“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” Socrates

I found this quote today. How brilliant! It’s enough to make me want to read philosophy. Although, to be honest, I didn’t even make it through Sophie’s World. Maybe it’s time for another look.

Lately I don’t have any answers, I’m a bit bogged down but this fired me up again.

It does seem that we get more of whatever we focus on. Right now, I am tempted to wade through the mud from the past but that’s not working. Getting stuck-in-the-mud makes it hard to move forward.

What if we stopped fighting the old?

Is there any point to fighting the old? Maybe only to identify patterns. We may also use it as a contrast, a reference point. The arrow goes the other way. Do the opposite. Like George Costanza from Seinfeld.

The “fighting” part is problematic too. The past is already dead. Fighting it takes a lot of energy. And it’s already dead!

And yet, I feel trapped by the past sometimes, by old fears and survival mechanisms.

What if we realised that the dragon is already slain? What if we turned to the future? What might we see?

Perhaps rather than fighting the past we could accept it, lovingly and deeply, as the imperfect mess it was. Could we see it as the testing fire that forged us? Maybe. I don’t know.

There are parts of my past that seem pointless and painful. Occasionally the scary movie plays in full ‘surround sound’ cinema. Old ghosts leap out at me. It’s high drama.

And yet, that’s not life now and there’s no need to live it again.

But sometimes I don’t know how to build a different future. My survival skills worked in harder times and they don’t work now. So what do I do? What could we do?

Build the new

For me, changing direction often starts with asking new questions. How could we build the new world we want to live in? Try these.

  • What skills do I need?
  • What might be a better way to handle this?
  • How am I good enough already? (however imperfect I may be)
  • How can I best remember that the past is dead and gone?
  • Why does the past not need my energy?
  • Is my thinking useful?
  • Who can I ask for help?

Ask for help

When we’re locked into old painful patterns we need help. I don’t know about you but I often forget that asking for help is an option. That seems odd, there are a lot of people on the planet.

Sometimes you do work it out yourself but it helps to have someone holding your hand. It helps to ask those who care about you and those who know more.

I like this piece of wisdom from Socrates. It deserves some contemplation. I also think it is possible to re-write the script.