The time we spend on earth is very short when you consider the scope of the universe. Often, we don’t see the big picture and get lost in the details. What is our purpose in the few years we have? It is to become a living embodiment of spirit while we are here. We must learn to express spirit through our actions, emotions, relationships, and in the work we do, which can be anything from loving our children to being a bank teller. We’re supposed to nurture each other, love the planet that provides us sustenance, evolve our soul in the process, then go home, perhaps to try another version at some later date.

There’s no singular instruction manual for this type of big picture thinking – to a large degree, we make it up as we go along. Remember, being born is like standing at the end of a big river and jumping into an already moving stream of people and events, all colored by the past – the past others have left behind, but mostly the past we create during our stay.

The Past is a Benefit

The past is important because we learn from it. It helps us navigate through our current choices in order to evolve our soul. We’re in soul school the minute we hit the ground until we cross over, coursework made possible by the enriching, and sometime challenging conditions we have chosen. We chart a learning program well before we get here, a structure that includes our parents, our gender, and circumstances that will provide us with the greatest opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, resulting in true-self-empowerment.

Negative Programs Limit Our Present-Day Vision

Where we get into trouble is giving up our freedom to make new choices within that structure based upon the present, especially when we replay old, outdated messages given to us by others that solidify our belief system about who we are. Negative programming results, or the way we automatically approach present day circumstances, with a “can’t do” attitude. Negative programs limit our vision, preventing us from feeling empowered about what we can accomplish in life. Such negative thought patterns from the past deplete our energy reserves – diminishing our ability to make a difference in the lives of others today.

Have any of the following ideas become part of your present experiences?

• You can’t do that, girls just don’t do that

• You have to make me happy, I sacrificed everything for you

• This family comes first, not you

• You don’t deserve to be loved

• I’m poor but good

• The world is a terrible place

• You’ll fail/get hurt/be taken advantage of so don’t try

• I don’t have to apologize because I’m the parent

• You make enough mistakes and you’ll learn how hard life is

I believe we set a mental agenda everyday, and what we see in our world, and our personal lives, is a result of what we think. If you aren’t getting what you want out of life, then you must create a mental discipline that replaces a negative belief system with one of hope, appreciation of the past, and a decisive statement of what you see happening in the present. The present is what matters.

Change Your Outlook

Changing a mental outlook takes discipline. In our culture we are taught to plan for disaster, be prepared, and anticipate what might be coming around the bend. It involves releasing outdated ideas and replacing them with ideas of what you want in the present moment, and accept it as already happening.

How many of you have heard “life is hard, a daily struggle, life is tough.” How about “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything?” I am of the opinion that if you don’t have excellent health, yes, things might be fairly bleak, but there still is an awful lot of life to be had. Life, in terms of our exchange with others, has many meanings but often we’ve got the definition backwards. Life isn’t all about taking it in. It’s mostly about what you give out.

Write a Daily Affirmation to Stay on Track

Write a daily affirmation that encourages you to look inward and unseat old messages. Ask yourself, “What blocks my ability to overcome and mend? Am I fearful of life? Do I always put my needs last because I feel unworthy?” Change your mental outlook into a new assumption for today by saying:

• Each day is an opportunity to give more to humanity

• This unlimited universe gives me room to grown in unlimited ways

• By being who I am, I give to the world with excitement and love

• I become stronger because of the challenges I have faced

• I am worthy because I am my Divine Self

• I no longer need to hold myself back from success and prosperity

• My life is a unique expression of creation
• I love the journey I’m on. I construct my puzzle at my own pace!

Move Forward with Hope and Joy

Remember, everyday is new, no matter how you slice it. The sun comes up in spite of our mistakes or the despair we must face. We are meant to continually move forward! Getting stuck in the past holds us behind, a prisoner within an incredible universe of opportunity. True empowerment stems from living now, not as a reaction to now from the past, or living with worry about what might happen tomorrow, next month, or next year. Everyday, no matter what has happened to you in the past, is a new opportunity to begin painting your life on a fresh, new canvas. Paint with powerful, present moment strokes. A mental outlook centered in “now” allows you to realize more self-power and confidence you’ll need to ride the bumps in life. You can do it!

© The Goddess Network, Inc. and Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D. 2007. All Rights Reserved. See for more empowering thoughts on Gaining Insight from the Past! Register for The E-Show, a series of enlightening lectures!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Charlene M. Proctor is the founder of The Goddess Network, Inc. an on-line educational resource for topics on spirituality, relationships, and women's studies. Author of Let Your Goddess Grow! she is a researcher and educator in the field of women's empowerment and develops self-empowerment strategies for women in all walks of life. She is a subject matter expert for, the world's largest self-help and personal growth website. Her affirmations from The Women's Book of Empowerment reach 2.7 million web visitors daily. She currently facilitates the PATH to Empowerment program for Lighthouse Path in Michigan, a residential women's shelter for homeless mothers, teaching them how to cope with life and increase self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, visit

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