I am a work in progress. I did not arrive in this world with a 'best before date'. I didn't arrive with a pre-determined end date at which the dough is proofed, the bread is risen, I'm baked. There's no point in time at which I get to say, I'm finished. Complete. Know everything there is to know. Have done everything I can do to make the creation of me perfect. Though there is a point everyday in being my best me so that I can create my best day yet.
I am a work in progress. As I progress, my life unfolds. The definition of progress infers movement, a steady improvement, an advancement towards a higher state. Sometimes, its hard to see how certain events can be progress. They felt more like falling back. Falling over. Falling in, like a souffle collapsing.
What if I could look at every happening in my life as progress? What if I could take four years nine months of an abusive relationship as forward movement towards my goal of being the best me I can be today so that I can have my best day yet?
Life serves up bowls of cherries. At the centre of each one, there's a pit. That pit can either be garbage, or the possibility of a cherry tree in the yard. Bowl full of cherries. Bowl full of pits. Garden of blossoming cherry trees. It's all in my perspective.
My progress in creating the life of my dreams depends upon how I look at the events that happen along my journey. I meet a man. I don't know who he is. I jump in. I fall into my worst nightmare. I wake up from magical thinking and see the devastation around me. I start to move forward, sifting through the debris to find the truth in what happened to me. The fall didn't kill me. Lying in the muck of what happened would have.
The premise is, I can't always orchestrate the external events in my life to my advantage. In fact, if I am not paying attention, if I do not have a clear idea of who I am, I will be at great risk of becoming who someone else wants me to be. To awaken, to claim my right to be all of me, I garner valuable knowledge from every circumstance in my life and find their value to my journey.
George Santayana wrote, "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Now, I believe progress does consist of change. It's how we retain the past that makes a difference. So many men and women I speak with who have had encounters of the psychopath kind report that they can't forget the past. It haunts them. Shadows their every move. Limits their every interaction. Without exploring themselves, their role in how the past unfolded, without changing their perspective on the events that brought them to today, they are condemned to relive the past again and again in their minds.
I believe the past is important to who I am today. What I do today. Not in its limitations, but rather, in its ability to strip away my tunnel vision, ostrich perspective and magical thinking. The past is not where I live today. Having lived it, however, I live more freely today because the past has taught me, life is precious, every moment counts and I am responsible for how I make each moment count in my life. Being alive, being aware of me, my surroundings, what I do, who I am is critical to living without the shadow of the past haunting me.
I cannot change the past. Just as I could not back then, nor today, change another person. Had I known then, however, what I know now about myself, I would not have accepted the unacceptable as acceptable in my life.
And that's where the value in the past plays a role in the beauty of my life today.
I have progressed. Away from that time when I was like a dandelion puff on the wind. Rootless. Weightless. A piece of fluff blown hither and thither by any gust of wind.
I have taken root. Dug deep into the soils of my life and rooted myself in earthy richness of knowing who I am, what I want, want I need to be free. Freedom is not a rope tied to the past limiting my every footstep. Freedom is being rooted in myself so that I know every footstep I take is fearless because I am rich beyond belief. I have a past that has shown me the depth and richness and vibrancy of me. I have a present that shows me how creative I can be. And, I have a future I cannot see, but know that I can affect by standing true to me, in love with all I am today.
What if I could look at every happening in my life as progress? I can. It's all in my perspective. Do I choose to live in fear that the past will repeat itself? That every man will be a repetition of 'that man'? Or do I choose to use my discernment, my knowledge and my fearlessness, to determine my journey today in freedom?
No man, no thing can give me happiness. It is mine to complete. No man, no thing can complete me. I am complete. Just the way I am. I haven't reached my best before date. Haven't hit the magical date of my end in progress, and so I continue my journey, passionately and fearlessly. Fearlessness is vital. Fearlessness keeps me safe from repeating past mistakes. Because I know that when I turn up for me, in all my beauty, warts and all, I am being the best me I can be today.
All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. (George Bernard Shaw)
Once upon a time, I believed someone else held the secret to my happiness. Once upon a time, I believed I was powerless to change my life, to create the life of my dreams.
Today I know the truth. I've pulled back the blinds, challenged my conceptions and rid myself of censorship. No one else can make my dreams come true. This is my one and only life to fearlessly explore all that I am meant to be. In my progress, sometimes, I trip. Sometimes. I fall. Always, I strive to move with grace and ease into my truth. I am free when I stand in the centre of my 'I' and expand into the moment without fear of being pulled from my own unique place under the sun.
May your day be filled with knowing you are rooted in the most magnificent creation in the world. Who you are in this moment is all that you are meant to be. Who you can be is yet to unfold. Every day is an opportunity to expand and be more than you ever dreamt possible.