Why I think only very few of us live in the present

When we carry unresolved trauma (and we all have been traumatized to some degree or another), our past rules our thoughts, our dreams, our behaviors, our addictions, our choices, our beLIEfs, and our health. One thing that brings us all together is that we are living in the past while not being conscious of it. What separates us is that we are all at different stages in our healing process or different stages of being controlled by the past. These (healing stages) are the “levels of consciousness” described by eastern philosophers. The less healed we are, the more driven by the past we are and the less conscious/present and whole we are. This does not make us “bad”; it makes us HUMAN.

The past is not over.

“Un-discharged toxic energy does not go away. It persists in the body and often forces the formation of a wide variety of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, unexplained anger, and physical symptoms from heart trouble to asthma. (Levine and Frederick, Waking the Tiger, p. 20) Feeling that can find no means of expression are jammed into our bodies and left to scream inside and torment us in ways we do not understand until we find a way to examine, understand, and finally release the psychic pressure. This process begins by understanding the connection between the original trauma and the resulting long-term effects.” –Marilyn Van Derbur

If we want to truly live in the present, we need to do the work of healing. When we don’t get in the way of our own process (and almost all the time we might), our bodies involuntarily go back to the past to feel and express what the traumatized aspect of ourselves did not have a chance to. We do this through emotional and somatic release. Once we are done, we are no longer driven by our past. An unhealed person might swear they aren’t controlled by their past, but part of being imprisoned by our past is not having the awareness that we are. I think it takes lifetimes to heal and this is what I would call, “the soul’s journey”. We are learning who we are. While there are lots of “growing pains” as part of this process, out the other end is sweet liberation so incredible and joyous that we cannot even begin to comprehend what that might feel like until we are in the throes of recovery.

We need not put the cart before the horse because that is not even possible. Living authentically in the present, authentic forgiveness, authentic positive thinking, authentic unconditional love, being fully alive, disidentification with the ego, etc. are all GIFTS we need to work for with our blood, sweat, tears and determination. They don’t come for free.

The inconvenient truth, from what I have learned on my own journey, is that to live in the present, we must first return to the past, and again, it’s an automatic process you cannot control. I have learned this from my own process. The Universe/God/Divinity/Source (whatever you want to call it) has this in place so we cannot escape doing the work of healing!

“During this time of recovery, I wasn’t remembering the memories and feelings, I was LIVING them. When memories and feelings are split off and stuffed deeply within the body, it is necessary to disgorge them and feel them as if they are happening in real time. This was not a voluntary decision. When the memories are triggered by a child’s age, a medical procedure, a sexual experience, sound or smell, the memories and feelings are instantly felt and no amount of willing them away or decision to “just get over it” will work” –Marilyn Van Derbur


In the meantime, can we not just enjoy the messiness of being human? Living in the past has a bad rap! It’s all perspective….and the messiness can be beautiful.

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