The past can only hurt you if you let it. Sounds simple in principle, but it is complicated to apply. The counselor taught me something he called “mindfulness.” In a nutshell, it is a method of focusing on the here and now and separating the past from the present and the other from the self. Here is what it looks like in action. When a bad memory surfaced and my emotions began to get out of control, I was to stop, call upon God’s grace, and focus on something in my immediate environment, preferably something pleasant. The idea was to pause and separate what was then from what is now. In doing this, I would bring myself to realize that I was not trapped in my childhood. Rather, I was a grown adult with my own life and access to God’s grace and Mary’s protection. My mother was no longer standing next to me, swearing and calling me names. She could not harm me; she was only a memory.