Yesterday, was the day that I have to run by the storage facility where I have a whole bunch of stuff shoved in a square room covered by a door and locked away with a lock. The lock is so that the stuff is not stolen and taken away from me. The stuff is represented with items that I have accumulated over time. The stuff is a representation of my past. If you asked me to make a list of the stuff that resides in the unit I would struggle. I know some of the “Big” stuff. Yes physically big stuff and I do know that my Wedding Portrait, the signed one, is in there somewhere. I see it every time I go and wonder why I have not tossed it. Not toss it because I’m angry. Toss it because I am certain that if I have a someone in the future they will not want to hang it in our hallway.
So I paid the bill and I started to drive away from the PAST. I do that every month. I pay nearly 100 dollars for someone to store the items that were once part of my life. As soon as I leave I find myself right back in the present. Not one of those items are relevant to my “present” living situations. I never give them thought. Today I pick up the book that I am reading, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and I begin to read. As I am reading I get to the part of the chapter with this headline, THE PAST CANNOT SURVIVE IN YOUR PRESENCE.
Bear with me as I digress for a moment. You ever tried to venture to an attic or a basement a garage or storage unit and tried to clean the thing. The process begins but there appears to be no end. The more you dig in the further you get and all of the sudden 12 hours has passed. You look up to see that you have only made it a foot into one corner of the entire unit. Every time you gained an inch you got STUCK staring at a symbol of what once may have been. An identity that you think is you and it can either produce good or bad emotions. Regardless of the emotion that this “thing” has created the reality is that you are absent from the present. On many of my trips to the storage unit I would find myself staring at a photo of what once was and trying to see into the future what will become of it. Salvation or fulfillment or relief of the pain had to be somewhere to come for me. However, it was only taking me away from all that was at that moment in my life. Time cannot free you of time. I understand that the past has shaped me and that is awesome. By becoming aware of what I am doing right now and being present I will be able to utilize the skills developed to live NOW.
I switched to Proverbs this morning and this is not completely relevant and maybe out of context but this is where it took me. Proverbs 28:19, ” A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.” I do not interpret that in material wealth alone. Spiritually bankrupt and empty on the inside because I look to the future to escape the past that lies locked away in this unit. Trying to dull the pain by escaping either into the past to find an identity or into the future to seek fulfillment. Seems like a race that no one could ever win. That is when I read the next line, The past cannot survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence.
“Daddy, what are you doing? Daddy? Dad!!!!” said Eli. “Huh, oh what’s up Eli.” ” I have been trying to get your attention I was able to do that trick you taught me and you missed it.” “I’m sorry Eli I was busy being absent in this photo of what is no longer my present reality.”
In conclusion, I would go out on a limb and say that if all the stuff that we store away in our attics, basements, units, or garages were to disappear we would not miss it. The absence of the items would give time in the present to be pointed elsewhere. “The clubs are the only memory I have left of my grandpa.” No, the clubs are a symbol of a memory of your grandpa. I have found many times that when I am present in the moment and I am asked something and I answer confidently, ” a slow start is a good start” that is my grandpa and all the past I need. My past lives inside of me, internally, not externally in the stuff. To access the Power of those experiences I must be present and free of thought. You ever notice that the best things in our life occur when we are not searching for them…….they occur when we least expect them too………
Disclaimer: I am not saying that you should burn items that have meaning or anything like that. To each their own. This is merely an article that I hope helps you pull it all to the present moment so that you may live the life you were designed for. My belief is that we can only fully do that in the present. Something I continue to struggle with. Matthew 6:27, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that the Bible is referred to as the “Living” word………..