By John Tamiazzo, PhD
(March 22, 2019)
Revisiting the past is a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens over and over again in the course of a single day. Simple conversations about what we did or where we went immediately take us back in time. Our life is filled with symbols from the past and these symbols stir up memories. A painting, a film, a photograph, a wine glass, a quilt, a special book, a street, a scent, or simply listening to the lyrics and melody of a song can immediately transport you back in time.
When we look at photographs, the visual image automatically takes us back in time. A single photograph can have hundreds of words associated with it, marvelous stories, and stimulate dozens of memories. When we think about things we have done, places we have traveled to, relationships we have had, or jobs we have held, we are on a sojourn in time. The imagery and related feelings can seem so real, it is like we are there again in present time.
Traveling back in time to memories can be an exhilarating experience or miserable journey, depending upon what we are thinking about. We can recall and entertain images and memories that make us sad and depressed and we can entertain images and memories that make us laugh and feel good. Recalling memories over and over that serve no positive or constructive purpose can severely narrow future possibilities for fun and enjoyment. If the stories we tell are typically dark and make us feel sad and lonely, then it will behoove us to change the dialogue. What we typically think about is likely to manifest and so it is important to realize the transforming power of our thoughts and words.
If in our time travels we primarily think back to all the things that didn’t work out as we had hoped: separations, losses, disappointments, mistakes, hurts, injustices, resentments and the like, then we are using the amazing power of the mind and imagination in very limited and perhaps unhealthy ways. But if we instead think about all the people and situations that have brought us the gift and miracle of love, then these memories will dramatically alter our consciousness.
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Sometimes our light goes out but is propelled again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.”
Who are the people that have rekindled your inner light? Perhaps it is a new friend, a lover, life partner, or character in a novel or film that brought a smile to your face. Maybe it’s the friend who listened to you when you were in the doldrums and gave you the feedback that brought clarity. Think about Schweitzer’s quote and let those wonderful memories fill your mind and open your heart. And say, thanks!
Dr. John Tamiazzo is the author of two self-help books, Returning to the Land of Oz: Finding Hope, Love and Courage on Your Yellow Brick Road; Love & be Loved: 8 Steps to Creating Intimacy & Finding the Love You Want. Visit his website www.johntamiazzo.com