MINDFUL THEATER SERIES: Reshaping Bad Memories

Memories… we all have them. Memories are a collection of events that we have been through, that gather in our brain like a photo album and remain with us for years, sometimes for the rest of our life. Some memories cause us to smile, and other memories bring about a different facial expression! Fright. Shame. Anger. Bewilderment. Sorrow. Regret. Curiosity. And dismay, among others non-noted.

Each memory come alive also arrives energized, with a touch of reality, but all memories influence our emotions, in whichever way the memory exists. A memory of a happy event naturally carries with it the verve that makes us smile and warms our heart. Conversely, a memory of an unpleasant event naturally carries with it the verve that makes us frown and fans the flames of unrest in our heart! The main question here is, how do you really want to feel, at every moment in your life?

The one-thing that we never escape is the fact of “events” [circumstances and situations] in everyday life! On earth, we are not in Paradise! We are only capable of experiencing uninterrupted paradise if that is where we are, either, in non-physical manner, or within our deliberate mental-framework. But, to believe that on the earth we are ever going to be problem-free and untouched by all of the wrongness that exists, is a sure way to open the door to those impacts and set ourselves up for huge disappointment and much despair! We cannot escape the experiences that life throws at us; they will come, and they will test us, engage us, work us, and do their best to pull us to them and own us!

Always bear in mind that we are surrounded by people with all kinds of dynamics; some people are kindhearted and others might be crude and cruel! But all of them have only the exact amount of [your personal] power that you give away to them. The main question here is, who are you and how do you really want to feel, at every moment of your life?

Many of us hold on to memories [past events] as if our very life depends upon them! This can be good, or this can be bad; it all depends on which memory we are choosing to entertain. Some of those memories [again, past events] ring in with such force, they leave little room, in the here-and-now, for us to find the time and strength to create new happiness for ourselves and experience the kinder present-day events!

We hold on to our *past events and the memory of them* so tightly, we actually assume that they have that great of a stronghold on us and we can’t help it or escape it! Hogwash! Those memories and those past events care nothing about you now, so why let yourself get carried away, to a private hell, by them? Memories no longer are living things; they are only “pictures” in the photo album inside your Memory Bank. They now are only within that “History” file solely to serve as “lessons” learned or unlearned -that we, with any smarts and desire to feel good at all times, might look at the memory, ponder it for a moment, and then smile because you can return it to its file, with a new feeling towards it, and come away from it, to go and enjoy your present life.

Resolving the Unresolved

There are those of us who feel a profound unrest when a past event renders itself unresolved. I was once that type of individual. Something in my nature believed that all situations were to be, complete; no loose ends were to arise untied and all over the place, otherwise, it wouldn’t sit right with me and I’d feel compelled to “do something about it!” I had to experience Closure, have the last word, the last say, if I was to feel OK with the plaguing situation. But I found out, very quickly, that not all situations reach closure in the manners that we envision they should!

From the time that I was a small child, I had issues with my mother. We had a terrible, dysfunctional relationship. The dynamics herein, between us, were such that the effects on me required years of therapy for me! I knew that I was falling apart, that I needed “help” or I would see the end of me, and I went and sought that assistance, because I preferred feeling good rather than bad. After countless sessions, of talking about nothing but my dysfunctional relationship with my mom, my counselor suggested that I go and confront her. He helped me work up the courage, helped me build up my strength and resolve, to put an end to all of the hurt and sorrow that mom had created for me. The time came when I felt ready to confront my mother, and, in next week’s session, I would come back to my therapist with my report on the proposed confrontation.

“So, how did it go last week with your mom?” my therapist asked me. I winced, and answered, “My mom died!” and watched, the blondish beard at his jawline elongate, as his mouth dropped open. He then cracked a shocked smile, and said, “What, did you kill her?” as his eyes swerved somber. “No, I didn’t kill her! She died of cirrhosis of the liver. … And I never got the chance to confront her!” I replied.

My therapist responded with a, “WOE…!” but never exactly conveyed his reason for that reaction. Did it have to do with the cause of my mother’s death? I’ll venture to say, yes, because he then offered me different ways to “conquer” my mother, now that she no longer lives. Her “effects” on me were here and ever-so prevalent, but the poor woman herself left the earth, never knowing how I really felt about every hurtful thing that she put me through. All I had left of her were my endless memories and countless [past] events, and the effects that these left on me, and the desire to be, healed from this.

Reshaping bad Memories

I had work to do, lots of work to engage, daily, because I always wanted and still want to feel good. And you do also, if you truly want to feel good, at all times! I had lost the opportunity to personally and directly confront my mother, but I gained every chance to beat down those memories I renamed “Demons.” I learned that, although past events occurred, and they shaped me into the broken person I [almost] became, the memory of them, although they still remain, are only pictures in my mind of former times that I now can redesign. Reshaping bad memories can be a manner of task as simple as remolding a lump of dough from its round shape to a perfectly square one, and we can have fun doing it! I learned that we can turn a bad memory or a bad thought into a ridiculously funny event, if we apply ourselves that way. I tried it, and it works!

Because a past event resides now behind us, and no longer has any power over us because it isn’t occurring in the present! When the memory of that event arises, and causes us [because we let it] feelings of sadness, despair, fear, regret, shame, or sorrow, that’s the time to jump in, take that memory by its horns and turn it into the most ridiculous, funniest thing you ever saw! Take that memory and add your own brand of comedy to it. Calculate your attack on it, use your imagination for the right reason. See that memory, that arose to tempt you into feeling bad, as the powerless remembrance, you now have turned it into, and laugh at “it.”

Wakey-Wakey, the entire time that you been sitting in your funk, over the bad memories that plagued you, YOU could have been tearing down those strongholds, with your new set of Crayons, and likewise simultaneously enjoying your current life. It is ALL in how we react to all events: former, present, and future ones; that will determine just how rested we seek to feel. Don’t take life so seriously and don’t be so hard on yourself. Have a go-at-it and start reshaping bad memories into setting you free.

I can hear it already, the…”Oh, but what if the past events were so harsh, cruel, and heart-breaking, one can only feel unhappy about them when recaptured?” responses. I respect that; I myself have lost many loved ones through very appalling deaths, so I know how difficult and unwise it is to turn those memories into comedy, there is nothing funny about the heart-wrenching situations we all have endured. That still, I recommend you find a gentler way to come to terms with those memories of former events. Understanding, goes a long way…