Imagine Better Future

Can You Imagine a Better Future Than Your Past or Your Present?

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

Why You Need Something to Grab Onto

Holding on is believing that there's only a past;
letting go is knowing that there's a future.
Daphne Rose Kingma
What's the missing piece in advice to let go of your painful past.  The missing piece is why you need an imaginative vision of a better future to let go of your past. (The following excerpt is from Stress Relief That Works.)
Holding On and Letting Go

Stress and Your Future

The words of Daphne Rose Kingma identify the missing piece in so many simplistic admonitions to "just let go."

Think of the adventure stories when an Indiana Jones-type hero tries to escape a horde of spear-carrying natives running behind him. Suddenly he comes to a deep, narrow crevice between two high cliffs. He has to get across the crevice to escape the natives. How does he get to the other side? He grabs hold of a conveniently located vine hanging down the face of the cliff. He swings across the deep rift in the rocks but the vine isn't long enough to get him to the other side. The vine swings him back to the edge of the crevice.

He hears the yelling of the natives close behind him. Then he sees a spindly tree growing out of the cliff on the other side of the crevice. A branch of the tree stretches part way across the deep gap between the cliffs. He grips the vine and swings across the crevice one more time. He grabs the branch and he lets go of the vine. The scraggly tree sags from his weight. It's pulling out of the rock cliff! Will it hold as he pulls himself along the branch to get to the top of the cliff? It does! He stands safely on the cliff. Just then, the angry natives arrive on the opposite side of the cliff. The first one grabs a vine to swing across. Our hero pushes the tree into the deep crevasse. The natives cannot follow him. He has escaped.

How many times have you seen something like this in adventure movies, comic books, and cartoons? The hero gets where he wants to go by letting go of one thing and grabbing hold of something else.

Let's change the story a bit. Our hero is on one side of the cliff. The spear-carrying natives are close behind. On the opposite cliff, the hero's mentors, teachers, family, and friends stand watching. He grabs hold of the vine and makes his first effort to swing across. The vine isn't long enough to reach to the other side. The vine swings him back to where he was.

He stands on the side of the cliff, not knowing what to do. Then his mentors, teachers, and friends take on the role of a Greek chorus as they chant, "let go, let go, let go, let go, let go." He grabs the vine. He leaps forward. Halfway across, he lets go of the vine. He falls to his certain death. End of story

Something to Grab Onto

This is the missing piece in simplistic admonitions to "let go." If you let go, what do you grab onto? The fear of letting go is related to a fear of falling, a fear that's typical of most humans and mammals. Letting go of the past isn't literally equivalent to falling off a cliff. However letting go of the past is metaphorically equivalent to falling off a cliff.

Whether you take it literally or metaphorically, "just let go" isn't enough to free yourself from whatever is holding you back. You need something to grab onto. In Daphne Rose Kingma's words,"Letting go is knowing that there's a future." The essential element needed for letting go of the grip of trauma over you is to have a vision of a better future.

"Just let go" has no vision of your future. Vision is when you see beyond your current circumstances to imagine a life shaped by love rather than fear, peacefulness rather than stress, wholeness rather than fragmentation. This vision is essential to overcoming your resistance to letting go of the fears and beliefs that bind you to your past.

[Original Post October 22, 2015]

If you are feeling stressed-out and want to read the whole book, Stress Relief That Works: How To Think Your Way from Stressed-Out to Peaceful   is available on Amazon in either Kindle or paperback versions. Click Buy Now From Amazon to get your copy right away!

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