One of the fasciating things about learning to watch beliefs in action is that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING becomes changeable, including the past. That’s right, you heard me correctly. YOU CAN CHANGE THE PAST! Not the events that occurred, but because you can change your beliefs about them, the feelings you associate with those events will also change and you literally will not remember them the same anymore.
The Eagles–my first favorite band–have an album Hotel California–my first favorite album (and remains one of my favorites to this day). My favorite songs on it change over time, which, to me, is the hallmark of a great album. What’s even more interesting is that even the meaning of the songs change over time, especially for me that of the song “Wasted Time”. It’s about the ending of a relationship. And this song I loved when I first heard it, and I still love it today, but I hear it COMPLETELY differently now! Originally, when I saw myself as a tragic figure in life, a “lonesome loser”, I loved the beauty and sadness of lyrics like this:
Well baby, there you stand
With your little head down in your hand
Whoa my God, you can’t believe
It’s happening again
Your baby’s gone, and you’re all alone
and it looks like the end.
And you’re back out on the street.
And you’re tryin’ to remember.
How do you start it over?
You don’t know if you can
You don’t care much for a stranger’s touch,
But you can’t hold your man.
You never thought you’d be alone
This far down the line
And I know what’s been on your mind
You’re afraid it’s all been wasted time
The funny thing is that for many of the years that I loved lyrics like that, I had only had one significant relationship that had lasted four months. But I GOT the sadness in the lyrics and the way the song is sung. And later I began to see the wasted time in my life as the years I spent in “loving” someone from afar without ever asking her out or telling her how I felt. And even further down the road it finally became as the lyrics were originally written as I began to ask myself if the time and effort that I had put into my relationships with the first Karen and with my ex Cindy had been “wasted time” because the relationships eventually ended.
It’s easy to see how, with beliefs commonly taught in our society, someone could go to that place of seeing an ended relationship as wasted time, especially if it was a LONG one. Certainly I could have done that with my relationship with Cindy, which lasted almost 10 years (and she could have too!). About 1/4 of my lifetime spent in a “failed” relationship (which was how I saw it at the time–and not just in general, I was the failure…). But there’s another way of looking at it. In fact, there are MANY other ways of looking at it, and all of them depend on what you choose to BELIEVE about it! So here are the lyrics I hear now from this song, especially the rising triumph in the voice as Don Henley sings the last line of the song:
Another love has come and gone
And the years keep rushing on
I remember what you told me
Before you went out on your own:
“Sometimes to keep it together, you got to leave it alone.”
So you can get on with your search, baby,
And I can get on with mine
And maybe someday we will find,
That it wasn’t really wasted time
And it wasn’t. It wasn’t for me and it doesn’t have to be for you! Neither Cindy nor I see it at all that way when it comes to our 10 years. I can think of at least FOUR clear and powerful reasons why that 10 years was NEVER a waste.
First, and definitely not the least, is that we had a lot of FUN together! It makes no difference if we were not a match in this sense, because, even with the differences we had, we were great companions and business partners.
Which is a nice segway into the second thing, that we generated a LOT of wealth together. Now I think both of us have pretty much used that all up, but also we now both know that we have done that once, meaning we can do it again following the same plan, just this time with someone who is a better fit as a romantic partner.
Third is that as I came to the conclusion that the relationship didn’t fit what I wanted and became a heavy drinker to avoid dealing with the situation (ie: breaking up, thereby “devastating” Cindy), it led me first to A.A., and later to The Option Institute (www.option.org ). Had I never started drinking in this way, there’s a chance I never would have started to look at myself and work on myself–I might have just sleepwalked through my entire life never getting to know myself, never learning how to create a person in me that I actually liked!
Finally (and there are more, these are just the big ones) had I not gone through this path and spent EXACTLY this amount of time with Cindy, I may not have been ready for the teachings and tools that I found so powerful in creating a joyful and comfortable life for myself!
Many people who find the answers to a happy life (whether it’s through The Option Institute or some other path) I sometimes hear say “wow, I wish I would have come across this earlier in life!” I’m not one of them. I mean, I really love the concepts, the tools, the classes especially, and on occasion I have that wistful thought of what my life might have been like if I had learned them at 18 or 20 years old. But the reality is, when I look back at who I was at that age, there’s just no way I would have been ready for it then. I was too set in my beliefs and would have found a reason NOT to pursue it. It took me walking into that rehab center COMPLETELY OPEN and believing “everything I have learned has led me to this moment, which is the WORST moment of my life, so I am willing to UNLEARN and RELEARN everything in order for my life to be what I want” to be ready to learn a different way. That was the EXACT perfect moment for all of this to come into my life. So I don’t consider ONE SECOND of the time I was with Cindy (or any other relationship partner, for that matter) to be wasted time. It was perfectly spent time!
And of course I’ve already detailed how not only do I not consider any time spent in relationships “post-Option” to be wasted time, heck even every moment WITHIN the relationships has been WONDERFUL, all of them leading to learning more about myself and what I wanted in my perfect relationship–the exact one I now have!
What about you? Do you still see past relationships as “wasted time”? In light of the examples I gave above, can you find positives for yourself within those relationships that show you that they were not “wasted time”? If you have questions about specific examples where you still can’t get past seeing them as wasted time, I would love to hear them and share my thoughts!
PS: Just so you know–in case you think of it when reading Mary’s next post, which ended up having some of the exact same themes as mine–we DON’T discuss the topics of each others’ posts until we’re done with them! Hmmmm, guess we just sort of see the world the same way (I seem to remember something like that from an earlier post–LOL!)….