Letting Go of the Past to Move Forward

Last week I mentioned letting go of the past as one of the important steps to living with intention. Like so many life skills, this can be easier said than done. Today I have an analogy to share with you that might make this easier or at the least should give you some food for thought.

Past = Compost

Think of your past as compost. Now you may not be a gardener, but most of us understand the idea of composting. Past = Compost. Huh? You may be scratching your noggin right now, but let me explain.

Last year our school’s sixth graders started a school wide composting program. That means that after each lunch they collected food waste. They collected apple cores, banana peels, the unwanted crust from sandwiches, leftover noodles, napkins – you get the idea. All of this food waste (dead material) was tossed into a large compost pile near our school garden.

The students gathered more than 1,000 pounds of food waste last year. It was mostly piled and occasionally turned. Last year’s food waste broke down into rich new soil and was added to our school garden this year. The compost (last year’s dead material) added new nutrients to the soil to help this year’s vegetables and fruit trees grow healthier and stronger.

Letting Go of the Past to Move Forward

Letting Go of the Past to Move Forward

OK, so what’s the connection you ask? Well, like the apple cores, banana peels, the unwanted crust from sandwiches, leftover noodles, and napkins, your past is done, used up, dead material. Something we can all be certain of, we can’t un-do the past. The past is a done deal.

The students threw away the unwanted banana peels because they had no use for it. Your past is done and you let it go. It is dead material. Now let’s expand.

Compost = Life

Compost is alive with micro- and macronutrients. It is essential to keep the soil alive and healthy so that the soil can bring forth new growth. When you can think of your past as compost, you can use the past to feed your future. The good and bad moments all feed us and help us grow healthier and better. When you can think of your past of as the dead material that becomes compost for a garden, you can accept that your past, too, is dead material, but from it you can take lessons that help you navigate today and your future.

So don’t bemoan the missteps of your past, don’t regret the wrong choices made, and don’t let your former fumbles continually loop through your head on constant replay. Your thoughts become your actions and your actions become your life. So it is imperative that you let the dead material of the past go. Like compost sprinkled in the garden, that dead material can nurture your future with its life lessons.

Yes, letting go of the past can be easier said than done, but if you think of it as compost (broken down material) you can see how letting go of the past can feed and nourish your future – helping you move forward.

Its time to move forward…

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3 Replies to “Letting Go of the Past to Move Forward”

  1. When you re trying to let go of someone, it s not uncommon to feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation. However, by reaching out to friends, family, or a trained professional, you can overcome these kinds of feelings not only through the sheer presence of others around you, but also through their unwavering support, guidance, and advice. Not only can those around you offer words of wisdom as well as a shoulder to cry on, they may in fact have their own stories of letting go and moving on that can help you recognize that your experience is more common than you think—and more importantly, that you will get through this.

  2. Love this Stacey! A great metaphor, thank you.

    1. Thanks, Carmen! This idea was part of a Sunday sermon a few months back that I’ve been mulling over since then. Hope all is well!

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