation and don’t let anything stop you from moving forward into your future.



Letting Go of Baggage

Years ago, I worked at an organization with a good friend.  Throughout the relationship, I had always been supportive of her family and her career. Since my company had identified her to move up in the organization, my boss included her in a meeting to discuss my yearly review.  I didn’t see this as any threat and had no problem with the decision to include her.  Frankly, no one knew my work better.


However, I hadn’t been in the meeting for even five minutes before I began to sense a shift in her behavior.  When the supervisor made some false accusations toward me, my eyes immediately searched my friend. I expected her support— what I got was more accusations. The two became a tag team of attack while I was left confused, hurt and angry.  All I kept thinking in my head was, “what the heck is happening here”.


Being attacked by my supervisor was disappointing and confusing, but being attacked by my friend was just devastating for me.  I walked out dazed, hurt and angry.  I couldn’t imagine why someone I thought I knew so well would act so out of character.


I’m sure each one of you has been in this same place.  Someone lets you down and hurts you so deeply that you have difficulty dealing with the emotions and letting go of the anger.  Some of you might still be carrying around baggage from years ago.  If so, heed my tips for forgiving and moving on in life.


Identify the feelings and loss in your life

When my incident occurred, I had difficulty articulating my feelings.  I knew I was hurt and angry, but I couldn’t make sense past that thought. As time went on, it became clearer to me what I had lost and why the situation had been so painful.  It was helpful for me to put these thoughts down on paper and talk to close friends about the situation.


Allow yourself time to grieve

This is an important time in the process of forgiveness. Many women feel uncomfortable expressing negative emotions. During this time, allow yourself the opportunity to feel any emotions that seem natural for the situation.  Don’t stuff the emotions down because this will only make it difficult to complete the process of forgiveness.


Try to see the situation outside your own pain

Easier said than done right?  When you’re angry and in pain, you have difficulty seeing anything but what’s happening to you. However, when you get to the point where you can envision what that other person is actually feeling, you will move closer to finding the path to forgiveness.


Look for what the situation has taught you in life

No matter how bad the situation, there’s always a lesson somewhere. What have you learned from the experience? What did you not realize until the situation occurred?  Find some bit of information that helps you gain perspective in life.


Forgive while not expecting anything in return

When you forgive someone, you let go of the idea of revenge and move on.  It doesn’t mean you put yourself in a position that allows that individual to hurt you again— it just means you’ve made a decision in your heart to forgive them for their actions.  YOU decide that you’re tired of holding on to the anger and hurt and their subsequent affect on your quality of life.  Once you forgive and let go, you get to enjoy healthier relationships, less stress and anxiety and greater psychological well-being.


Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to finally unpack that suitcase and deal with some unfinished business.

Birthday Lessons

It’s my birthday tomorrow. Thanks to Facebook, it isn’t a secret that it’s my birthday.  It’s normal protocol for people to ask what you’re doing to celebrate this special day.  I feel obligated to tell them something much more interesting than my reality— I’m going out to dinner with good friends.


Actually, my day stacks up like this: at 8:00, I’ll probably go to the gym and work out for an hour.  By 10:30, I have an appointment to take Biscuit and Joey, my two cats, to the Vet for a check-up.  This in itself should be an exciting experience.  The last time I attempted this trip, deep guttural sounds emanated from the back seat and scared the heck out of me. By 12:00, I have a friend taking me to lunch, and then I have an actual work appointment at 2:00. As you can see, my birthday promises to be one thrilling day.


But guess what? If I truly wanted my day to be any different than that, I would have planned it differently.  Anyway, as I contemplate another year on earth, let me share with you what I’ve learned.


Just when I think I have life all figured out, something happens to prove me wrong.

Somehow I thought that by the time I got to this age, I would have a good handle on everything.  I definitely understand myself better than when I was in my 20’s or 30’s, and what I need in my life to be happy.  However, I’m still pleasantly surprised when I learn something about people or life that I hadn’t encountered yet.  Maybe that’s possible because I leave my heart and mind open to learning.  I’m constantly searching for the answer and I’m always open to seeing another way to look at things.


“Things” matter less to me— my friends and family have become much more important.

My husband gave me a beautiful present for my birthday. I won’t deny that I enjoyed that experience, however, I didn’t need it to be happy.  The card made me happy (I’m totally serious). Being remembered made me happy.  Having both of my sons call me today and sing the whole “Happy Birthday” song definitely made me happy.  Going out to lunch with my good friend made me happy.  When you get to that point in your life, you’re at a very good place.


I no longer live my life with expectations of “how it’s supposed to or should be”.

I didn’t EXPECT a present from my husband.  Actually, I was quite surprised when I saw a box on my desk. That’s what made the present so enjoyable.  I didn’t expect my kids to call me.  I had a pretty good idea that they would remember, they usually do (sometimes with prodding).  However, if one of them had forgotten, I wouldn’t have been upset.  I wouldn’t have wondered why I wasn’t important or why this stuff happens to me.  The only thought in my head would be “I’m sure they’re pretty busy today”— and I would leave it at that.  Once you start expecting things, you become unhappy. You put yourself in a position to be very disappointed.


For the first time in my life, I have absolutely no baggage.

I’m being completely honest here— no baggage. If I asked my family, they would totally agree. I’m referring to all that unresolved relationship and experience stuff that you carry around.  Letting go of your baggage takes dedication and hard work, but it’s more than worth it. For the first time, you will experience a feeling of freedom.  I recommend it for anyone that’s struggling with moving forward in her life.


I look forward to sharing my “revelations” about life next year at this same time.