Posts Tagged ‘forget’

remembering presence

July 6, 2010

Memory is a particularly peculiar human trait. While we are all born with an instinctive memory that prompts us to let others know when we are hungry or cold (or even just lonely), we have to learn everything else – even how to be human. Learning to be human is a lifelong process, not one that ends at whatever arbitrary age of emancipation our laws might choose.

What we remember and what we forget also shapes our humanness. We have our short-term memories and our long-term memories. A lot of what we choose to remember depends upon how much and how often we are going to need that knowledge. We also choose to remember significant events in our lives . . . significant being self-defined not event-defined. Some of the events I remember from my childhood “didn’t happen that way” according to my parents and siblings. Well, they didn’t happen to them that way, but they happened to me that way. If I want to change how I remember a particular event, only now as an adult am I able to look back and take a different perspective.

I have also forgotten many, many events from my childhood and adolescence largely because I choose not to focus on them. What is the most difficult for me to forget is my way of being in the world. I learned to be human in a dysfunctional family that was only a microcosm example of the larger dysfunctional world. It is how I learned to survive and giving up any survival mechanism threatens my safety at a primordial level. Yes, I believe at some deeper level of my being that if I change, I will die.

I think a lot of people have this belief and are just unaware of it, but I cannot speak for them. I can only speak to how I work to change this belief each time it surfaces in my life. As any forgotten memory that has been living in my subconscious rises to the surface level of consciousness and becomes remembered, I have to note if that memory is associated with my current way of being in the world. That I have released the memory from my place of forgotten events means my higher presence, my eternal presence, knows that I am ready to deal with that way of being in the world. The memory serves as a sentinel pointing to a seminal event that could be inclusive of every other event where I made a decision of that particular way of being in the world.

At that point, I can take the event outside of me, place it on the movie screen, and get a little distance. I can watch me as a child go through the event and my decision-making process. I can ask me what I needed then and, as an adult, I can give my inner child now what she could not get then. I respect her so much for the decisions she made to keep us alive and secure until we reached adulthood and could take care of ourselves.

Then I invite her to come join and be with all that I am and let me the adult take care of us. The child who I was then integrates with the whole of me and suddenly there is a space for a new way of being in the world. How I am going to be in that new space comes from a greater whole me.

I do not forget the event but now it no longer has as much power over my way of being in the world. Forgetting has served its purpose and now I can safely remember and acknowledge events without reliving my life, without feeling now what I felt then.

As I move into my new way of being in the world, I still bring with me that wealth of experience, and experience is not something we forget.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass