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March 31, 2014 / Karen R Adams

‘we didn’t ask you where you’ve been’

me 2004 2I was listening to an Abraham-Hicks CD the other day, and there was a woman who was asking Abraham for some help with an issue she had with caring for her aging mother.  Every time Abraham asked her how she was feeling, she responded by listing what she had done in the past to work on the issue.   Abraham finally interrupted her by saying ‘We didn’t ask you where you’ve been.’

I bump up against this all the time with patients, this need to explain all the possible reasons why they have arrived where they are, and everything they’ve done to fix the problem.  If the process has gone on long enough, they’ve gotten themselves into a right muddle by the time they end up in my clinic.

We live in a culture that has put a pretty high value on explaining where we are, how we feel, how that affects what we do.  We think if we can just excavate all the data of our lives, if we can just understand what brought us here, we will be able fix ourselves, get better, be more fulfilled/healthier/enjoy life more.  But I ask you: how can keeping the past alive help us live in the now?  jacob marleyWe become like Jacob Marley, the ghost from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, hauling the chains of our pasts wherever we go.  The longer we carry on this way, the more things we dig up and add to that chain, the less able we are to enjoy where we are and move from here into our futures.

I know from experience how this way of being can limit us.  I was eight years into therapy before I said – to the therapist, actually – ‘I don’t need to relive this anymore, go over it again, dig any further.  I want to know how to deal with what flashes up.  I’m tired of thinking about this all the time.  It exhausts me.’  That’s when things began to change in my life.

Please don’t get me wrong.  We all experience things that knock our feet out from under us.  When that happens, we want to get back to feeling happy and normal as fast as we possibly can.   Sometimes we can do that ourselves, sometimes we need help.  There are loads of ways for us to regain our balance, including talking about it.  It’s when we get stuck in the mind, when we put more weight on the mind and less on the body and spirit, that we can go on for years and never move forward.  It’s as if we get so attached to our stories, they’ve become so familiar, that we think they define us.  We become them.  Since those stories are of the past, it’s like being perpetually 16 or 25 or whatever.  Our lives become habituated to a way of being that we give no thought to.  All our thoughts are bound up in telling those stories, over and over.  At what point do we decide we are willing to cut those chains and leave all that stuff behind?

And besides, how do we know we aren’t doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, in this now, in this time?  Abraham says ‘you can never get it wrong, and you never get it done’.  Each now leads us to the next, even the now that has held on to those chains, although that now will not appear much different from the previous because, you know, still got those chains.

I’ll end with one more metaphor, thanks to the comic strip ‘Garfield’.  Garfield goes into a pet store, and runs around opening cages, saying ‘Be free!  Be free!’  All the animals stay in their cages, trembling.  So Garfield runs back around, closing the cage doors, saying ‘Be secure!  Be secure!’

See what I mean?

 

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