We’re taught that progress is the point, that going forward is good, that backwards is bad, and that we should always keep moving.  Then we get stuck and can’t seem to go forwards, can’t seem to fix what’s wrong, can’t move in the direction we want to be going and everything seems to fall apart.  Sometimes that’s because we’re not dealing with the one thing that is right in front of us that needs attention, sometimes it’s because we’re misunderstanding the goal, sometimes we just need to stop doing and stand there.  And sometimes it’s because backwards is actually where we need to go.

Backwards isn’t bad at all, it’s just a direction.  Back there are all the events that we have gone through to get here including all the times we’ve made assumptions about the world, about ourselves, and about how we work in the world.  I highlight assumptions because they are one of the more common reasons why we need to go backwards to get forward motion in our lives.  We make assumptions about situations then project those forward to see possible outcomes in order to make decisions about what actions to take or not take in the now.  This is a fantastic skill, but if the assumptions we make are incorrect, we make decisions that don’t meet our needs, get ourselves into situations that don’t head in the right direction, get stuck.

That’s not a flaw, it’s a part of the magic of being alive.  Our minds tend towards being creatively limited, but life isn’t and one of the ways we can broaden our horizons is to head in the wrong direction, take a detour, get lost, and then find our way back.  Some of the best adventures ever had happened because the person thought they were going the right way and ended up other than where they planned to be. But once the adventure is done, it’s time to get back on track which means looking backward to see where you went wrong.  The hardest thing to look back on is ourselves.  Our assumptions about who we are, why we are the way we are, and about how much of that can or needs to change.  If there is one thing we get very heavily invested in, it’s our identity, but if the identity we’ve created includes assumptions that are untrue, then we need to backup, remove the assumptions and take a fresh look at things.

Taking one or two or one hundred steps back can be the best way to more forward into a whole new life.