The Role of Free Will and Choice

Still plagued by your past? Then this post is for you, but only if you want to be free, only if you want to know the open-heartedness and enthusiasm for life that come with making peace with the past.


I had a conversation some years back with someone who had been struggling emotionally and spiritually. The woman’s mother had died and left a box taped shut for each of her children. My friend gathered her box and promptly took it to storage unopened. This friend’s childhood was no walk in the park, and her mom was not easy. My friend was grief-stricken, and her mother’s death left her with deep heartache and more questions than answers. Her mind screamed with the should haves and ought to bes.


What I knew, when we recall a memory, it becomes a little unstable, and for a window of time, it is possible to modify it before it settles down again. That is why paradoxically recalling bad memories can help us heal from old wounds.


The box remained in storage for a very long time. At some point, my friend went to the storage unit after several years, retrieved the box, and put it in her house. It sat in a corner. The question that rolled around in her head was, can she deal with what is inside? Doubt crept in, was she strong enough? I remember telling her, “Courage will find you.”


As human beings, we are all resistant to all kinds of things. I value this friend. So, as any good friend would do, I encouraged her late one night to open the box. I remember saying, “It is time. Let the healing begin.”


I knew in time, like all of us, the broken places would begin to fill up with a better version of ourselves. I let her know I am right here, and you are not alone. There comes a point when we have to take responsibility for our happiness. We have to stop feeding the monsters.


Have you spent your life staring at a box of memories, unable to open it, much less travel back long enough to begin the journey and heal?


Change won’t wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for, and the only person that can work through your pain is you. We are the change we seek. I was proud of my friend that she could turn around, stand strong, and face the demons of her past and not be as frightened of that old box or any of its contents. It was time to open the box.


I think one of the keys to wisdom is constant and frequent questioning of everything. When we allow doubt and fear to creep in, our judgment becomes clouded, and there is no way to move forward. We all have a box gathering dust in the corner that needs to be opened up, looked at, sorted, and then, finally put away.


A memory is a thought, and the thought has no power or meaning whatsoever unless you give it power or meaning which create unsettled feelings. You have many thoughts about things that happened a long time ago. Where we get caught up is when our thoughts become sticky. You have an emotional reaction to them, and you think about them over and over. You keep them very much alive. Healing means letting go so the thoughts and feelings no longer impact you. We are looking at our memories through the lense of time. Our goal would be to neutralize the story from the past, so it loses its power over you. This is a work in progress.


I think what we are all going to need to do is live with the awareness we are fully alive, here and now. And I like the middle path; it is the intelligent path because when we are always dwelling on what happened and leaking your feelings all over the place, you keep yourself suffering. Hiding, indulging or stuffing your feelings doesn’t work in the long term. Instead, bring intelligence and clarity to your direct experience.


If you define yourself by your past, you will be living as a fraction of what is possible for you. Be a friend, a good neighbor and love fiercely because this all ends.


Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©


Written with love.


Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2020


**This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.



Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.