At this time of year, we're surrounded by memories of the past. Nostalgic ads show families getting together and reminiscing. We see lists like "Top 10 Movies of 2019" or "Top 10 Newsmakers of 2019" - you get the drift. So you might be thinking about your own experience of the past year and the past in general.
I'm reminded of 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, whether it's the book or one of the many movie adaptations. The Villain/Hero protagonist Scrooge is more focused on money and himself (control that comes from fear) rather than caring about others (compassion that comes from love).
In his dreams, Scrooge is visited by several ghosts, who help him review his past, present, and future. Scrooge is shown an unfiltered version of his behavior, patterns and how his actions affect the lives of others. Scrooge becomes self-aware and transforms his behavior overnight, which improves his life and the lives of others. I'll be referencing 'A Christmas Carol' in this four-part series to demonstrate how perception of the past, present and future can either keep you stuck or help you move forward with passion and purpose.
'A Christmas Carol' was published in 1843 but still has important messages for us today:
1. We have the power to transform our lives. Scrooge spent his whole life angry, bitter and alone with his negative thoughts, patterns and behaviors. His external circumstances didn't change prior to his transformation; in fact, from a financial and housing perspective, Scrooge was better off than most people of that time. Scrooge received important information from the ghostly visions, but it was up to Scrooge to internally process the information, accept it, and change his patterns of behavior accordingly. By developing self-awareness and then taking action, Scrooge was able to shift from surviving to thriving.
2. Change doesn’t have to take long and it doesn’t have to be painful. Scrooge was visited by the ghosts in a single night and awoke on Christmas Day a changed man. There’s no denying it was challenging for him, however, Scrooge was able to bear the discomfort of seeing himself as he truly was; in fact, it was necessary for him to come to the realization that he needed to change his behavior in order to have a fulfilling life. He made immediate changes to his behavior and attitude and transformed his life.
3. It’s never too late. You may be thinking that you’re too old to change, too old to start your own business, or it’s too late to create the life of your dreams. Consider that Scrooge was about 60 years old, with a lifetime of negative behavior towards himself and others. Transformational change happens when you have the courage to examine your own behaviors and patterns, open your heart and make the shift to live authentically.
4. You need to use all parts of your brain and consciousness to achieve your highest potential. Scrooge lived his life as many people do today - working long hours, only going home to eat and sleep, then repeat. He is essentially sleepwalking through life, unaware of the impact that his thoughts, behaviors and patterns have on himself and on others. Scrooge only comes to awareness through dreams, when he’s not using his ‘logical’ brain. When he awakens - literally and figuratively - he has a renewed zest for life and is able to take actions to benefit himself and others.
This week, why not sit down and read, or watch ‘A Christmas Carol’? Then sit down with your journal and ask yourself the following questions:
1. What’s one thing I could do now to transform my life?
2. Do I think change needs to take a long time? If so, why?
3. What obstacles am I putting in my own way that are preventing me from making positive changes in my life?
4. Am I taking time to meditate or focus on positive goals daily? Am I getting enough rest? Am I opening myself up to my intuition and awareness?
I plan to review these questions after watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, since it’s my favorite! Let me know in the comments if you plan to do the same and share any questions or insights. Next week’s topic will cover how to stop being stuck in the past.