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

Where we get into trouble is giving up our freedom to make new choices based upon the present. Every day is new, no matter how you slice it. The sun comes up in spite of our mistakes or the despair we must face. But we are meant to continually move forward. Getting stuck in the past holds us behind, as prisoners within an incredible universe of opportunity. True empowerment stems from living now, not reacting to now from a mindset of the past or living with worry about what might happen tomorrow, next month, or next year. What can we do every day, no matter what has happened to in the past, to begin painting a positive life on a fresh, new canvas?

Classify the Past

The past is a collection of our emotions, experiences, and thought patterns as a result of living life. As adults, when we feel an emotion, it’s often based upon past experience. Life events trigger our emotional collection, and we interpret our current experiences through this lens. The problem is the value we take away from the past. When we allow only the good to shine through, we are able to live in the present. When we worry about the future, or agonize over the past, we are not fully engaged in life. The trick is to stay focused on your capabilities to address the present. View your past as a wonderful, robust course in life and stop agonizing over your mistakes or what someone said.

Examine Emotional Carryover

Changing a negative outlook takes a bit of discipline because you have to deeply resonate with the idea of what you want in the present moment, and accept it as already happening. When you attune to an idea, goal, or state of mind, you want to attract it now, not in the future. It takes a lot of self-reflection.

Do some simple mental housecleaning to discover if what you are feeling now is being embroidered upon by the past. If you’re discouraged, shift your thinking to the “today” setting and stop dredging up all sorts of feelings from the last twenty years – about your parents, jobs that no longer matter, or even people who let you down. Release those people and circumstances and be free. If you carry so much heaviness, you’ll never get out from under water. The past is over. Do yourself a favor and lighten your load – buoyancy guaranteed!

Be Inspired by Everyone

Life has many meanings but often we’ve got the definition backwards. As an exchange with others, life isn’t all about taking it in. It’s mostly about what you give out. This I know to be true, based upon my observations of many people who are critically ill yet have fantastic attitudes about sharing themselves with others.

If you visit a pediatric cancer ward, you will see children who are physically challenged beyond words but are still an inspiration to everyone around them. Despite their prognosis, their light shines bright with hope because they are living one day at a time. They seem illuminated and, thankfully, keep the rest of us going. Quite frankly, they are among the most inspirational people we have on earth, because they make everyone stop and think, “If life can be good despite those circumstances, then why am I holding myself back?” I believe part of their purpose is to give the rest of us a wake-up call to change our outlook. And if we find ourselves in the same boat, we too can keep everyone else going strong while we test our own abilities to stay in the present moment.

Release Fear and Self-Doubt

I think we are often fearful of believing we can have anything we want. When we look at the world, we see so much lack, unhappiness, war, starvation, pain, struggle, limitation. We begin to believe in it, and then we give those ideas power. With the number of people we see every day immersed in those conditions, it seems nearly impossible to trust that the normal human experience can be one of abundance, joy, peace, fulfillment, health, and ease. We’ve been told since childhood that “nothing’s perfect.” Nothing is worse than this type of programming, because we’re never going to realize our full human potential until we release our former ideas of what is possible. Life is a beautiful, perfect, glorious miracle. We choose our situations, our families, our painful experiences in order to evolve.

As we observe the full range of everything from despair to triumph, we see the huge opportunity that exists to make change. Despair challenges our perception of what can be. With fear and self-doubt in our toolkit, our capability to produce change is diminished. In the big picture, life is perfect because it is giving us room to grow. A little bad weather makes us sturdier. We need the rain, and even a cold winter solidifies us, making us more receptive to spring. But, sure as anything, we are going to grow despite our circumstances. There should be no fear of growth. We should be proud of surviving, overcoming, beating the odds, not living in fear of more to come, and especially proud of not dragging ourselves down, together with those around us, with emotions like fear and self-doubt that do nothing but keep us in the dark.

Consciously Create Your Day

Over the years, I have experimented with ways to release the past and move forward, living life in the present moment. I’ve noticed that when I start my day without any clear direction of how I choose to think, I don’t get the results I want. I used to spend years regurgitating old problems. Without establishing my expectations of the universe as to how I desired my day to unfold, I discovered I would replay those same issues over and over again. So I began to make a supreme effort to move disappointments, loss, and feelings of non-success farther from my mind each day.

Now, before I get up in the morning, I lie in bed for a few minutes and create my day by using a series of affirmative statements that are designed to do three things: they are positive, present-moment statements about what is, not what will be; they address some element of my life that needs improvement; and they get me to completely identify with the power within to manifest my circumstances. To manifest means to bring into our immediate experience, and make that which is created by the mind into a tangible or observable reality. The power is derived from spirit, or the Divine, which pervades every inch of the universe. To achieve this goal, I say my affirmative statements with love, grateful to be alive and to have my chosen learning opportunities. Then I focus on being open to positive change.

I also visualize life being unfolded to me in creative ways and ask the universe to show me its perfection in ways I would not expect. I make a point of saying this because I think we can better understand the co-creative relationship we have with spirit when we release overly specific intentions and let the power of our own thoughts return to us in ways that give us feedback on our desires. When mentally creating my day in the morning, I’ve had new people walk off the street and become my employees because I saw a need in our organization. Abundance has arrived in the form of revenue streams I did not expect. When I see myself as a co-creator of the universe each day, I’ve attracted great results.

Remember, when you release the past, consciously create your day, and have the mental discipline to think positive, you’ll see results. Through constant awareness (aligning with powerful and positive ideas) you’ll begin to see a difference. A big part of conscious awareness and living in the present moment is about being open to the feedback the environment is providing. Be open to positive change and deeply love life. Be perceptive and positive!

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

Want to learn more? Charlene is the Positive Thinking Expert for and packs a powerful, practical punch in all her articles! Visit her at for great advice on how to remain positive in today’s world! Her books are available for purchase at major retailers, at, and

For a more complete definition on positive thinking, see The Evolution of Positive Thinking: Views from Science, Spirituality, Psychology and Hollywood by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.

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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