What does it mean to leave the past behind?
The past is such an interesting concept to talk about. Is the past really in the past? So many of us think that the past is behind us; it is simply a memory. We must begin to understand that the past is alive, it lives inside us. It is a practice to leave the past behind. We must actively choose to let it go and design a future we want instead of living by default. Until that process occurs at some level, we will always suffer.
Each person’s past carries many memories. These range from painful to joyful. They include automated routines and habits, and may involve living based on how our parents, family, schoolteachers, and other influences, lived. To leave the past behind and work towards a clear and fruitful future, we must start to understand that all we have is right here, right now, this present moment.
From this present moment, you have an opportunity to shift your future as you input new information into your brain. With hope, your present moment and future will improve. Before reading this, you were operating out of your past habits, only what you knew how to do, to get a specific future result. My goal for you is to recognize that every present moment is shaping your future based upon your previous knowledge, habits, and memories until you begin to actively change this.
Three Steps to Leave the Past Behind and Move into the Present
Step one: Become focused on your thoughts and communication in the present moment.
I know this is a BIG concept. This took me some time to grasp, to understand. The first step in leaving the past behind is to become hyper-focused on the present moment. Cultivate a moment-to-moment habit to become the curious observer of your thoughts and the language you are communicating.
You would be surprised by how much you reflect upon or bring up past drama instead of past joy. You would be shocked at how often you refer to problems in the past. “Well, this is how it was always done even though it takes forever, and I hated doing it.” Or “people are always driving badly.” “People are so selfish, only thinking of themselves.” Or with frustration saying, “I already know how this is going to go.” This is all your past that you are bringing into the present moment to create your future.
You are speaking your past into your future, even if your past isn’t the reality you want.
Step two: Begin to actively choose different thoughts to leave the past behind.
Speak new and different words in the present that will empower you to leave the past behind and align with your chosen future. For example, if you are running late and it is rush hour, instead of saying, “Well, I’m going to be late traffic is always bad;” try saying, “I’m hoping for a miracle, take me on some back roads, and I get there right on time.” If you stop, pause, and read those two sentences out loud right now, you will feel a difference in your body. One of them feels like, “Oh brother,” like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. The other feels good; it fills your body with hope and optimism.
Practice your power of choice. By choosing to speak a world you want instead of a world you are used to, you are beginning and deepening your journey to self-empowerment. Because you know you are choosing to co-create with the Universe, to work towards a clear and fruitful future that you want, you are excited about instead of living life on default.
There is nothing more powerful than getting into a state of knowing that you were the one who created your life exactly how you wanted it, and no one around you stopped you. This habit allows you to leave the past behind. The past no longer hooks you with invisible chains and heavy weights. Instead, your future becomes clear and limitless.
Step three: Set time and space for yourself to daydream your future.
This is essential! Set time aside and have space for yourself, to daydream about your future. Just as you would call a girlfriend, have a phone call with your mind. Sit and watch what thoughts come up in your mind. Notice how quickly you want to move into action to respond to everyone around you to avoid looking at your automated habits, conversations. Notice the moments when you are avoiding yourself creating a future by design instead of the default.
This simple habit of self-avoidance is a destructive habit that keeps us in a state of suffering. Our mind is designed to keep us safe. When our mind cannot see something into the future, it feels unsafe. Then the mind goes into a fight or flight attack mode as if a giant tiger was about to eat us because our mind does not know how to handle the unknown. The mind works in polarities: life or death; safe or unsafe. Tune into the heart. The heart allows emotions to enter our life.
Living into the Unknown: Call on Yourself
The future we want to create and be proud to live will be into the unknown as we want something different from our past. In this time of setting time aside to have a phone call with yourself and your mind, you can begin to make the unknown future you want to be known. So, your mind isn’t afraid of it, yet knows where it is focused on going.
Dream Big: Question Yourself
Here are a few questions to start to ask yourself. While asking yourself these questions, allow your mind to wander, to dream, to imagine the things that seem “too big.”
- What do I want my destiny to look like during this lifetime?
- If I could wake up and my life could look like anything, what would that be?
- What stories from my past am I telling myself that hold me back from the future I desire to live?
- If I could be, do, or have anything in this life, what would that look like in my future?
This process that I’ve shared is something you can intend to return to monthly, weekly, and daily. Eventually, it becomes a moment-to-moment habit. It is important to set aside the time to do this process repeatedly in order for this process to become an automatic habit. You will begin to catch yourself when the past tries to sneak in to create a future you don’t want. You will start to override the past thoughts and habits to align with your desired future and destiny. And then you will watch as the magic unfolds.
This is the same process I’ve used personally. It has empowered me to create a phenomenal lifestyle business in three-and-a-half years. This process has led me to be self-empowered and made me wise beyond my 27 years of life on this earth. I love this process because I am nothing special. Learning to let go of past traumas to bring beauty and wisdom into the future, creating our dream career and life is possible for every one of us.
Support for Your Journey
What is the biggest obstacle to this work? Ourselves. The journey to self-empowerment, releasing the invisible chains of the past weighing all of us down, self-education, and having a telephone call with our mind are practices to move us forward. No one in the world can stop you from doing this except you. I offer a mindset and meditation audio to guide you during this process if you feel called to be guided and led instead of alone on this journey.
I hope this serves.
Colleen Gallagher is an intuitive business and personal development consultant. She has survived childhood cancer, is a global citizen, an advocate for everyone to have an opportunity to live their dreams and an academic who is currently pursuing her Ph.D is Psychology with a focus on Global Leadership and Change. She is an author of multiple books, including her latest release An Uncompromised Life, and the host of The Colleen Gallagher podcast. Her greatest success is seeing her clients fall in love with life by overcoming trauma and life challenges and create a lifestyle career that impacts the world. Colleen empowers leaders and businesses to come to a newfound clarity of their mission, so that they can better understand their gifts while taking calculated action to grow their businesses. Colleen offers these experiences through online courses, in-person retreats, her podcast, books and products. Currently, Colleen resides in Los Angeles, California.