“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” – Abraham Lincoln

The idea occurred to me the other day that it’s harder to move forward in life if I spend so much of my time looking back at the past. Wishing it were different or changed, mulling it over, analyzing all those unrealized outcomes, rehashing conversations, replaying scenarios of things that went both badly and very well.

It stops me in my tracks emotionally sometimes, making progress toward a happier future feel out of my reach.

Recent and old, the past is well-traveled ground for me, maybe too well. I have mined the terrain over and over for inspiration for my poetry, my photographs, my writing. It’s served me well in many ways. But I’m beginning to wonder if it’s keeping me a bit stuck, too.

So I have only recently come to grasp that moving forward– if I truly want to grow and reach higher–means I have to stop looking back so often toward the ground, my past, to where I came from. I can know it’s there and embrace it’s presence, it’s reality. But if I want to keep growing upward, I have to, to some extent, let it the past go, all it’s memories, it’s hurts, it’s blessings and it’s curses.

I have to learn to be where I am right now, in full, looking up as I feel like climbing higher, understanding the ground will still be there, in the end, to break a fall.