I cannot stress enough how efficacious it is to look back at where you’ve been and where you’ve come from.  Not just as a life review, but in regular life as well. This was pointed out to me by my sister who spent a decade as a forester.  We are visual beings who record in our mind what the world is like by what we see.  If you only look ahead you will only see one side of things from one perspective and when you turn around to get back, you’ll be completely lost because everything will look different and you will have no markers to judge where the #(@^%*$^ you are.  So periodically look back to get your bearings.  I found this particularly helpful when we went to visit a relative in a large hospital complex.  I kept turning to look back at where we’d been and so was able to navigate us out of the rat warren…ahem….hospital complex with speed and ease when it came time to get home.

So in real life, we shouldn’t wait for dramatic events or melancholy moments to look back at what’s happened, we should do it periodically just to keep our bearings.  And we should keep in mind that what we see is not ‘THE TRUTH’ but a perspective on the landmarks we are looking at, see from one particular moment in time being influenced by everything else that is happening to us and for us in this now.  The next time you look back those landmarks will look different and again the next time, and so on and so on because you get distance on them and they relate to more things that are now in your field of vision.  Doesn’t change that they happened, doesn’t change their factualness, but the meanings for you change as you change and learn and become.

This can be very helpful when asking the ‘why me’ questions of life.  Why did I spend all that time in a religion that couldn’t actually serve me?  Why did I stay with that person for X number of years? Why did I not get what I need in that time that I needed it?  Why was that situation that way and not this other way that would have been much better?  In the moment these situations look one way and are full of emotions and complexities.  As we get distance and look at them we are able to understand better the complexities, the influences, the positives, the negatives, the choices that led one way or another, and see how these situations have prepared us to have better lives down the road.  But if you don’t look back, or you back up and look back at the situation from the old vantage point instead of the new one, you will keep yourself stuck and going over old territory again and again.  It’s ok to see things in a new way.  It’s ok to see how it made you stronger, how you chose to become more independent and self-reliant, how you chose to channel your energies into something that has served you well or will do so now.  It doesn’t lessen the event, it acknowledges that you are now more than you were before.

So take a look back.  What do you see?