Looking Back at the Footprints in the Sand


Whether working on your personal growth with a practitioner or on your own, it is good to reflect back on your personal process to remind yourself of the path you have walked upon to bring you to where you are now.

Throughout the years I have called this Looking Back at the Footprints in the Sand.


Having lived the last thirty years on the Canadian Pacific coast I have walked the beaches many times. Although most British Columbia beaches consist of pebble-stones, often there are patches of sand especially during low tide, sufficient enough to allow you the privilege of looking back at your footprints. The footprint trail allows you to see the path you walked along the sand, and if the sandy beach is long enough, to even see where you first started out walking on the sand.

Consider from time to time looking back at your own footprints in the sand.


Reflect on who you used to be, what led you to move out of denial, what resistances on your personal growth path you encountered, your personal breakthroughs, the issues in your personal relationships you have had to work with.

Particularly reflect upon and validate your successes in your personal growth: your shifts and how you have seen them reflected in your life, in the actions you have taken, the things you may have said on occasions, the boundaries you have provided for yourself and for others.

This is looking at the footprints in your own walk through the sand.

It is particularly useful to reflect in this way when encountering sabotage. Looking back at the footprints in the sand is a way of countering sabotage and at the same time reminding yourself of the gains you have made, that you are and continue to be successful.

The very fact that you have crossed the threshold of denial and onto your own personal growth path makes you successful, regardless of any other outcomes. Relatively few people succeed in moving out of denial. To do so in anybody’s lifetime should be considered an achievement.

Looking back in this way need not be limited to the moments of working with sabotage. You can look back at any time.

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We are a very goal oriented society. And as western ideas, ideals and economic philosophies spread across our world we are rapidly becoming a very goal oriented world. We are educated to look ahead from early ages, to decide on careers, to know what we are going to be doing in life, to plan ahead for retirement.

This is all well and good and useful, but so focused can we become on our goals that we forget to look over our shoulder.

It is the same with our personal growth. We can become so focused on a goal, whatever it may be – to become enlightened, to be rid of the parts of myself that hold me back once and for all, or to be present every minute of my day, to be successful, abundant and have unlimited tolerance – that we live in the constant fantasy of who we want to be and forget who we are in this moment.

It is good to hold future intention. But to live in that realm totally is a sacrifice of being present with what is happening for us now.

The future does not exist – yet. The present experience does.

I believe it to more useful to embrace all realms of time. To hold the intention of where we wish to head, of the people we would like to become and the type of life we wish to open to.

Intention brings the future forward and into our present experience.

However, a way to affirm who we have become and to validate the path that has led to the success of who we have opened up to now in present time is in the contemplation of the Footprints in the Sand.

Thank you to the 387,708 people who visited my book blog this past month.

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One thought on “Looking Back at the Footprints in the Sand

  1. Only upon reflection can we see our own growth. Looking at the footprints in the sand does show where we came from and how we have grown. Without looking at the footprints we can be disillusioned about the slowness of our growth, or seem to not be growing at all. We got to experience this station in life, but not over night, so it will take some time to learn and grow.

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