I’m an “early bloomer” and so I’ve already had a few of both. Some remembrances bring back pain and some bring back anger. I’m now particularly thinking about the ones that bring back anger. These are usually situations where we have been taken advantage of or didn’t make the right decision and ended up paying a high price. Whatever the reasons were that ended up leaving us with an anger memory, the reality is; it is the past. No matter what we do today it will not change what has already happened.
When we feel the anger come up the best thing to do is to remember we were different people at the time the event happened. We had a different set of thoughts and skills than the ones we have today. Whatever judgments we make today; “how could I have been so stupid?” “why didn’t I do this or that?” are not fair to ourselves. We were different people.
The next thing to remember is whatever happened is part of who we are today. So being a person that today can recognize situations that shouldn’t have happened is a direct result of the things that shouldn’t have happened.
Lastly, remember that life is about learning and experiencing. Putting too much anger onto things that can’t change keeps us stuck. So the best thing is to let go of the anger and keep on living and learning.
Whoever has said to you that there is a way to live life always feeling great – I’m sorry to say – was lying to you. There is too much going on around and within us for us to always feel good. There is our brain chemistry, the curves life throws us, and our own expectations to make sure there are ups and downs.
Some days I feel blue. Some days I feel really blue. Only three years ago I had the perfect life and I was content. I still had dreams and ambitions but I felt I had arrived in a place that I could be mostly happy. But then my husband died and with him my perfect life. Like me there are billions of people who lost their “perfect life” or are still looking for it.
My point is; we can’t control what life brings us but we can, one step at a time, comprehend ourselves, the randomness of life and just like a master carpenter we can rearrange or rebuilt every time. We can learn to move through the tough times with more wisdom, appreciating what we still have and who we still are.
Some days the memory of the pain my husband and I went through hurts like it just happened but I have learned to breathe through it and accept its existence. And in those days I try to move a little slower, and I look for things and people that fill me up; a beautiful day, my garden, a nice meal, my dogs, a special friend.
So here is the truth; some times life is hurtful but within hurtful life there are many gifts that can help us navigate through the pain. So if I was to give anyone advice I would tell them; don’t worry about always being well and happy. Embrace life with all its ups and downs but know you have within you the strength as well as the medicine to your own ailment, whatever that is. Trust the process of life, slow down and check in with yourself on a daily basis. You are your best friend and the most loyal companion you’ll ever have.
I remember years ago when I still lived in NYC, being on bus and seeing outside a church a sign that said: There are pebbles in a stream so that the water can make its beautiful sounds as it moves through the pebbles.
I believe true contentment comes from knowing ourselves and that takes courage. It takes courage to see who we are and still embrace ourselves. And once we can do that we are ready to live life fully.
It’s funny how certain things trigger the memory, and send the imagination off on pleasant tangents. A private jet flew over the moon tonight, its red and green lights flashing through the clouds. The red and green of those lights took me back in an instant to my childhood room, which happened to be in the flight-path of Laguardia airport, and was like a front-row seat before the spectacle of giant airliners swerving in on their approach. I’m quite sure I’m not exaggerating when I remember them flying right by my 7th story window. But memory is like that, magnifying and minimizing and filtering experience as suits its narrative game.
That memory in turn, transports me to another in which I am at an airport, transfixed by the roar of turbines and large machines, watching wide-eyed as jumbo jets taxi on the runways under glaring lights. I am 5 or 6, a visitor is departing, I can’t remember who. I am in a state of delighted awe at the loudness of this landscape, noisy with light and sound and motion that pushes the night backwards into the surrounding darkness. A sphere of humming activity in the hours I associate only with sleep. It is the place where people go to depart this world, where they are launched toward the faraway shapes of color that appear on maps.
Airports still strike me as good metaphors for the journeys and the points of transit that the human soul must eventually embark upon. Flat open spaces with good visibility, allowing for infinite views. Large sanctuaries for the souls that have gathered there to wait for unseen forces that will carry them off.
The landing sites for alien ships that people transpose onto desert buttes are also metaphors for the sacred places where their souls will wait for their god to come at the appointed time and pick them up and shuttle them into the next world. Points of transit between this world and the landscape of their dreams. Which is also a good description for the transporting powers of those memories that take us almost all the way back to places near the beginning.