Today, I asked Spirit, is there an opposite to mourning for what I’ve lost? There must be something else - this place hurts too much! There must be something different than gratitude! Being grateful for what I have is not touching me where I need to be touched!
“Yes,” the answer came. “Climb into the essence of your most wonderful memories.” Be grateful for the opportunity to have the experiences that now dwell in your memory.... but do not dwell on what is lost - climb into the joy of your most cherished memories.
So I began to collect my most treasured memories one by one and climb into them for a while. Within a few days, my spirits began to lift up from the depression I had been drowning in.
I collected memories of doing special things with my father. I felt special when we walked hand in hand along the seashore. I felt grown up when he took me to work with him during school vacations and taught me how to do some of the work he did. I felt the sense of adventure when he took me to the outdoor market in downtown Boston during the summer to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. He also took me to the auto show where I saw all kinds of creations other than the autos I’d seen on the streets. I felt a sense of awe when he took me for walks to see all the Christmas store displays. I felt exhilarated when he taught me to drive in his Volvo. There is no room for both feelings of rejection and the joy of these memories. So now I must choose, if even for today, to be in the joy of memories.
Gratitude implies being in the present. If there is one thing I can be grateful for right now are all the cherished memories I have collected from the past. I can mourn and cry for what I lost and never had, but maybe just for today, I can go back in time and feel what I felt then. After all, what else are memories for?
All my memories are weaved together as intricately as a spider’s web - connected to each other with every emotion I’ve ever felt. I was given free will to choose - which includes choosing what part of that web I spend my time in. I can choose to drown in sorrow or I can choose to immerse myself in joy.
Old habits are stubborn. It seems like most of us are naturals at drowning in muck - but you can’t be both places at the same time.....I can sift through the memories like I would sift through a pile of sand and find the treasures in all my past experiences. Or I can choose anger and tears by focusing on the part that hurts.
I can choose to be hurt and angry at every boy (including the ones that lived in grown men) that used me and hurt me - or swoon in the memories of each “fatal attraction.” I could mourn the loss of my dreams to be happily married, have a house and raise children - or be in the joy of how free I felt when I was on my own again.
I can mourn and cry for each love that I lost - or be in the bliss of every memory they gave me. I can imagine a new love and be in the bliss as if it already is. I can imagine someone climbing inside my soul, wrapping his arms around me, and feeling completely safe and secure in his embrace.
And Jesse. Do I dwell on the mess he constantly makes? Or do I bless the trail of his existence? Without him, there would be no mess. Do I dwell on the annoying noises he makes or the fact that he watches too much TV and listens to “awful” music? If I had to choose between having him in my life with the mess, the noises, the music and the TV, or his never having been here at all....I’d bless the mess. I’d bless the noise. This is who and what he is and I bless his existence in my life! Do I dwell on the fact that he’s a teenager and no longer wants to be home....or be happy I’ve done a good job raising a child who believes in himself enough to do this?
I immerse myself in college, homework, motherhood, reading, photography, music, research, writing, walking, healing, and memories. Do I stay sad and mourn all that I’ve lost and never had or do I climb inside the joy of the memories?
Today, I’ll immerse myself in memories, and be grateful for every single one.