The Wisdom Of Our Past Selves

Every now and then, I’ll come across something I wrote several years ago. Sometimes the encounter is painful as I exhume forgotten memories. Other times, the words I read don’t feel like my own, but rather those of someone with far more wisdom. Four years ago, I wrote about my attempt to restart yoga before my body was ready. I wrote about patience, self-trust, and the way in which birds fearlessly take flight.

One of the joys of blogging is hanging up those tiny ideas and blips of insight like a fly trap, and seeing which ideas flit by and which stick. The words I wrote years ago, we just the words I needed to read today.

When positioned in front a room full of eager, cross-legged, close-eyed students, I would often speak of how birds fly into a tangle of branches without hesitation. Their senses, past experience, and instinct guide them home, every single time. Are not we also equipped with the same awareness, memory, and internal compass? Are we not, too, able—no, allowed—to trust ourselves? The themes of my classes were always those truths which I, myself, needed to hear.

As bloggers, isn’t it true that we often gravitate toward recurring themes in our writing? Isn’t it true that we sometimes get entangled in the messy pursuit of truth as we try to differentiate up from down?

The discovery is a part of the journey. The spilling out of nonsense until it bears some semblance to life-altering wisdom is why I am here. I need answers. And I know I hold the key. So, I try lock after lock after lock until one finally clicks to the left.

After over a year of stellar nutrition, gentle exercise, regular mediation, and visualizing myself hiking again, why am I not getting better? Why am I calmly resting in child’s pose while everyone else is taking a calculated risk that may or may not result in their toppling face-first onto the ground?

Four years ago, I was frustrated and without answers. Though the post mentions our discovery of black mold, I was dismissed by every doctor and quickly punted back to square one.

I feel an overwhelming sense of empathy for my 30-year-old self, having not only lost her friends, career, and most beloved hobby, but also her sense of autonomy and understanding of herself. Something felt deeply wrong, yet every professional was convinced it was all in her head. She tried to do everything right, but to no avail.

As I move forward in treatment and healing—forehead still pressed into my mat, waiting–I strive to be like those little birds unconsciously assessing their surroundings, as they prepare to fearlessly take flight and allow their their tiny, heart-shaped compasses to guide them home.

This was the message I needed to hear today. I’m back into child’s pose, resting. I don’t know how long I will be in this position, but I do know that it requires patience, self-trust, and close attention to the quiet whispers of my body.

The timely message is also my reminder to keep writing–keep scribbling down the tiresome twaddle in the hope that, over time, something beautiful and worthwhile might emerge. A small breadcrumb that may one day lead my back home, to myself.

18 thoughts on “The Wisdom Of Our Past Selves

  1. Cheers to Tamara’s comment. I agree! And…what you’ve offered us this morning, Erin is far from “twaddle”. I call it poignant insight and resolve. The child’s pose? Perhaps the perfect perch for you to assess and reflect. I can’t think of a better way for you to do that than through the percolation of your own powerful words. Xo ❤️

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  2. Answers don’t always come on the first try do they, even when we want them to! Yes, giving ourselves permission to search as long as it takes us is something we can’t deny ourselves. I’ve had people advise me to simply let things go, but I gain wisdom every time I ask and reflect. We don’t exist only in moments, but are part of an ongoing journey. It’s important to use all of that journey Erin.

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    1. You’re absolutely right, Deb–there is always wisdom to be gained by diving deeper and reflecting. I love the thought of not only existing in the moment, but the moments being part of a ongoing journey–intertwined and interrelated. It’s not just the moments, but the compounded lessons, or revisiting old experiences with new eyes. Lovely! Thank you, Deb! ❤️

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    1. Thank you, my dear. Though I’m sorry for what you’re going through, I’m glad this was hopefully a timely reminder that it’s it’s okay to slow down and rest. ❤️

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  3. What a beautiful post, Erin! I love the wisdom (and totally agree with Vicki that it is anything but twaddle although that alliteration was beautiful) – and how you intertwined it with your past writings. What a great way to guide yourself back to you – at any age!

    It also helps guide me back to the “patience, self-trust, and close attention to the quiet whispers of my body.” Thank you for that gift!

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    1. Thank you, Wynne! I suspect most of us could benefit from the occasional reminder to be more patient, self-trusting, and self-aware. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose touch with ourselves.

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  4. I didn’t have time to comment earlier, but this was a really lovely post. I loved the poetic way you compared your own experience to how a bird flies. And it’s also lovely how you can look back at yourself and have such compassion and patience. That’s not always easy to do, because it’s so tempting to be critical when looking back. And yes, yes, yes! I agree with your last paragraph. Keep on writing. It’s amazing to look back and read what we were going through. It makes the memories spark vividly.

    As for me, I googled child’s pose. My knees would burst if I even tried that 😆 (I injured my knees during pregnancy). So, if you can do it, right on! Continue trusting yourself! 😊

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