“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?”
― Anne Carson
I have been accused of remembering too much, holding on too tight, not being willing to forgive.
I’m working on forgiveness, a continual form of spiritual practice it seems.
I’m playing with the harmony of forgiveness and self-protection and advocacy. Where do I need to grow more? Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation, it means recognizing the other’s humanity and giving them the room to feel better, to know they aren’t causing you pain.
After all, the other side of me says – no one is capable of “making” anyone feel anything. It is a choice to feel what we feel, for the most part. When I feel crappy and depressed I feel crappy and depressed. No one makes me – circumstances may be lousy and there are times during deep rottenness I feel driven and optimistic and ready to expand into deep transformation.
(I can say clichés with the best of them.)
Thing is, I remember.
I can’t stop remembering.
I don’t want to stop remembering. (Here, try this prompt with me)
It is like telling an artist to remove certain colors from her palette. “No more purples, Julie. You need to focus solely on green.”
Doesn’t work for me.
I don’t focus only on the bad memories, either, I appreciate a memory concert. Here a memory of being the ultimate silly one, there a memory of a cloudy afternoon in 1983, I can hear the conversation, I can feel Mel’s arms wrapping me in compassion, I can feel the incredulity rising up in my chest.
I hadn’t remembered that in a couple decades but it comes to life and pours itself onto the page exactly when I need it most.
Why would I want to stop remembering? It is my ultimate super power – translating memory into words and reaching out with them to you and to you and to you.
My timer went off and I watched my neighbor slouching toward her SUV. I cant remember the last time we exchanged niceties. Perhaps, now, the memories will float up.
I think it was most likely about the tulip magnolia tree her husband planted and I was so excited I set aside her cat hating, sneering demeanor and loved her for a moment instead.
Perhaps, yes, right now, I will choose to love her in my thoughts, prayers and actions more often. If I hadn’t elected to remember, watch and continue to write from memory, I would only see the slouch and the sneer.
I will not give up my memories to you. Or him. Or her. Or them.
I will use the grace of the memories as transformational tools to work for the greatest good of all.
That feels so…. perfect. Just right, here and now.