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This past week, the seasons began to change from Summer to Autumn and I realized we would soon find ourselves back in the season it was when we first arrived down under. Nearly a year! It seems hard to believe.

As I was battling to breathe and adjust to the changes in the air, I sat for a moment to reflect. This was sort of a big year – to say the least. I remembered a time when a friend once said to me, “when you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you are peeing all over the present.”

Charming, I know.

And while the idea of my friend straddling the present isn’t exactly the image I want stuck with me throughout the day, I appreciated the wisdom behind the words.

The realization that we have been here now for nearly a year had me traveling down memory lane. I found myself sifting through moving paperwork and cards from friends that were given to me just before we left. I even busted out the trustee “DT TP.”

In my scavenging, I happened to come across a box of old journals. Moments dating back to my freshman year in college. 20 plus years of words scattered throughout the pages.

As I read through the scribbles, there were times when I didn’t even recognize the person writing, yet others where the pieces of me that were meant to remain and evolve have – a sense of wonder, ambition, a desire to make the world a better place. Me, 41 years in the making, simply looking back at the halfway mark that brought me to this moment.

Pages that took me from the day I graduated college to the moment I packed up my car and headed west to Los Angeles. Years later, when I would compete at Miss USA. The move to NYC. The job opportunity in Nashville. Finding out I was pregnant.

All those moments, in my own words, exactly at the precise time I was living them.

The trip down memory lane prompted me to open my old laptop to the stories I was writing long before I knew I would leave my job, sell my home, and start a new life in Australia.

At that time, the words that flowed onto the pages were an outlet to laugh about some of the circumstances of my life, and a way to process others.

To say there was a lot going on during those days is quite an understatement. But as the journey of Coffee Loves Wine began, so did mine. And a new chapter began to write itself.

Many of those old stories still remain untold. From “meetings for the meeting to talk about the meeting” to stories of unsightly adjustments in the boardroom and client behavior that would shock and awe.

I was FaceTiming with a dear friend and former colleague last week and as we chatted about life and some of those moments that we lived through together, I realized some of those stories will remain in the vault because, quite simply, they are no longer relevant. And it’s certainly not because vulnerability is scary but rather that I have outgrown the emotions I was feeling when I was going through those things.

Growth and Resolve.

What I realized in that conversation as we laughed about moments that would have previously left us angry, depleted, and frustrated – is that they are simply part of the past. A chapter that has closed.

Continuing to focus on moments from our past, however painful or joyous they may be, are distractions from the here and now.

Sure – it is fun to reminisce about stories, particularly those that make us laugh and bring us back to hysterical moments amongst friends, or those that have provided tremendous lessons and monumental growth, but that is the extent of their necessity in the present. Moments to share. Stories to tell.

But what happens when you struggle to move past the hurt and the pain that some of those previous stories might carry? Or if you get stuck in a time when you thought it was “simply the best” and compare everything to that?

I was recently talking with another friend of mine who is struggling desperately to find love and companionship, a part of their journey that has been wrought with hurt and pain. The words I was hearing as we talked were focused on past-experience – projecting previous hurt into present relationships. They were holding on to that pain because it was easier than diving into the root of the issue and turning it inward for healing.

It is when the feelings from those past experiences override your ability to experience joy today, that you will find yourself stuck, hypothetically ‘peeing on the present.’

Letting go of the emotions attached to those experiences doesn’t negate the fact that you went through them, but it certainly will free you from getting stuck in them and allow you to participate in life today.

Just as we can expect the seasons to change, humans change. A shedding of leaves, flowers that bloom, rainfalls that cleanse. But unlike nature, humans need to be willing to go through those changes and sometimes face difficult truths in order to change.

Experiences are what collectively make up each of our lives. They lead to growth, to moments of self-awareness and to the ability to step into your true purpose. But life doesn’t come with a guarantee that it won’t be painful from time to time. Sometimes the road to get there is short with very little difficulty. For others, it takes more time and is a bit more treacherous. And then there are those who choose to sleepwalk through life altogether, never allowing themselves the opportunity to change or evolve.

This week, let’s all take some time to examine the moments in our lives that make us feel stuck. Are you holding on to something from your past – a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, financial loss, a difficult relationship with a parent? Pinpoint those moments and recognize how they make you feel. And then remember all those feelings don’t define reality, they are just feelings. Allow yourself to let them go.

You may just find the wall you have built around your heart will begin to crumble, leaving a place for something new to grow – a new season to begin, a new chapter to be written.

Cheers to a new week, a new season, and stepping into a purpose-filled life!!!

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