We are each made up of volumes of memories that create our present, our future, and our past. Each year we take in memories and impressions, which are then filed and stored within us mentally.
We choose for ourselves what memories we are going to keep ready and available at the forefront of our minds so that we can quickly pull them out and revisit them or tell a story about them. And we choose the memories that we are going to keep way back in the back of that filing cabinet, in the dark, dusty parts of the unconscious.
But here’s the thing, those memories, need to be weeded through regularly. Like tending to a garden, after planting the flowers we still occasionally need to pull out the weeds that have crept in.
The reason for weeding through the memories, even the unpleasant ones, is so that our consciousness can keep evolving. If we think of it in terms of having a storage cabinet of space. We can not purchase an additional unit of space, we are born with what we have. We have to get rid of the memories, typically in the deep back that we don’t want to look at often so that we have more room in the forefront for joy, for love, for laughter.
Repressing the memories of sadness or anger or hurt can create some serious health problems within us. The main one being that we can become triggered by something and we don’t realize what it is. Sometimes that thing that triggers us will be a person in our lives who will say something that is exactly like the person that hurt us, the memory that you’re storing in the deep dark recesses of the cabinet. Someone randomly will say something or sound exactly like that person who caused you pain or will do a mannerism like them and whoosh -that memory comes flooding right to the forefront of your mind. You then react to it with years of anger and years of hurt because you’ve been holding on to that file back there and carrying it around from place to place for so long. The unfortunate part of this is often the person who triggered you is not the person who deserves that energy in their lives that you are now giving them.
That’s why it is so important to go through these memories and weed out the ones you no longer need to hold on to. In the world of recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous, it’s called making amends. It’s an important step in recovery to go through and weed out the memories of where you have been wronged and where you have caused harm to someone else. You don’t need to tell anybody necessarily that you’re doing this, I mean in the recovery world we do, you do tell people that you’re doing this step on your path of recovery but for the folks who are just trying to live a better life, you don’t have to inform other people. You can just process it yourself.
Finding ways for ourselves to release these memories and emotions can vary greatly by each individual. I like to do my weeding while on my yoga mat, during a series of repetitive movements. Whether that is going through several sun salutations or shapeshifting from one pose like a side stretch to then moving over to the opposite side of the body and doing the same stretch. When I’m shapeshifting or doing a repetitive sequence, I like to close my eyes and that’s when I feel like I can really process the memories. By closing my eyes I get rid of the visual distractions and I can simply feel my body and think of these memories. There is no fear that I’m gonna bump into something or someone, I know where my space is on my mat while also allowing the breath to be my constant companion. This allows us to just breathe into the body and get into that deep subconscious mind and weed out the things that are not serving us to be our best selves. And making much-needed room for more joy, more love, and more laughter in our lives.