Taking It All In
Sometimes reflecting back on your life does have its purposes. I know its important to reach forward while also living in the present, however every now and then I take a journey back in time. Its not about ruminating in the past – that’s a very different thing. What I am talking about is taking stock and looking at how far I have come, and how far I have left to go. When I take everything in that has brought me to this point, I find strength, clarity, and most of all, peace.
We are two years into a global pandemic that has both changed the world and left much the same. The inequity experienced by people with disabilities, women, marginalized individuals, and so many others has been thrown into our faces and yet I see no political or social will to make the changes necessary to stop it. You may be asking what this has to do with my comments about reflecting on the past and I can answer that. Change doesn’t happen over night and learning from history takes time and patience, as well as trial and error. Taking all that in has been one of the hardest and joyous lessons in my life.
I often pour over my old diaries in order to reflect on the healing journey I’ve taken. I cannot tell you how many times I noted a giant “epiphany” or a “life changing moment”, only to read another entry months or years later that showed nothing had really changed, or had changed very little. What I do notice is that every one of those key moments was a building block. Nothing got better overnight and no amount of epiphanies could make that kind of magic happen. Very often the lessons learned didn’t actually kick in for a long time and that was probably the most frustrating thing, however I have learned that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know now that I only found the lesson when I was finally in a place where I could not just embrace it, but also integrate it into my healing.
We all climb metaphorical mountains in our lifetime. We take small steps and big steps. We slide down and get back up again. The world tells us to keep looking up as we reach for the top, but I say that we also need to stop and rest once and awhile and look back down. Sure, we may get a little dizzy but that’s okay. And those bumps and bruises we experience along the journey are painful, but they are also necessary. Everything heals eventually and although scars can be left behind, they are only there to tell us where we have been; not to dictate where we are going.
Let’s be grateful for what has transpired, how far we have come, and all we have learned. When I stop and take it all in, I see both the paths behind me and those yet to come. I see how history took the only course it could and that learning from the past had to happen when the time was right, not just because I wanted it to. I understand it’s hard to be hopeful with so many painful things going on around us right now. But I have to believe that we will find lessons in the times ahead. At the very least, I know that I will as an individual and keep taking steps to help make this world a better place.