We have so many memories. Good ones, bad ones and even some extraordinary ones. But if you were to stop and reflect back on them which of the memories would you consider really worth remembering?
I have been thinking about that as we celebrate or mark birthdays, anniversaries, launches, graduations and even accidents and deaths. From all the experiences that I have had in my life are there any that I truly want to reconnect with and not just share with others as anecdotes or conversation fillers? Are there any experiences that still have something essential for me?
When I sit and contemplate these questions I am not surprised that it isn’t the big moments birthdays or graduations that rise to the fore but rather it’s moments that opened my mind or sparked my consciousness that still vibrate with meaning for me.
I would like to share one such memory with you today because it was a moment of awakening.
Even now it’s like I can press play and- I find myself standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. It is summertime and there are tourists everywhere taking photos, hiking and walking to and fro from the parking lot. I’m struggling between feeling travel fatigue and awe. The weariness is to be expected, but the awe is challenging.
I want to absorb everything that the Grand Canyon is and take it with me; the vastness, the silence, the bigness and the presence. But I realize I don’t know how to do that. I know it’s going to be time to leave soon and therefore feel even more agitated.
I decide to move away from the crowds, find a little nook, and close my eyes. Breathing deeply I ask in my mind, “How do I experience the Grand Canyon and know it?”
From within, I hear my inner voice speak to me clearly, ”Let yourself fully feel the awe, the quiet, the joy of being here so intimately that you can recall exactly what you feel no matter where you are. You will always be able to reconnect with this part of you whether you are here or elsewhere.”
So I take a deep breath and open all of me; my eyes, my skin, my ears, my nose, and my heart. I feel myself being present to the feelings which being in the Grand Canyon evoke. As I do this I feel my body and mind relax.
I can return to that awe, spaciousness, and silence at any time. It is within me. As though I hit the record button on my iPhone, it is stored in my mind. It is also in my body. I realize that if I don’t experience it through my body as sensations, it is of the mind only and that is not a complete experience enough experience for me.
That is the gift – the story is anecdotal. No more important than any other water cooler talk, but the experience is life. I can release the story without a second glance, but that way of experiencing life, getting under it, added a vitality to my foundation and how I perceive the world.
This upgrade allows me to experience the world in a more tactile, rewarding, immediate way and not just a construct. There is no fear of missing out and I don’t feel the compulsion to hoard memories because I have learned that there’s enough bounty in each and every moment.
This viewpoint helps me to stabilize and center myself when I am in difficult situations or feel untethered because I tell myself to be in the moment, feel what is happening, and not back away from overwhelming or scary feelings that may be arising.
Plus knowing that I don’t have to keep the scary experiences is very helpful too; we don’t have to be loyal to keeping every experience. Especially the ones which are insufferable and don’t have teachable moments in them.
That for me is worth remembering.
How do you feel about your memories? Do you feel ready to shed cumbersome memories or experiences? Want to talk through some difficult ones? It would be my honor to help you reorganize and spring clean or “defrag” your life’s storage.