Free the Future

Free the Future

Would you like to free yourself to an unencumbered future? This week we are featuring Free the Future that Andrea wrote as a blogger for The Spirited Woman in 2014. Can you find meaning in her words today?

by Andrea Chilcote

While I am rarely inspired (or convinced may be the right word) by popular evangelical preachers, I took pause today at a statement I heard by Bishop TD Jakes.

He said, “When you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”

td-jakesWhile the context for his words surrounded people working to release the trauma of severe abuse and betrayal – certainly a difficult and honorable journey – I was struck by the day-to-day implications. How many times (a day or an hour) do we allow what came before to poison what lies ahead?

I began listening for evidence, in my own self-talk and in the words of others. Quickly I realized that many of our future actions are predicated on what came before – often just moments before.

Here is a self-assessment, designed to determine if your past (even the past five minutes) influences your future. Before you answer the questions, please realize that most if not all answers will be “yes” –  if you are a human inhabiting planet earth.

  • Is there something more you would do if only you had the energy, connections, confidence or skill?
  • Do you feel badly because of a (non-healthy) choice you made (today or five years ago) with regard to diet, sleep or exercise?
  • Are you exhausted from arguing a point, championing a cause or trying to convince those who will not be swayed?
  • Do you feel inadequate because of any past injustice, trauma or difficulty?

If your answer was yes to any of these questions, I’m betting that some bit of self-judgment about past circumstances or choices is influencing the current situation.

So what to do? Ah, here is the answer, the one that I seek, quite imperfectly, to live into each day.

Forgive. Forgive yourself first. The choices you made before need not poison your future.

Then, forgive those who caused harm – not because they are absolved of responsibility, but because you release their power over you. What freedom that is, freedom to pursue the future, your destiny, as Jake describes it. Free the future to unfold, unencumbered.

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History Lesson

by Andrea Chilcote

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

Watershed-MomentWho would we be without our history? The fact is, we are our history. We can remain hostage to it, and let come what may, sometimes repeating the sins of our fathers and mothers. We can work through it, growing a lot or a little from numerous experiences and therapies, formal and informal. We can even transcend it in those watershed moments that I believe present themselves many times in every lifetime if our eyes are open. But no matter the choice or the path, what we are left with is a product of those diverse experiences, and they define who we are today.

Personally I’ve never liked history. Most museums don’t appeal to me, and I’ve never seen the point of studying obscure facts about centuries past. I know that some people get great joy from collecting antique relics or studying their ancestry, but I’ve always been a present moment kind of girl, with an eye on the future.

So when I sat down to write “my story,” for the Spirited Woman 2014 Directory, I soon began to feel like I was dragging out ancient history. It felt uncomfortable. I demonstrate a degree of vulnerability in these posts every week, but rarely do I tell the whole thing about how I got where I am today. It just doesn’t seem that compelling, and never mind trying to do it in 500 words. But it’s become important now, very important.

Here’s an example of why. Just today I made a simple choice that created undue stress for me and those around me. I made one too many commitments. If everything had worked exactly as planned, it would have been fine. But of course, life never works that way and I was forced to make another choice. What did I eliminate? The one thing on my list I personally needed most. It was the right choice for the day – not the right choice for the life.

I could shrug this off and vow to do better next time. But this history idea is gnawing at me. How can I transform this pattern of behavior?

I know the answer. It involves acknowledging the reasons I am often driven beyond what’s reasonable, to achieve that which is not necessary. The most gentle way I have of examining the root of these core traits and drivers inside myself is through writing. (While I welcome the transcendent experiences, I’m a little too tired tonight).

So I have to go now, and finish my story. I hope I can inspire you to finish yours, too.

Visit the I AM an Every Woman Visionary board on Pinterest to find “Pins of Inspiration”; where I and my colleagues, are celebrating the upcoming December 12th launch of the 2014 Spirited Woman Directory: A Collection of Stories & Resources for An Inspired Life!