I had a really great conversation over the weekend. A friend’s wise father shared a perspective which really resonated with me. When we are truly present to a moment, it exists in one’s memory as an isolated snapshot in time, timeless and unconnected to the past or the future. A blink. Only when we attach negative emotional charge to a moment do we create a timeline or story. Otherwise moments just exist, almost apart from time.
I’ve been working with a mantra to the Earth over the past month, that is supposed to recalibrate and reorganize my consciousness. Since starting this process, I’ve had emotionally-uncharged memories float into my consciousness – things I haven’t thought about in years and that I have really no reason to recollect.
This experience with the Earth mantra and my conversation about memories and timelines prompted me to reflect in more detail on the moments in my memory. Below are the flashes in my life that I most readily remember, when I scan through my past. There is no story to the memories, other than that they are beads on the chronologic necklace of my life.
I’m surprised. I thought there would be more stories. I thought there would be more romance, more tragedy, more people. To me, this is a sign of the stories’ completion and resolution. I’m pleased that many of the downs were furthest from my consciousness.
Lately, I found myself telling my friends, “I’m really tired of telling my story.” It’s not important –the events, the chronology. It shaped me, but it is not me. I am not my past or my story. You are not your story, so stop telling yourself your story.
All I hold in my hand are the beads of this mala. Incantation after incantation, bead after bead, memory after memory. And then I wrap it around my neck and wear its blessings with pride and power. I AM. I LOVE.
I invite you to write out your own memories from childhood on up, as an exercise to see where there is a still a story needing attention and resolution. It is so freeing to detach from your story. Then all that’s left is a series of blinks — isolated beads garlanding you and your life.
- A Garfield birthday cake – I wanted the piece with his pink nose on it. It was a lesson in sharing, as I remember my Mom saying, “We serve our guests first.”
- Playing alone in my attic bedroom with brown carpet. Imagination. Really wishing I could turn a handful of peanuts into a snickers bar, as demonstrated in the popular TV commercial.
- Following my sisters’ lead in putting stockings on our heads, twisting them into a make-believe braid, and running around the house like crazy girls, tossing our long nylon locks around.
- Building a strawberry shortcake-modeled pram which was so pretty. Being so proud and excited, but then crying as I trailed after my naughty sister that took hold of it and wheeled it all around the house.
- Neon pink, bowed pumps which were the prettiest thing I ever owned.
- Coloring books on the carpet while the rain poured outside, never staying in the lines.
- 4 TV channels with no program guide. Discovering Carebears was on! but usually mid-episode.
- My eldest sister practicing her maquillage skills by putting extravagant amounts of make-up on me and my sister. Then we piecing together an out-fit from my Mom’s old saris, learning a dance choreography from an Indian movie, and sitting down my grand-mother and really anyone that came over to watch our performance.
- Saturday modern dance class with weekly raffles, where I somehow always won the prize. I remember being told I was lucky.
- Pizza topped with pineapples, green peppers, onions, and corn.
- 5th grade Sex Ed. where I flipped through pictures of the Tanner stages of puberty and thought, “I’m going to look like that.”
- Slow Saturday mornings in my pajamas sitting around with my parents, as one sibling at a time would wake up and join the group – always with the Indian radio droning in the background.
- Feeling invisible in my bed. Wanting attention from my parents. Thinking if I retreated from the group – I might be noticed.
- Feeling fear at being female. Walking down the street, aware of being vulnerable and a potential target of abuse.
- Chanting bija mantras with my family under the guidance of a teacher.
- Rubbing Noxema into my face for 15 minutes twice daily.
- Charting out my day in 15 minute intervals.
- Memorizing vocabulary.
- Underlining words I didn’t know and looking them up.
- Weekly crying to my parents uncontrollably in my high school, dorm, basement telephone booth – unable to express words.
- Dragging trash bags full of second-hand finds, on a stroller in the snow back to my dorm.
- My first steamer in a cafe in a cold, sleepy Northeastern town.
- My first crush Anil.
- My first best-friend Teresa.
- New York and romance. My first real boyfriend. Such excitement! greeting me at the airport or out of a cab.
- Brazilian night Wednesdays! – dancing full-force for 5 hours every week for a year.
- Next real relationship, making up our own baby-talk language, that to this day influences my self-speech.
- Getting dressed up to hang out at the Starbucks in Dallas, West Village? Yes, don’t ask. It’s a thing.
- Making pizza with Malia, tea with Malia, whipped-up spontaneous dinners with Malia.
- Woodberry Kitchen! A sanctuary, where it was all ok for an evening.
- Biking to West Philly for sweaty ashtanga mysore at 630a and then practicing Zumba routines all day that I planned on teaching.
- Wishing I would rather die, than argue some more.
- Sunset walks in the foothills of the New Mexico mountains. Vast sky and space. Silence, solitude, and so much peace. A thunderstorm and lightening brewing in the distance.
- My first ACL back in Austin 2014. Sunset, sky, amazing DJs. Wonder and a knowing that I had arrived at my final home, and how sweet it was.
- Falling crazy, stupid in love. My life after death.
- Frantic self-inquiry. Desire to understand myself, the world, and how I relate to it all.
- The smile in my chest and the hugs with a friend, with a fortuitous work proposal.
- My first at-home do it yourself shirodara.
- Bawling on my way home from signing my mortgage. Tears of joy and wonder, that I manifested what I wished 2 years ago, and that despite life’s rapids, I arrived intact to build a home.
- Summer Sundays at the Springs.
- Peace, acceptance, connection. Love plain and simple in its purest form, with no object to my affection. Just love.
Your turn. 🙂
ps: that’s so trippy! I just counted my memories, and I have 41. The same prescription of days for chanting the Earth mantra!