The past is a place of reference, not a residence

“The past is a place of reference, not a residence. The past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

—Roy T. Bennett, Late Author of The Light in the Heart

Image from Unsplash by Shantung Kulkarni

Our minds are marvelous. In a split second we can use our imagination to go anywhere and do anything.

By working at the speed of light and beyond, we can use mental worm holes and folds in spacetime to explore our limitless inner and outer worlds.

Another handy trick is our ability to go back in time or into the future whenever we wish.

Although daydreaming about the future and how our life may unfold is common, trips down memory lane seem to be even more prominent, since these roads have already been traveled.

Unfortunately, all this mental leaping can have us miss the very moments that make up these memories we hope to reflect upon down the road.


How much of your life do you spend residing in the past?

What lessons have you learned to make sure you prioritize opening the gifts of the present?

This is It

“Act with deep understanding that ‘This is It’.”

—Author Unknown

Image of word "Now" with the "O" as a clock face

Image from Spear Education

One of my favorite quotes from the early years of The Quotable Coach series is “Time is the coin of your life,” by Carl Sandburg. The idea that our time on this planet is finite, and that we allocate or spend our life equity is profound.

What if you were something other than human, whose average life span is 79 years? Here are the average life spans of some other earthly creatures:

Mayfly 1 day Worker Ant 6 months
Worker Bee 1 year Queen Bee 5 years
Bull Frog 16 years Bat 24 years
Camel 50 years Galapagos Tortoise 193 years


How can and will you make the most of your time by taking a “This is It” perspective?  Who will you choose to spend time with to live each precious moment you have been given?

Feel free to reply with some of the actions you plan or will continue to take.

A Wonderful Thought

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet!”

-Author Unknown

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Today’s quote caused me to pause a bit longer than I normally do as I look to the New Year ahead. Instead of looking at the year as a whole, or even fleshing out the priority goals and objectives I wish to tackle, I plan on looking at each day as a unique and precious gift.

One way to see the value of this exercise is to take a trip into your past to examine and pleasantly re-experience, through memory, some of the really great days and experiences. As you take the time to do this, count how many great days you can recall. The list will probably be finite.


How can you design the coming year, proactively and intentionally, to have as many remarkable days this year as you have had to this point in your life?

“Be mindful of the future…”

“Be mindful of the future… but not at the expense of the moment.”

– Qui-Gon Jinn, a fictional character in the Star Wars saga


Image from

Image from

I’ve noticed recently that many people get ahead of themselves, living far too often in the future. See if any of these scenarios apply to you:

  • You are constantly thinking about the upcoming weekend.
  • You find yourself frequently envisioning your next vacation.
  • You can’t wait to retire from your job—which may be many years away.
  • You often anticipate your next job or promotion, or the one after that.
  • You can’t wait to have that next new suit, car, or bigger home.

Although I am a big advocate of having goals that spur all of us on to achieve better futures, I see far too many people missing out on the daily activities that make their journey worthwhile.


How would being mindful of the present provide you more satisfaction in your personal and professional life, as you pursue your goals and visions for the future?

Don’t stumble over something behind you

“Don’t stumble over something behind you.”

– Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher

Where do you live? I don’t mean your country,  city, or state. Ultimately, we all live in our thoughts, regardless of our physical location.

With this in mind, how often do your thoughts go to past events and experiences that were negative and upsetting? As humans, we have the ability to instantly travel back in time, to revisit and yes, stumble over these same events along with all their limiting feelings.


Imagine that you are born with a  factory-installed time machine with three settings: past, present and future. How can you, through greater self-awareness and intentionality, limit your negative journeys backwards to maximize your experiencing of the present?  Perhaps you could venture forward from time to time into the delightful possibilities of the future!