Ah… long-term memory… It’s such a blessing and such a curse all folded and piled up together in all that gray matter. Many times I have wondered why God even gave us this capability at all because it seems to me that there are certain memories that simply will not fade not matter how much time passes. And I don’t want all of these! I mean, how I still remember all the words to Britney Spears’ first album only God knows…
I woke up today with such an overwhelming sense of dread that I almost didn’t get up. I felt…heavy inside. And since I live alone it’s always days like this that bring to mind the various and sundry ways that my relationships have failed. Friends. Boyfriends. Family. Roommates. I make mistakes. They make mistakes. We have “discussions.” We try to work things out. We give each other space. And then for one reason or another the wounds don’t heal well…and for better or for worse we drift apart.
And those instances make a memory.
And just like in the kid’s movie Inside Out that memory forms a glowing sphere that rolls out of the magical emotional memory machine and becomes part of who I am. And…if I’m not careful… that not-so-good memory might become a core memory that I begin to develop around. Eh, this just got depressing. Moving on!
These memories are energetic, though, and itching for recall which is probably because they are tied to a person. For some reason we humans kinda like other humans. And all those humans in my life help me make memories. Good ones. Bad ones. Happy ones. Sad ones. Yucky ones. Yummy ones. Pretty ones. Ugly ones.
But you see, every person that enters your life is a “teacher” and you, gentle reader, are the “student.” There is always something to learn, but not every teacher is meant teach you your whole life long. This is one of my greatest struggles in life. I mean, shouldn’t you mourn the loss of dwindled friendships or the loss of a damaged relationship that was like Humpty Dumpty’s shell and could never seem to be put back together again? We’re people, after all. We need relationships of all kinds.
I won’t lie, though. I stay in unhealthy relationships longer that I should. I get in a comfort zone when it comes to people (or anything). I am risk adverse and I hate confrontation. So who cares in they treat other people like this-or-this? Or who cares if they say this-or-this to me over and over again? It’s ok. I’ll get over it (I never get over it, by the by). But, like it or not, every person is the average of the people that they spend the most time around. Let that sink in…
Not long ago, my mom asked me why I had let one particular failed relationship have such a profound hold on my present life. I couldn’t answer that night. And I still can’t answer that question. I don’t know. Sometimes someone hurts you in just the right way and day after day it… hurts. And then days turn into weeks and months and years and by then it’s a precious wound. It’s a heartbreak you can’t let go of because it hurts too good. After all, that pain has been yours for so long that it’s practically a part of you. It’s like it is embedded into the very DNA of your body. And by then we are afraid that if we let it all go then things will crumble to ruin. But ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation and we have to be prepared for endless waves of transformation throughout our lives.
So here are the things I am speaking into myself these days:
- Let people go. Not everyone can stay in your life forever. Be kind and respectful to them with your heart, soul, mind, and body. Send them love and light. And then drop it. Drop. It.
- Be like the Augusteum in Rome. Ruin is not your enemy. Go through endless waves of transformation without fear because in the end your life is not chaotic. It’s the world that is chaotic and you are simply in the world, but not of it.
- Put your past in its place. If you live there you will miss out on the present. Do you want to look back and remember how hard it was for you to not be sad or angry about things that happened 5 or 10 years ago? No, that’s pathetic.
- Stop focusing on all of the bad stuff that has happened. You’re brain brings up all that bad stuff because you have tended Bad-Stuff’s pathways better than you have tended Good-Stuff’s pathways. Stop using those pathways and they will overgrow. You gotta let go of the past and keep moving forward.
*Let me start by saying that this article is influenced by Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (both the book and the movie), her blog posts, and her Instagram photos. And although some of the ideas aren’t original to me I thought it worthwhile to share them in case you get the same amount of benefit from them that I have. This article is basically a speech to my own self, but if it helps you too then… brava!