I spent the first month and a half of my summer vacation doing little other than resting and relaxing. I thought I would embark on a project to make myself feel like I accomplished something this summer. I have a big bin of photos that I've been meaning to sort and place in albums for years now. Every time I even consider embarking on such a feat I get weary at just the thought of it. I decided now is the time to delve in and just do it! The hundreds and hundreds of photos were thrown in without little to no order. The pictures spanned my childhood, the upbringing of my son, my family, pets, marriage, friends and my son's family from my ex-husband.
A few years ago someone told me that if you left photos in the old albums the acid would eat away at the photos, so in a panic I started ripping the photos out of the album and tossed them into a plastic bin without any forethought, rhyme or reason.
As I sat there sorting the photos into categories I wondered why it never occurred to me to put them in envelopes based on events rather than being so haphazard. I realized it was a reflection of where I was at the time. I had been in a very scattered state of being. I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.
I had to forgive myself for not living up to my present set of expectations. The photos of my family and friends and the memories that they elicit are so precious to me. I wanted to take the time in this moment to honor their significance and pay homage to my past. Perhaps I haven't been conscious and aware at all times in my life, and things got jumbled and tossed aside, but I've been given the opportunity at this time to set things in order so I took it. Symbolically and metaphorically, this does not go unnoticed by me.
I spent a few hours a day sorting the photos, placing them in individual albums and reflecting on the past. I must admit it brought up a great deal of emotions and feelings. I relived some very happy moments in my life. I also re-experienced the pain of seeing my failed marriage, relationships that didn't work out, friends that I missed, family members where there are rifts in the relationship. I know that it is all part of the process of life; the good and the bad. I felt melancholy seeing smiling faces, filled with hope and expectation, knowing things weren't going to necessarily turn out the way they suspected. If only I could forewarn and prepare them for what was to come!
I felt nostalgic seeing those that I cared for who were now long gone from my life. I reassured my past self that one day I would reunite with some. I told my future self that miracles do happen.
It occurred to me that we are the memory keepers. We are recording the imprints of our life. We have the power to change it. We cannot alter the past, nor do we know what the future holds, however, we don't have to hold onto the energy of our life story in our energetic bodies. By releasing the past we can move forward in our lives and not be burdened by our story. We have the power to create new imprints and experiences through the healing and letting go process.
I realized that around the time that I took these photos out of the albums to preserve them and tossed them into this big plastic bin that my life was in a tremendous state of upheaval with great bursts of spiritual growth and healing. In an unconscious way, I uprooted all the memories, both the good and the bad, and I placed them in safekeeping. I allowed myself to work through my issues, let go of the past, release belief systems that were imposed upon me and weren't working in my life, and heal the child within. I have spent these past years setting my house in order.
This past year was really looking at my core issues, finding ways of doing things that brought peace, order and happiness into my life, and discard co-dependent behaviors. It has indeed been a huge undertaking and process, but one that is definitely worth the effort. I feel this is what is happening for many (if not most) of us at this time.
On an unconscious level I was ready to reflect on my past, set things in order, reminisce, and then close the chapter (photo albums) so that I could be ready to move on to a new chapter. It's interesting to note that in the spiritual healing process many of my old memories have been either wiped out or neutralized. I was able to be the witness self to the events rather than the participant.
I reflected on how many people that I deeply care for came and went from my life. I felt the pain of losing loved ones to death and/or the ending of a relationship. I saw the amount of loss I have dealt with in my life. I was able to feel compassion and kindness for myself, which lead to a deeper understanding of what shaped me in becoming who I am today.
The premise behind writing this series of articles in Cultivate Life! was that I thought it would be great if I could share with my younger self all the wisdom and knowledge I had acquired. I wanted to time travel to assist myself on the journey of life. Looking at the pictures I wish I could lend comfort or advice to myself at various stages, knowing that many things wouldn't play out as I was expecting.
What has occurred to me is that all we can do is be open to all the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer us. We don't necessarily know what is in our best interest all the time. Things that we really want aren't available to us, opportunities we aren't keenly aware of or interested in are given to us. If we can stay alert and conscious in the present moment we can navigate through the potentials to arrive at a place that will bring us contentment and happiness.
There are many upheavals that are occurring in our world. Some which affect us deeply and some that affects us indirectly. Either way, as we tend to set our own lives in order, we will not be set off kilter by the tumultuous occurrences happening around us. Everything that is going on is bringing us into a deeper state of awareness. We are striving for self-mastery and ownership over our own lives. The more in balance we are mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, the better prepared we will be when opportunities present themselves. Furthermore, the more in alignment we are, the less chances the chaos the world is experiencing will set us off course.
Life is a snapshot. A series of snapshots. We are meant to live in the moment. Treasure our loved ones. I know we tell them, "I love you" but take it one step further and really "see" (witness) them for who they are. Really be with the ones you love and care about in the moment, because really, all we have is now.