August 4, 2014
Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote Wherever You Go, There You Are. And in just the title of his book, he summed up human “cause and effect” pretty well.
Wherever we are in our lives is the sum total of our experiences, reactions and choices as our days and events and years unfold. We might or might not like where we are today – as individuals, a species or culture – but if we reflect on and own our part in the whole evolution, we can see all that connect-the-dots stuff…for better or worse.
If the dots are “better,” we see them as progress; if the dots are “worse,” we see them as disappointments. We can keep our balance in all this if we remind ourselves to see the “worse” dots from the standpoint of their times.
We often try to put the past behind us when really we should just put it into perspective. We all make decisions that might have made sense in the “now” of our moments, only to have them come back – upon reflection – to bite us as “mistakes.” Understanding that it was a different “now” then can soften the edges around those bites and help us make better decisions as we go forward; we made the best decision we could with what we knew and needed at the time.
If it’s different now, it’s because it’s a different now now. Knowing this can help us move forward with self-understanding, self-compassion and self-forgiveness, giving us…perspective.