by Julia Scalise, DN, PhD
Another New Year is at hand. Another major holiday season is past and reflections on times gone by may still be resonating for you. Many people are now lining up ways to improve their health and live better lives on all levels overall as they enter a new year with its new energy and potentials. But sometimes life’s circumstances create snags or obstacles that prevent even the best of intentions.
If you find yourself stuck, feeling as if you are dragging around a “steamer trunk full of issues” versus a “small overnight or carry-on bag of difficulties” as you face another year of not knowing what life will toss your way, here are some tips to sort through how to let go and how to manage what is kept, whether you like it or not. This is the difference between moving on and moving forward.
When I think about the phrase “moving on”, I perceive this as a situation or experience, whether others are involved or it is a solo event, that has had an impact on my life, and from it a lesson has been learned. It involves someone or something that no longer serves a purpose, from which the highest good has already been achieved or the challenge has been thoroughly met and this lesson needs no repeating. It can be on a personal basis or professional one. For instance, if a relationship no longer works and brings you joy, or a career is no longer satisfying, or where you live, work or play falls short in major ways, these are indicators that it is time to move on. In order to do so, 4 tips that can help are:
- Acknowledge who or what no longer serves you or has any potential of further serving you
- Be grateful for what you have received from this person or situation, good or bad, for both profoundly influence your life
- Plan what must be done either emotionally, or physically to be at peace with leaving it behind you
- Act on your plan for moving on. That can be socializing more with people more in alignment with your life’s goals, changing careers, moving your place of residence, furthering your education, or even surrendering an addiction and the circumstances or people that perpetuate it.
You will be amazed at how much better life can be when, if you are able, to “unpack” some of the people or circumstances out of your life that weigh you down.
When I think about the phrase “moving forward”, I perceive this as a situation or experience, from which I cannot “unpack”, as it will never go away or not be a part of my life. These are the events, circumstances, people, or emotions that will reside forever in mind and heart. In addition to my own unique wounds, I hear about overwhelming difficulties all the time from my clients, family, and friends. Some examples are the loss of loved ones, health issues, financial loss, physical and emotional abuse, spiritual brokenness. These are wounds that may one day scar over but will never be gone. The ability and process to move forward often is not easy, more than likely will take more time than a “moving on” situation, and will require more strength and resolve as you carry it for a lifetime in your “overnight bag”. 6 tips that may help are:
- Accept whatever needs accepting in this very moment. If it is something you cannot change or fix or reverse, find a way to accept your current reality.
- Permit all of your emotions to flow- grief, sadness, frustration, anger, forgiveness of self and others, un-forgiveness of self and others, anxiety, worry, fear, but also fond remembrance, sentiment, joy, love, seasons of peace, and hope.
- Allow the full recycling of all the above emotions on an on-going basis throughout your life.
- Resolve to try to rise above your circumstance, any chance you get, whenever you feel you can, with determination and choice to live the best and fullest life possible from this moment on.
- Enlist the support of any person, group, organization, place, discipline, or spiritual practice that understands, empathizes, or brings you a sense of comfort.
- Do your best every day, fully knowing that from day to day, over your lifetime, your best changes.
I believe and have experienced situations and circumstances in my life where I know that “moving on” is more of a sprint, and “moving forward” is the marathon on my journey. One is a bit more finite than the other. But no matter, in your lifetime, chances are you will be faced with reasons to either move on or move forward. Only you know what you want to or can let go. Only you know what you wish to keep or cannot surrender fully. Trust your instincts, be patient with yourself, and be at peace with your decisions, emotions, actions and reactions.
Wishing you health and living your best life.