Consult the self-improvement powers that be, and you’re likely to hear one of two things:

1)   Embrace the present

2)   Envision the future

What you won’t hear, what is to be avoided at ALL COSTS is living in the past. Don’t let past heartbreaks, failures or disappointments keep you from tapping into your radiant core and maximizing your full potential.

(And this, my friends, might be why my life coach fired me.)

Of course it’s true – the past CAN weigh you down. I know this! I’ve always been vulnerable to redundancy when it comes to rejection and personal failure – it is easy to indulge in the melodrama of hurt when a bad day/week/month/year comes along. In this sense, the gurus ARE right – coddling past hurts is no way to overcome current hurdles. But it can’t be as simple as that, can it?


One of my favorite bloggers pioneered the Life List, inspiring women all over the globe to put their dreams to paper, and just GET. AT. IT. The movement is in full force, with women aspiring to run naked through fieldstake a flying trapeze class or swim with sharks (this one is especially touching). This is good stuff, and I have a list I’m working on myself.

BUT, I also have another list. It’s a list that I return to time and time again, and I find I can always add something new. Regardless of what the self-help community says, this list is not about the future – it is (horror!) rooted in the past.

This is my list of treasures. It’s the memories that conjure joy and wonder. It is a collection of words that tell stories I am astounded to have been a part of. It is gratitude, humility and inquiry all at one time.

When I am weak, I look to a future that is measured in status and tangible matter. When I am strong, I look to this list, and pray that the future might hold a glimpse of the past’s glory. Regardless of hurt and shortcomings, I have lived an amazingly rich life – sharing moments with people I treasure in both simple and astonishing places.

I admit – I struggle to envision the future beyond the beautiful mosaic in my ever-growing Pinterest dream boards. I know at some point I should try and articulate what it is I “want” and how I hope to ultimately “be” when my demons are conquered and I’m living life true to my core.

For now, I’m happy to dwell from time to time in where I’ve been – offering gratitude for the amazing ways the world has opened its doors to me. I’m calling this my summit list, and I’ve started it here. I encourage you to start your own – you never know when the reminder of where you’ve been and what you’ve already experienced will provide the impetus to take one more step forward in the name of all that is yet to be.