Living life by learning from the past

Life like revolving doors

I loved using the big, revolving doors in our city’s large department stores as a child.

I recall my mother’s protective grasp keeping me safe and moving forward at pace with the speed of the door. This was important, as the speed and weight of those doors could easily knock a child off their feet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those big revolving doors as I consider the way life easily sweeps us forward, knocking us off our feet, if we’re not aware and mindful. It’s easy to get swept along.

Around the world the arrival of the new year caused multitudes to pause and reflect on charting a new course for the coming year. I’ve heard many people declaring their resolutions or goals for what they want to accomplish or do in the new year.

Many of the resolutions of outward changes we want to make are intended to make us feel better or more successful within ourselves. Many resolutions fail because the actions we take will not achieve the internal goal we desire.

I’ve found it much more helpful and powerful to set a successful course to my desired experience of life to begin with the inner experience I’d like to have of my life. What quality or experience in life do I want to embody for the coming year? Happiness, freedom, joy, and peace?

Asking ourselves what we hope to feel by making these outer changes will take us closer to the real goal we hope to experience. When we set our inner compass for how we want to feel, the actions required to arrive at our desired feeling-goal are more on point and easy to achieve.

Before we add what’s new or next, it’s helpful to first release what’s no longer serving us. It’s easy to live life by default, pulled forward by previous habits and life’s demands, pushed forward by the busyness of life, just like those big revolving doors.

Busyness is worn like a badge of honour, personal value closely tied to our productivity. We’re applauded and rewarded for the great number of things we can accomplish. Believing we’ve got to do everything quickly and savouring the present moment seems a lost art.

Busyness doesn’t equate with quality in our lives. It is a state of mind in which savouring the moment is often lost as we’re pushed forward, one activity to the next.

Carving out time for ourselves, to make space in our lives for contemplation and mindful examination of our lives helps in identifying activities and habits that add to the quality of our lives, and those that take away.

Instead of making new year’s resolutions, I now make commitments to myself, and I honour them. Commitments are promises I make to myself and I hold them as sacred and important. I schedule myself into my own calendar, and make it a priority because honouring the promises we make to ourselves is vital. Taking time to pause and reflect adds richness and keeps us on point.

As I mastered the ability to safely manage these big revolving doors, I felt I’d accomplished something and delighted in realizing I could slow those doors down, to have them move at my own pace. It took me far too long into my adult years to learn that I am the only one who can choose the pace and direction of my own life.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

An assistant minister at the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, she is a retired nurse with a master’s degree in health science and is a hospice volunteer.  She is also an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan and currently spends her time teaching smartUBC, a unique mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. 

She is a speaker and presenter and from her diverse experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, she has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people gain a new perspective, awaken and recognize we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts, stress or to life. We are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 44 years and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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