My friend and I used to write letters to the moon. At the time of the new moon we would write asking for what we wanted to invite into our lives. When it was full, we asked the moon to take things away. We stuck our letters to the windowsill and hoped for the best. It sounds a bit kooky but new moons are thought to be a time to set intentions and receive; full moons are thought to be a time where it’s easier to let go, to release what we don’t need anymore. So there is this ongoing cycle, this recurrent balance, between receiving and releasing. To be honest the receiving part always seemed easier for me to understand. Letting go is hard to do.
How much time, energy and attention do you give to your past, the things that happened, who you were and the people who filled your life? Seemingly without our control, certain events, people, places stick to us and we think about them over and over. Memories flash out of nowhere, certain scents, foods, songs all can take you back. Those old feelings like sadness, anger, grief, guilt all come up and you are right back in that place you thought you’d left long ago. Sometimes we hold on to the past and reminisce because it brings some comfort and sometimes it torments us – what we could have done, what we could have said. When we don’t feel good about our lives or ourselves, we can feel fury for our past, blaming it for where we are today, for why we struggle. Or we could have intense nostalgia for the past which looks so much better, so much easier and brighter than where we are now. The thing is, though, for better or worse, you can never go back. You can’t change the things you want to change or return to the life you once had.
What we think and understand and even remember about the past seems to change. The more that time passes, the more we seem to be able to understand, to heal and to accept. And maybe these realisations continue for your whole life, circling, looping around and around, allowing your awareness and your understanding to become deeper and deeper. Our past shapes us and strengthens us, gives us advice on what to do, on choices to make. We don’t want to deny it, give it all up or even really let it all go.
I have really deeply felt that desire to leave the past in the past, that feeling of just not wanting to go there. Maybe that feeling comes from being afraid that we will get stuck there. That the past will bring us down, preventing us from being able to get up again to keep going forward. But it is part of us and it seems like specific memories or things that we need to understand and process come up when we are ready. When we have the strength and capacity and support to bring light to them. If we think in terms of energy, where there is no space or time, the past is the same as now and the same as the future. It’s relevant and, rather than something to ignore or deny, something to learn to bring acceptance and awareness to. Because surely that helps to bring acceptance, forgiveness and awareness to our whole selves.
Our past is part of who we are. But it’s not everything. And we don’t want it to determine every future decision or choice we make in our lives. Lives aren’t rational and so just because something happened in a certain way previously doesn’t mean it will happen in the same way again. We don’t want to carry our past around in a way that becomes too heavy, too laden. We don’t want it to completely colour our impression of what life is or could be. Lamenting the past could close us off to new opportunities and bright possibilities that are real and ready for us.
When I used to write the letters to the moon, I would ask that my past was taken away, that the way I felt about people could be released, that I could let go of past traumas, things that I felt held me back. But now I don’t know how much we are in control of what we can let go. We can set intentions to let go, to get over something or someone; decide we aren’t going to go back there in our thoughts or feelings or wherever but the actual letting go or releasing of something seems to happen naturally rather than forcefully. It feels like over time, maybe after many and varied realisations, you become aware that an event, a person, a place doesn’t have that same charged feeling. That you have let go of something without even trying. And some things maybe have to stay with us a bit longer. Despite our best efforts to say we are ok we have forgiven, forgotten; still it lingers, waiting for us to understand more. Maybe even waiting for us to forgive ourselves.
Here in the present, where we are right now, we are exactly between the past and the future. Our past shapes our future but I think our future also shapes our past, how we understand it, what it all means. And all of it makes up who we are. The full moon in virgo is exact in a few hours. I was thinking about what I need the moon’s help with right now in releasing, in letting go; what I would write if i was to write the moon a letter. And maybe rather than trying to let go of a particular event, person or time of my life; it’s more about letting go of the pressure I put on myself to process everything linearly and completely, as fast as I can; the pressure to be ok with everyone and everything all the time, the pressure to feel good, grounded and always clear; and most of all the pressure to be perfect.