Every time we address a situation we bring every one of our preconceived notions right along with us. How we deal with new people in or lives, how we hear others say what they say, what we expect to find in any given situation are all colored by what we have experienced in the past. This is what I mean by “in our image,” and why we seem to have the same experiences time and time again.
This became very clear to me last week as I stood outside a sweat lodge near Mount Shasta. I looked around at the assembled crowd as the Indian drum pounded out its sacred rhythm and looked at the faces gathered around. They seemed to be the same faces I had seen at so many events over the years. I immediately found myself slipping back in time, to a place I have outgrown as my life has unfolded. This was when I realized I was not seeing the wonderful people actually here, I was not allowing myself to enjoy this spiritual moment, I was instead living in my past. I was assigning my own image to the new individuals and experience I was having right then. How much I was missing!
When I realized what I was doing I freed myself from the past, stepped back into my NOW and got to fully enjoy the new experience before me. What changed was not the people around me; what changed is ME! I got to enjoy the moment for the moment rather than viewing it as a re-run.
Rather than over-laying my own expectations of the people around me and the event itself, I gave myself permission to appreciate the NOW. Yes, our lives are made up of memories, but these memories can hinder living life to its fullest today.