When you leave a time in your life behind, do you catch yourself leaving the door slightly ajar? Reluctant to close that part of the past? Perhaps closing that door can feel like such a finality to a relationship, a phase in your life, a home you once lived in, a friendship you held for years… Sometimes leaving these things behind is hard, and with that door still ajar, it can feel like a ‘lifeline,’ like a way for these to live on, without the permanence of closure.
And yet by leaving that door open, maybe with hope for a different outcome, it can lead us to repeat the same patterns. These could be emotional patterns, belief systems, behaviors, habits or traveling the same path out of routine. Perpetuating these keeps us longing for something which has passed. We end up stuck between how things were, compared to how they are, or even worse, we restrict ourselves from what could be. This becomes the opposite of change, the opposite of forward movement and hope. It keeps us in a place of limits for what we might allow ourselves to experience, and how we might evolve.
The decision to make a change, such as moving away or ending a relationship, began with inspiration for something new, something which offered more promise and new beginnings. When we are feeling stuck in our old patterns, it can be an opportunity to ask a few questions. And while there’s a fairly obvious question to ask, it is often the least helpful. Afterall, if we knew why we were stuck, we would have already gotten ourselves unstuck. Here are some questions which might help to shine light on what you're desiring by keeping that door ajar:
Am I missing something from my past? Is it companionship? Familiarity? Comfort?
Am I afraid to look forward? Is it unknowing? Uncertainty? Distrust?
Where do I need to heal? My self-worth? Feeling unloved? Feeling valued?
What is true about my choice for something new? New career opportunity? better quality of life? Being closer to family?
What do I stand to lose by holding this door open? Making new connections and friendships? New love? Finding new hobbies or interests?
How do I feel grounded and secure in my being? Walks in nature? Calling a dear friend? Taking care of my body? Cooking good food?
When we yearn for something which no longer supports us, there is something more there – always. By taking time to inquire within, we give ourselves space to heal old wounds and look more objectively at our situation. We can often beat ourselves up for revisiting and getting stuck in the past, but through inquiry, we also stop the critical talk of ‘why do I feel this way?’ or ‘why don’t I feel that way?’ Change is hard and moving forward comes with pain points. We may set expectations for how things will be, how we will be, and when reality plays out differently, it can leave us feeling dejected and questioning why we made that choice for something different.
As these times of doubt arise through change, stay the course. Use the above questions to help guide you back to what is true. Staying connected with yourself, your needs, your feelings, your hopes and goals will shift you back into the present, back into moving forward as you desire, helping you to firmly close the door of the past behind you. As that door closes, hold gratitude for all that you learned and experienced through that time, knowing it shaped you for who you are today and what you will accomplish. Remembering our past informs us for the future, though can be revisited through a window pane – looking into what was as a bystander, while not engaging with it nor inviting it back into your life.
By Jen Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective