Releasing the past is a common idea. Usually when we think about this concept, we think of big, emotional events – people who have hurt us, regrets we have, and things we think we should have done differently. Today I’m sharing a story about a seemingly small event in my past that has tied up some of my energy for the past 17 years.
For our mid-term project, my 7th grade science teacher told us to collect and identify 50 wildflowers or pictures of wildflowers and present them nicely in a folder. This sounded like a simple and enjoyable project to me, and I looked forward to doing it. However, after scouring my neighborhood, I only found about fifteen different wildflowers. This was before we could find everything on the internet, and there weren’t any magazines with wildflowers that I could use for my project, either.
Even though I continued to look for more flowers after school, I never ended up collecting fifty. At most, I probably had twenty flowers. My flowers were beautifully presented in my notebook, and I loved looking at them. However, I ended up only getting a C grade for my project, the first low grade I’d ever received.
I was really disappointed in the project and myself.
Even though I’ve had hundreds of papers and projects throughout my education, this project has always stayed in the back of my mind. It will pop into my mind at odd moments, and I’ll feel the disappointment of not finishing the project.
Yesterday, I decided to make amends with myself. Mark and I went for a walk at Paynes Prairie State Park again, and I took pictures of the beautiful wildflowers I found. I decided to identify them with the help of the internet.
What I realized was that identifying flowers takes FoREveR!!!!! It took me several hours just to identify five images. That’s when I realized I had nothing to feel bad about all those years ago. This project, while sounding like a good idea, takes a ridiculous amount of time, especially for a child who has six other classes with homework and mid-terms. Now, instead of feeling disappointed, I feel so much compassion for my 7th grade self.
It may seem like a little event, but I’ve thought about that little event off and on for seventeen years. Each thought is energy, and I wasted a lot of energy that could have been spent celebrating how I am succeeding in the present.
We all have those little events that nag us – something we said in a recent conversation, something we didn’t say, a decision we made without careful consideration – and our rehashing of those events is tying up some of our energy that could be used to celebrate who we are and what we are doing right now.
I’m ready to let the past go and bloom in the present! What about you?
Melanie Jade 🙂