Lots of memories in my life. I suppose that’s a part of aging. There’s more of my life behind than in front of me. I appreciate my past, as it informs my present, and I am who and how I am in no small part due to my experiences.
And yet, I don’t focus a lot on my memories. They come up from time to time, and I have little doubt that sometimes I bore others with my stories of past experiences. Mostly, I do focus on what I am doing now, the experience of the moment. When I travel, I don’t much attend to taking pictures or documenting the experience, although I do a bit more of that since I’ve started blogging. Even with that, I’d rather immerse myself in the moment, in the place where I am, reducing the level of remove that observation or documentation requires.
As I reflect on this way of being, what I recognize is that I am okay with letting memories develop as they will as opposed to trying to skew my memories by focusing my attention in a specific way. For me, this works. At the same time, as someone who works with many individuals with significant trauma histories, I recognize that for many with a trauma driven point of view (which is largely reflexive to start with, a survival approach), their attention is skewed to disaster anticipation and prevention, so that their memories are primarily of what went “wrong”. Often, in our work together, part of our time and effort is spent on balancing attention and noticing what is working or what is beautiful. Learning that there is always more in the moment than our initial glance perceives.
Our bodies and mind are trained by experiences and exposures. Its important to be aware of this. If one is spending a lot of time exposed to trauma, violence, feelings or messages of danger or threat, ones system begins to experience it as true, whether or not it reflects actual reality. This is a huge issue now in these days of 24 hour news coverage, with a million channels replaying or revisiting information. My advice–limit your time with such materials. Get the basic information for your needs, but don’t keep watching or listening. Change your mental challenge. Go out in nature, connect to the actual moment of your experience, be present.
It will change your memories, and improve the quality of your life, and that is good for all of us.
For Ragtag Daily Prompt: Memories