Urge to go down memory lane? 6 tips to keep you safe and sane.

Sometimes, the only way to heal the past is to return to it.

Sometimes, to say hello to your future, you need to turn around and say goodbye (again) to your past. You’ve gotta go back, in order to go forward.

*Important note*: I DO NOT think looking backwards is the healthy, wise choice in all cases. Some goodbyes are swift and end cleanly the first time around. Bless ‘em and then leave them alone.

Mostly, I’m talking about the kind of farewells that take a long time to complete. They stretch over months or years. They need several rounds of healing and attention. And if you don’t give these goodbyes the focus they deserve, they can hang in the balance forever.

If there’s something you need to heal or wrap up, so that you can live peacefully in your present and move cleanly (as clean as possible) into your future, here are 6 things that might help you navigate that journey:

1. The 1st step of all 1st steps: The Sacred.

When I first had the intuition to go back in time and reconnect with something old, I prayed on whether that was a fleeting curiosity or a sincere call to action.

And then I prayed some more. I meditated. I asked for signs (thank you for the signs!). I ran through the pros and cons with one of my wisest friends. I pulled an oracle card. I asked the Divine to let this decision unfold and reveal itself.

If you’re considering revisiting the love of your life (so far), an aging parent, or the memories of someone who abused you, let me be clear: This is a big damn deal. Light it up for divine counsel to shine on it.

2. What do you want to do / see / feel?

Someone told me once she wanted to revisit some childhood stuff. When we talked about why she wanted to do this, it turned out that going backwards in her memory was important to her boyfriend, but not her.

She was about to dig up a (potentially painful) past that she had already happily and healthily put to bed, because of someone else’s fixation. Her heart wasn’t really in it.

What is your intention in going backwards?

Before you commit to this, get clear on why you want to do it in the first place. Is there an action you want to take? Is there an emotion you’ve been suppressing and are now ready to reveal (to yourself, to the cosmos, to another person)?

What is it that you’re hoping will happen?

3. Just DECIDE.

If you and I share the Prone to Second Guessing Gene, you might call in the sacred and do all the reflection mentioned above, and consult your wisest friends and confidants, and still find yourself running through a laundry list of:

That thing at the airport felt like a sign, but what if I’m just hyping it up with layers of metaphysical meaning that are actually… nothing?

Why should I give them the satisfaction of knowing that I’m still thinking about them?

Couldn’t I heal this with a good therapist and a pint of salted caramel gelato?

These are all legitimate questions. And more than likely, they each have multiple answers. Life is full of paradox. Every decision includes a dash (or gallon) of risk. At some point, you just need to choose.

Are you going back or not? Yes or No? Just decide.

If you are…

4. Be ready for a surprise.

It might all pan out exactly the way you envisioned it. And it might not.

Maybe the person you thought you could never forgive will come around the corner and your heart will become a soup of compassion.

Maybe the place that used to disappoint you is now a touchstone for how far you’ve come.

Maybe you think you need to grieve, but rage is what rises to the surface. Maybe you think seeing them again will change something. Maybe, it won’t.

Consider that going back might reveal something you can’t even begin to imagine right now. Be open to it being easier than you thought. Be open to the possibility that certain aspects have already been taken care of.

And anytime you’re throwing your heart wide open, protection mechanisms should be in place, too, so…

5. This ain’t child’s play. Keep yourself safe.

If your ‘going back’ experience involves going to a physical space, you need to know how you’ll get out if things go south.

Make sure a few people you trust know where you’re going and what you’re doing there. You might also feel stronger and safer by not going it alone. A close friend, a favorite crystal, candle or special memento can bring a lot of stability.

If your ‘going back’ isn’t about physically going anywhere, but more about energetically reigniting past memories or events, how will you protect yourself in that experience? What could act as a sort of psychic life raft, pulling you back up to the surface, when you need to come up for air?

This is often where talented coaches, energy workers and healers come in handy.

With less traumatic memories, it could be as simple as setting a timer and deciding to dive deep into the past for a certain period of time before pausing (or ending) that reflective experience.

6. Decide how and when you’ll shut the door. For good.

Receive the healing, the resolution, the important insights, and then decide how and when you will end this nostalgia experience. Otherwise, you might never leave.

Don’t get stuck in a pattern of referencing your present + future only through old eyes.

It could be as simple as looking yourself in the mirror and saying “That is done. Over. Caput. Future, I’m ready for you now.”

Or it might look like saging your house nonstop all weekend, or writing a letter to that former self and burning it to ash.

Mark the end. Decisively. Tell the past goodbye. Put it in its place. Don’t let your next relationship, job or even the next piece of clothing you buy, be determined by the person you were back then.

You’re someone else now. Welcome your newness. It’s honey sweet and ready to dance with you.