How to Propel Forward When Your Past is Dragging You Down
Sharing a way to physically leave the past behind you so mentally you can move forward!
There are so many times in life when we must leave someone or something in the past, whether we truly want to or not, to be able to move forward. I live a privileged life where I had few obstacles to face as an adolescent compared to others; due to this I had never properly discovered how to leave items from my past behind me and instead I continued to allow them to drag me down.
When it came time for college I chose to attend Texas A&M University with many of my friends and the dream to become a veterinarian (yeah, dreams change). A tradition at this school is attending the infamous Fish Camp, a place for freshmen to learn the yells for football games, make new friends, and hopefully take away a few lessons before entering college that others had learned the hard way.
To be quite honest, the first few days of camp I did NOT buy into it. There were rowdy people dancing, the counselors were WAY too excited, and it was hot. I was learning a lot about my future alma mater and making new friends though.
But then on the last night something changed...
My small group leaders (aka DG mom and dad) took us outside late at night under the beautiful stars that can be seen from Palestine. We were each given the task to find a rock or two, then regroup. That night I learned this skill I will be passing onto you today, how to physically leave the past behind you so you can mentally move forward.
My senior year of high school was full of changes, my puppy love boyfriend from sophomore/ junior year and I were no longer friends, my grandma (who was a HUGE part of my everyday life) passed away, and I was preparing to move 4 hours away from home.
So to say the least, I had some fear and sorrow to let go of. These were emotions I did not want to take with me on my new journey and so that night at Fish Camp I wrote down three things to let go of on three rocks.
First, the name of my ex-boyfriend, not because I hated him and not because he didn't deserve the best. I wrote down his name to signify that I could finally let go of the pain that relationship had caused me and I could move into a new one without any guilt.
Second, the name of my hometown. I grew up in a small-ish town where my values did not always match those of the people around me. I grew up in a small-ish town that lacked pride and tradition. I grew up in a small-ish town that had brought me the friends of a lifetime, but it is a town I was ready to outgrow and move beyond. Now don't get me wrong, I think hometowns always hold some sort of value as they made us who we are, but I was ready to move on and not return.
And finally, the third rock held the name of my grandma on one side and a wish on the other. She is not someone I wanted to leave behind me, but I was ready to move past her passing and live my new life in College Station with a beautiful guardian angel.
Then it was time to chunk these babies are far as I could, as hard as I could while my new friends and fellow Aggies did the same. It was incredible to see the tears it brought to some people's faces to finally be allowed to let go. I felt so empowered in that moment that I knew this was a strategy I would continue to use when I felt stuck or held down by circumstances of the past.
So now I'd love for you to give it a try. So what are the four steps?
1. Think of people, experiences, or thoughts you need to leave behind
2. Write them down on a rock (feel free to decorate them or add wishes as desired)
3. Throw the rock into a canyon or body of water, somewhere it cannot be retrieved
4. Celebrate the release from that piece of your past holding you back
There is something so powerful about being able to move on. Maybe it's not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it's about starting over and creating something better. Maybe you aren't trying to leave someone behind, but just the feelings from a situation with them.
If this blog stirred up any emotions you may be holding onto that are simply holding you back please just give this silly method a try. I know I thought it was too symbolic and would never help, but that night I bought into the idea of fish camp and the physical process of letting something go which lead to me mentally being able to do the same.