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“History is what you did; not what you almost did, not what you thought about doing.”

‘Billy Dunne:’  Daisy Jones and the Six ~  Taylor Jenkins Read, author

The above quote jumped off the page of this intriguing novel I just finished reading. 

Wow. No accidents or coincidences, and right on the heels of me spending several weeks reviewing the past year, finding breadcrumbs and clues from the long-ago, and deciding what and how I wish to embrace this new year and passage of time. (see and  for what I am referring to.)

Taylor’s words (put in Billy’s mouth as it were) are another re-Minder to release regrets, gee-I-wish-I-hadn’t’s, and those pesky I-wish-I-had’s. Time to look at personal history:  What I DID do, what I DID say, even what I DID think.  That’s the reality of the history. The rest are time- and thought-wasting mental masturbation. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. 

A majority of humans (from all walks of life) on this planet are mired-down with a comparable scenario:  Example – One of the more ‘trying’ things to do with clients in chemical dependency rehab was to move them beyond the protestations of what they thought about doing, and into the reality of what they did in fact do instead. The missed anniversaries, the missed job opportunities, the ‘things’ they wanted to say yet didn’t, the unbought presents and missed time-with-loved-ones. That’s all the wishful thinking. 

The appearances in court or time in the slammer, the money stolen, the separation/divorce (or even loss of parental rights – regardless of parental role) and family-of-creation disintegration, the ‘resume stains’ of job losses, the needle in the arm (bottle to lips; coke up the nose, pills down the throat). That’s all reality.  History Writ.

{Special Note here:  Please know, I am not castigating, dumping-on, denigrating anyone who has or had an active addiction. Any addiction:  chemical or behavioral.  In fact, the most amazing, courageous, spiritually-centered folks I know are those folks who’s history led them to creating a New Now:  through 12-Step treatment or attending meetings (AA), through RR, through connecting with an empowering house-of-worship or spiritual counselor, through therapy, and even for those who were “scared straight” via incarceration. Yes, and even those rare few who had a metanoia and changed their lives – changed their future histories.  Yea you ~ and yea me for having the privilege of bearing witness!}

Now, an interesting thing about ‘history.’  I am creating it in the Now.  My just-yesterday is History. I am only ‘doomed’ to repeat it, if I choose not to learn from it, understand it, make changes today. Otherwise, here-we-go-again, time immemorial:

  • Quintus Curtius Rufus – 1st-century AD: “History follows a pattern of events that recur in different eras.”
  • Karl Marx – 1852:  “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
  • George Santayana – 1905:  “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
  • Winston Churchill – 1948:   “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
  • Most all humans – past and present:  “Holy hell, I did it again!”

See???!   Here-we-go-again

One last thing, by the way.  Not all History is negative and bummer (or worse!). There are remarkable, brilliant, empowering times in history that have shown bright – globally and personally.  Times and events that bear repeating. Being there, really Being. There. for yourself in times of tribulations. Lending a hand to a complete stranger. Sharing laughter. Holding a hand. Showing up when you said you would. Reading a bedtime story. Resigning from a job and doing so with integrity. Not seeing ethnicity, race, gender ~ simply another human being. Creating a work of art, a piece of music, an apple pie. Casting a vote. Sharing a ride. These are bright markers that light the way for the future.  For Now.  Pay attention to those too!  Hold those rememberings close – as way-show-ers. Create anew. And anew.

So, as you reflect (which I hope you are willing to do), let go of the old-defeating. Embrace the ‘old’-empowering, and one day, even tomorrow or a thousand-tomorrows from now, you will have created a History where you feel most amazing, courageous, and spiritually-centered. Your world will thank you.

Namaste’    Lin