I use my memories as a path of healing.
In yesterday’s post ‘Start with joy’, I write about finding joy in my physical connection to an image of beauty, to water and earth, and to a memory of myself at three years old.
For me, the process of finding a healing memory is intuitive. I trust that I can recall all of my life, and that I can use what I recall to bring myself to wholeness and health. The type of emotions in the memory make no difference, whether my head is judging them comfortable or painful. I choose to use all of my life in this healing.
This takes love. In the process of ‘I Remember’, the love I use can be for anything. It can be for a person, an animal, a place, a toy, a pair of shoes. Love is connection, and gives somewhere to begin. The point is the feeling, and the stronger it is, the better. Love includes trust and acceptance. It allows me to trust and accept the process I am doing, my memories, and myself.
This is what I do.
I choose a space where I feel comfortable, safe, and private. Most often, I use my studio where I write and draw. My studio is my heart and my nest. It is filled with things I love, that make me feel happy and inspired—toys from my childhood, favourite books, handmade gifts from family and friends, photographs. These things are play, beauty, and heart.
A quiet atmosphere is necessary. It is vital that I hear only my inner voice during this process. I close the door. My family is used to this now, but initially it took some training for all of us. I learned to know that I am worthy of time alone with myself, and my family learned that my temporary absence would not create disaster. They understand not to interrupt me or disturb my privacy. I use earplugs or relaxing music to mask any noise in the house. This allows me to focus.
I sit or lay on my studio couch. I make sure I am warm and comfortable, using pillows, blankets, whatever I feel I need.
I relax, body and head. I become aware of feeling the couch beneath me, the pillows behind my back and the blanket on my legs. I let my breathing slow and deepen naturally. This process lets me become consciously present and aware.
I move my awareness into feeling love. To do this, I picture something or someone I love unconditionally. I let my body and senses fill with the feeling of love. I let go of thinking and focus solely on feeling. This opens my heart.
I take all the time my body, head, heart, and spirit require to relax completely into this feeling of love.
From here, I move into my memories in one of two ways. In the first method, I choose to think about what I am searching for, for example, an emotion of pure joy like that I tell of in yesterday’s post ‘Start with joy’. I let my thoughts wander with a purpose of finding remembered joy. In the second method, I move into a memory through a sensation in my body. In ‘Start with joy’, I move from feeling my bare feet on my studio chair, to the memory of my bare feet on the wood of the hallway floor when I was three years old.
This is intuition, trust, and connection working in me. My head automatically makes connections. It is built to work this way, one thought following another, slipping from the present moment into memory, then back to the present. I make use of this, but rather than letting my head wander on its own, I aim towards a specific feeling. When found, the feeling moves me directly into the whole memory.
Once I am in the memory, I let it flow. I don’t allow my head to judge, comment, or edit. I focus on feeling with all of my senses. What does my body feel? What do I see, hear, smell, taste? What am I wearing? Am I moving, or am I still? Where am I? Am I alone or with someone? The more details I experience, the more alive the memory becomes.
When I do this process, my head is in memory, but my body feels the sensations now. It does not differentiate between memory and the present moment. It reacts in the same way. The joy in my memory of being three years old is in my body now, every time I recall it.
This memory in ‘Start with joy’, and the feeling of it in my adult body, was the beginning of real healing for me. I replaced the physical feelings of pain and exhaustion from the fibromyalgia with the feelings of pure joy and movement, and reminded my body of how it was meant to feel. I recalled this memory several times a day. Each time, I let my body fill with the sensations of joy and movement. I let the feelings take me over so that I felt only that, and soaked in it. My body responded more quickly and easily each time, and the feelings became more full and intense. My head began to respond as well, shifting into joy, love, happiness, and play.
The joy in my body opened my head, heart, and spirit. Over time, it moved me into becoming whole and well.
Choose this. Start with joy.