Editorial Choices

There is an old joke about some elderly immigrants who are arguing over how a ritual was performed decades before in the old country. Exasperated they decided to go to the oldest member of their group who was 97. The old man replied, that while he could not remember how the ritual was performed, he could remember the contention and bickering.

What you remember as your life narrative unfolds is usually a choice. As events occur, you decide which aspects, which pictures and words you should give prominence, mull over and carefully file and which to ignore, implicitly and neglect.  You can for example choose to dwell upon and consequently remember the one occasion someone wronged you or the many in which they showed kindness. You tend to take the good in your life for granted and therefore do not focus upon it or take care to place it carefully in memory for future recollection. It is as if good is the accepted norm and bad is what stands out as something to focus on and grapple with. You tend to believe that memories of bad will serve you in some way, as if they could help to make things better in the future. All they in fact do is cause you to continuously contaminate the fresh present by re-evoking the stagnant past.   Remembering disappointment, hurt, resentment, betrayal and deprivation keeps you inner world bitter cold.

Behaviour is determined by the future not the past as most people believe. You remember things from the past because those memories, you believe will serve you in terms of some future purpose.

The first step to refreshing, renewing and reinvigorating your life is to confront how the destructive memories not only do not serve or protect you but actually cause you harm. Rather making life better, they ensure that the future remains consistent with the past. Getting rid of old negativity will leave an empty space in your awareness. You need to actively and intentionally choose to populate that space with thoughts and feelings that make you feel in life the way that you prefer to feel.  You can do this by first recollecting from your past history and relationships all that was good and positive, no matter how thin the memories. Then make a conscious effort to focus upon, richly describe and savour the good that happens daily in your life. Every moment of goodness needs to be framed and carefully placed in memory as if it is a precious gift. The all that seems to go wrong needs the part that you overlook and ignore. Place in your memory at every moment only what you will later wish to look back upon and enjoy.

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