Did you discover something about yourself today that you did not know about yourself yesterday? Well, maybe it was not actually something new, but something you had known, and have come to appreciate at a deeper level. Most of us fail to get to know the good in ourselves because we are not retro. We are not retrospective. I'm not suggesting we live in the past; if we did, we would come to miss the present and fear the future. As a side note, the more we live in the past, the more we actually fear the future. Living well in the moment will prepare us for the future. I did not say preparing for the future reduces the fear of the future. I said, living well in the moment reduces the fear of the future, for the present happens to lead us to the future. Retro means to live in the present; capturing an insight that calls you to attention. In the retro moments, ask yourself these questions: What did I learn from this? What did that call me to be that I was not in that particular moment?
Do I need to be more understanding or more selfless? Do I need to ask better questions? Do I need to be in the moment? For example: By being a little more retro, I discovered that I often respond to a question so quickly and miss what someone is really asking me. Well you know, I have all the answers to everything, don't you? With all the kidding aside, there is some pain in realizing that because you assume so many things, you might not be really helping people, even though you think you are helping them. Most people want guidance in the process of self-discovery; they don't want to be told who they are and what they should be doing. Don't tell me that I am an introvert; instead, guide me in the value of one on one quality relationships.
Most people can discover themselves, by themselves. With the pattern of retro reflection, most of us can come to discover the unique Gift and talents that were created in us. Retro reflection is a closed loop pattern; beginning each day in request and ending each day in examination. For example: Begin tomorrow by asking, "Today, help me to understand the effect my Gift has on the people I meet or the situations that come into my path." You don't even need to know your Gift to ask this question, just request that you come to understand its effect. Begin to acknowledge the effect of your Gift and you will begin to recognize your Gift. At the end of each day, ask this examination question, "When today did I come to see the effect of my Gift?" As you think about it, take brief notes. I suggest you note rather than journal. The purpose of noting is to give you a record for review over a period of time. Note each evening for a week, asking the same questions each day. At the end of the week, review where you noted similar answers to different daily experiences. There is much insight that comes from this pattern, and it has been used by some of the greatest minds over the centuries such as: Michelangelo, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and especially Ignatius Loyola.