Cows & Beans


Leaving the Past Behind Us

I saw a quote today, one of many that are in the same vein. ‘Your journey will be much lighter and easier if you don’t carry your past with you.’ Brigitte Nicole.

Now, I don’t know about you but I find this is a big sticking point with people who come to us looking for answers. Those who would like to go forward and have been ‘trying everything they can think of’, to get out from under.

It has become the mascot quote for all of those who would deride the idea that we can all change our reality, and thereby change our lives for the better.

We can insist until we are blue in the face that it can be done and it makes not a jot of difference to their belief.

That is the crunch point of everything, is it not? Belief. Not many people really understand the power of belief, until theirs is tested. Very few even understand what their values are until they have been tried. Nor indeed do they often have a clue as to why these values and beliefs are there.

So let’s get back to the quote and look at it a bit more closely.

On the face of it, yes I can see that would be something that could be done, but (there’s always a ‘but’, right?) to do that I would have to deny my whole life up to now.  How can I forget that I was attacked, abused, destitute, denied, dumped, etc. Those were such bad times, I can’t get over that. I am also therefore going to have to leave behind good things, love companionship, relationships, etc. All the things I wish for, aspire to, but cannot have because…

You see where this becomes the incongruity that feeds on itself and makes this option non-viable for the practical, logical, cynical Souls out there.


Bear with me. Think about trees. They are everywhere, they grow in the strangest of places sometimes. On top of tenement roofs in Glasgow for instance! In crevices of rocks on sheer sides of mountains even. Ordinarily though they grow together in glades and forests, their roots deep, deep in the earth, strong and vital, taking in the nourishment and influences of the earth in which they bide. Their trunks grow steadily upward, toward the Sun in the sky above. The trajectory sometimes goes a little awry, however they do keep on growing toward their goal, sometimes even breaking through concrete.

In order to feed better from the Sun their branches spread wide and strong gaining new sources of nourishment to bear leaves and fruit.

They tell the story of their lives and how they grew, in what conditions they grew, it’s all in the rings of the trunk.

What they don’t do is carry it on.

They continue to grow layer on layer of bark that constitutes those rings. Then when we come along and cut them down we can read their story. The trunk is weathered and the outer bark shows knots and bevels, scars from the nibbling deer, or scrapes from their antlers. They are the sanctuary of birds and squirrels and bugs. Fungus and mistletoe grow on some, all will have lichen growing somewhere.

They don’t carry their past on with them, their past, and the scars the pollutants, the story of them is there. Not dwelt upon, not savoured, not trotted out to all and sundry at every opportunity.

The rings of the tree don’t define it, nor do they stop the tree from growing onwards and upwards. The rings of the tree accept, embrace, envelope each mark, each event of that year’s growth.

The tree then gets on with growing, displaying it’s magnificence in all weathers whether dressed in summer green or the resplendent Autumnal hues of reds and yellows and browns. Then some of them will shed their leaves and stay bare and almost asleep while winter blankets their world. A cycle of life and another ring is made.

When we say ‘don’t carry the past forward’, we are not referring to ALL of the past.

We grow daily, we shed cells and make them new all ways. It is in our memory that we store our emotional attachments to events we no longer have power over. That is the Giant of the Beanstalk. We hoard the treasures of our losses even more than our gains sometimes because that is what we have learned to do. When we have a ‘Jack’ come into our space to take our ‘treasures’ away we feel threatened. Some of us are wired that way.

Rewiring is a process and with every step we have to take out the old wires and then we start to mither. That is why we go to people who tell us they can help. ‘We can make you better’ those ones, the ones with the magic beans.

Oh the expectations!

We will only be better when we believe we can be better. Beliefs and values. Memory holds onto them in dark caverns that we haven’t even plumbed the depths of yet.

Each and every cell that is replaced carries the duplicated memory of the last one. Those are our rings. We make new skin, new organs, and we don’t even realise it because we are still recycling our stuff with every cell. Unlike the trees we keep our scars close to the surface. So we can pick at them.

Ironically it’s how we grow too. Our roots are deep in those caverns and that is where we feed ourselves, our memories, our Ancestral stories. It is with growth and that reaching toward the sky that gives us new sources of nutrients, that are not really new at all, as they were nourishing the ground in which we were first planted as seeds.

Our very own beanstalk.

We all have magic beans inside us already. They are the thoughts and wishes and goals we have to ‘sell the cow for’ and we can be very attached to that old cow.

We sometimes need a bit of help letting the cow go. Our only understanding of how life works is via that cow. What we were told as we grew, what we hold in the rings of the years of our lives. We have to grow into ‘Jack’.

We identify with the cow, and with what she means to us. We become the expectations all wrapped up inside that cow. The only source of growth we were given.

Then there it is, the beans planted and like magic there is the beanstalk going way up into the sky. All we have to do is climb it and leave the ground, leave that world behind.

Somewhere in our heart of hearts we know that even if we do return, once we have entered the Giants castle and we have attained the treasures there, we will never be the same again.

That is why many people don’t see beyond the words, ‘don’t carry your past with you’ the past is always just a step behind, a second, a moment a space. Once the step forward is taken that second, moment and space are gone.

The past is safe, it is known, it is as Richard Bandler so aptly calls it ‘The Familiarity Zone’.

So really what we are doing with quotes like these is asking people to trade their old cow for a handful of beans… and that of course is a whole new story.


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