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As the year 2014 draws to a close, I can’t help but look back over my shoulder to see not only where I’ve been, but how far (hopefully) I’ve come.

A post from We Share Infinite Possibilities was about rewriting the past and it reminded me  that while it is fine to look over my shoulder, it is also good to move forward. (Look for Michelle Spalding’s post at the above link.)

As for Spalding, she is going to have a New Year’s Eve bonfire and burn all the negative entries from her journals, “..to release the struggles from [the] past and the energy the pages hold.” For herself, this is “Paving the way to create the life I truly want.”

To co-create is powerful. Empowering. Energizing. Encouraging. Going beyond the idea or belief or thought that we are indeed creators to the experience of creating changes not only our circumstances, but ourselves. It is only in truly letting go of/accepting the past that we can be released.

How do we let go of or accept the past? Just what does that mean? Acceptance – and even forgiveness – does not equate to condoning someone’s actions against you. Rather, it can be a method not only of releasing your heart from the burden of anguish, but also by changing your perspective. That is not to say a change in perspective makes the misdeed less negative; only that with a renewed perspective one can often manage to see the growth because of – or in spite of – said experience.

As we move further from the experience and focus on the present (or even the future), we see that we have made the choice to move on despite our pasts and the people in it who have hurt us. And with the help of those that have loved (and continue to) us unconditionally.

In recognizing that the past cannot be changed, and by gaining a new perspective – whether it be by the release from a negative journal bonfire or by sharing with a mentor or a spiritual advisor – we are able to let go of yet more of that past pain, or hurt, or sense of injustice.

Putting the past behind us is not equivalent to sweeping it under the rug. If it is not dealt with, it simmers. Dealing with it comes with the advent of the new perspective that can be garnered by reading, writing, talking to a trusted friend or two, and then wholly embracing that this event is no more. (And if the event is continuing or recurring it is time for a change!)

An article on National Public Radio online goes so far to say that, “small tweaks in the interpretation of life events can reap huge benefits.” Reading through it, one sees that the intent is not about lying to oneself, but rather reframing the negative into a positive. The example given is a negative “I’m bad at school” to a positive (or more temporary) “Everyone fails at first.” The study resulted in improvement for those that accepted the assignment and went with the latter instead of sticking to the former.

As we reflect on the past 365 days (give or take), may we take responsibility for our pasts, our presents, and our futures. May we seek within and hear that still, small voice (also known as intuition, God, Source, energy) that guides us through the noise of everyday living. May we strive to turn the negative into at least less negative, if not temporary or even positive.

Feed your soul. And in so doing, experience freedom. Remember that your life is precious. Handle yourself with the love you would give your infant child. And you will see yourself start to thrive.