Looking back, moving forward
Regardless of how many structures keep us within the firm boundaries of routine, we are in constant movement, each day and each moment different from the previous one. Our lives move so swiftly that propelling us into the next moment happens without awareness of what has taken place.
Dwelling on the past is not highly recommended, but looking back does have it's benefits. Looking at the day's events, the way in which we reacted to it all and the choices we made can be very beneficial in deepening our understanding of ourselves, our goals and our direction. Of course the most benefit comes from observing all of this without judgment, with an open observant mind and a willingness to see it from an outsiders position.
Life happens in an instant, giving us very little notice and time to prepare, to gather our knowledge, tools and to respond to whatever is happening in the best way possible. Most of the time, we react to events utilizing default modes, that although have helped us respond quickly in the past, can keep us from seeing the newness of the current situation and be creative in our response and interaction with it.
You may have noticed how in the past you may have responded with a degree of anxiety or awkwardness at a surprise meeting with someone, or how you found yourself repeating the same response and story about yourself in a new setting. You may have even noticed how you were able to observe yourself in these situations, knowing that you would like to respond differently, but feeling unable to find that voice and message. It takes awareness and practice to interfere with default modes and stale responses to your life, and a willingness to experience the discomfort that comes with change.
Here's a helpful practice that could begin the process of responding to your life's events in a more authentic, spontaneous and current frame of reference. At the end of each day, or anytime you remember, begin by bringing up a moment during your day that feels uncomfortable or that feels unfinished somehow. I wonder if you could begin to see this moment as if you were editing a movie. When you come to the part in question, the moment in which you acted or responded in a way that left you feeling uneasy, imagine cutting and editing this section and 'pasting' in a version of how you would've liked to have responded. Remember to do this from a nonjudgmental standpoint and to find compassion for that version of you that responded in ways that left you wanting more.
With practice you may begin to see patterns that have kept the default responses in place and again find compassion and nonjudgment when reviewing these. You may also begin to see the outdated quality of these old patterns when compared with the creative potential of resources that are current and continuously being updated. In this way you may find that looking back is beneficial in moving forward.