Are You Letting Your Past Define Who You Are Now? By John Cali

How often do you define yourself by your past—by who you were10 years ago or 10 lifetimes ago?

When I was younger I had no identity except for how I remembered myself in the past. And yet none of us are the same now as we were 10 years ago, 10 lifetimes ago—or even 10 minutes ago.

Here are some of Spirit’s thoughts:


  • You can live your lives only one moment at a time.
  • You drain all the pleasure and joy from your present moments by polluting them with guilt from past deeds done and worry about future deeds undone.
  • If you fully immerse yourself in the present moment with love, you will find your lives becoming easy and effortless.
  • What do you think is the difference between that carefree, joyful little child you were once and that care-full, joyless big child you are now?
  • Life will make more sense if you see all your lifetimes from our perspective. We do not experience linear time as you do. To us it does not exist.
  • Therefore all your lifetimes—past, present, and future—are current, or concurrent. They all exist here and now, in this present moment.
  • Heal yourself in this lifetime and you heal all your past lives.
  • All you really have is the present moment. All of what you call past and future, all of who you are, all of your reality are contained in the present moment.
  • You owe it to yourself to be here now, in every moment.

Adapted from the Spirit Oracle Cards by John Cali, Frederic Calendini, and Stephanie Quesada (2012)

Related links:
Be Here Now
Be In the Moment
Past, Present, or Future?


Do you find yourself shackled by the past? How can you let go of past pain and baggage? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.

We welcome your comments and thoughtful opinions, whether you agree or disagree with us. Please keep your comments polite and relevant to the topic of this post. If needed, we’ll edit for clarity. Also, we’ll delete anything we consider inappropriate.

16 Responses

  1. Chuck

    Thanks Chief!
    this article reminds me to be like a child and be in the now. Kids always fascinates me ever since i knew about being in the NOW.
    While i have no clue of past life anyways, its the past of this current life that does has hold on me and defines what i can and cannot do.
    I have learnt to get out of it at times and right now its like IN and OUT of the hold a past has.
    Thats where meditation and knowledge from Chief Joseph etc help us to learn to get out of that hold and enjoy the present and be more awake. etc. I think i have been moving forward in the right direction. So thanks again!

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Chuck

      I KNOW you are moving forward in the right direction.


  2. Rene

    It took time for me to really grasp what Chief Joseph was teaching us awhile back when he said,,,”the past has no power over you, unless you decide to bring it into the present”. That was so empowering for me. I try my best to apply this, to start my day. It has work miracles for me. I try to share this simple empowerment to others that are simply confused or lost. Thank you John and Spirit,,,especially Chief Joseph.

    Happy New Year of Love and Peace to All!!!


    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Rene. Although I don’t remember that quotation from Joseph, I love it!

      Happy New Year to you too!

    • Rene

      Ops!! I stand corrected John!! I was so excited to share that quotation that I made a mistake. After searching my notes, you are absolutely correct,,,it wasn’t Chief Joseph…But I’m sure he would agree…..Cheers!!!

      • John Cali

        Thanks, Rene. You’re right — Chief Joseph does agree with it, even though he didn’t say it. 🙂

        Do you know who did say it?


        • Rene

          Yes John, I do know who said it. The quotation was from, BlueStar-The Pleiadian, from

          Very welcome!!


  3. Sarah Drury

    I don’t know about defining myself by the past, sometimes I feel as thought the past pops back in to define me!! However much I try and stay in the moment, I still get fearful thoughts popping up, based on past events and this sometimes causes great anxiety. Of course I know that fear is an illusion and that I should be focussing on the present moment, but occasionally the fear can be so strong that it overpowers.

    I am studying meridian psychotherapy at the moment and one of the techniques is used for fears and anxiety amongst other things. Its called Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT and involves tapping on certain points on the body’s energy system whilst thinking about the fears and anxiety in order to relieve and release it. I am finding this very effective and as I release my past fears, I am no longer defining myself by them and can live more in the present (not something I find easy!!).
    Thanks for bringing this topic up, John and spirit.

  4. Micki

    I have always been brought up to learn from the past and enjoy each day as it comes, as you cannot change what has been nor what is to come, you can only have now. I must admit this believe and understanding gets easier as you get older. I love life as it is now.. 🙂

    Hugs to you John,

    • John Cali

      Thank you, Micki.

      I agree — it gets much easier as you get older. And it’s a lot more fun too. 🙂


  5. Conshana

    Thank You, John, for this posting !!
    It seems we humans have a fixation on Marc Antony and Cleopatra,,, and while a sliver of memory of a past life can be helpful, to try to bring it forward as a validation is like carrying a back-pack full of stones to a High Mountain Quarry !!
    What I was in a past (or concurrent other) existence has no bearing on my current focus reality. It is the LOVE and the Hand Up I give, that gives my life meaning, not that I was a Prince, or that I was a Pauper in another existence.
    So, yes, I AM,,, And I gladly choose moment to moment what that “I AM” is to be.
    Blessings to you, John,,, and a Blessed and Happy New Year !!
    I AM Conshana

    • John Cali

      You’re most welcome, Conshana. And thank you for sharing.

      Many blessings, and a Happy New Year!

  6. Nancy Smeltzer

    For myself, when I first began my healing and spiritual path in 2004, I found that my past lives came up quite a bit, especially how they were impacting my present life. As I peeled away layers of healing, my past lives became less of a factor and rarely come up now. I do find that for my clients,, healing in the present can go backwards into lots of past lives, and healing a past life can ripple forward into the present and on into the future. I love watching the ripple effects of the waves as they pass by, much like dropping a small pebble into a calm pond.

    • John Cali

      I had the same experience, Nancy. But now, at least for me, I know my past lives are not that important — especially since they are a part of who I am today.

      I love the way you put it — “healing in the present can go backwards into lots of past lives, and healing a past life can ripple forward into the present and on into the future.”

      Thanks very much for sharing.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.