Which Way Are You Looking?

Two Zen monks were on a journey when they came to a riverbed. At the edge of the river was an elderly woman who was unable to cross the river by herself.  The older monk put her on his shoulders and across the river they all went.  On the other side, the monk put her down and she went on her way and the monks their way.  Several miles later the older monk noticed that the younger monk was obviously troubled by something and so he asked him about it. The younger monk stated that according to the tenets of their beliefs, they were not permitted to touch women and yet the elder monk had carried the old woman across the river.  The younger monk could not let it go and was angry and upset for several hours.  To this, the elder monk replied. “I left the woman at the riverside. Why are you still carrying her with you?”

Don’t stumble over something behind you.  In other words, don’t keep thinking about your past.  What happened, happened. Learn from mistakes and obstacles and move on.  As long as we put our failures behind us, it’s possible to overcome anything.  We all tend to carry lessons from the past (if we’re smart), which is a good thing. That’s how we learn and grow but if past mistakes or hurts weigh us down, we lose the opportunity to live our best life. Remember when you first learned to ride a bike?  What if you failed to try again after your first fall?  Our struggles are part of our story but they are never to be used as excuses to not try again.  Moving on is crucial but some people remain stuck and lose a lot of time and life because they over-think their past.  That time has gone and it will never return. It won’t be easy but forgetting what lies behind is one of the best things we can ever do for ourselves.  It won’t be easy – not at all, but it will be well worth it.  Every failure and success is an opportunity to learn something new and to not repeat the old mistakes.  Use the good things you learned to make you feel better and you can use the bad memories as a lesson in case you ever have the urge to commit the same mistake again in life.

Don’t look back you are not going that way.  Life is meant to be understood backwards but lived forward.  Everyone has a past that was probably unmanageable at some point in their life.  Regret is the worst human emotion since there is absolutely nothing we can do to change history.  Let bygones be bygones.  It’s time to focus on the present and commit to a brighter future.  It’s time to release the burden of the past and seize today’s opportunity.  Stumbling over what’s behind you is not productive.  The road that lies ahead of you leads to your future that is full of possibilities.  There will always be missteps, times we wish we could go back and start over or change what happened but when we can’t, we must face forward and skip over the stones that appear in our path.  Learn from the past but embrace your future.  Courage means that you won’t let fear stop you. If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future.  Live for what today has to offer and not what yesterday took away.  There is far too much life yet to be lived.