One of the great things about being the owner of my particular – and peculiar – brain is that I often don’t remember what I’ve read, or the movies I’ve watched, or apparently what I’ve written. It’s actually quite delightful, because showing up to watch the same movie multiple times I can have just as much fun as the first time. I even get surprised, though admittedly recognition memory does kick in now and then.
The downside, alas, is that I have trouble remembering names, where I left my keys, and sundry other, occasionally handy details. Apparently I even have trouble remembering what I write, because it turned out that I’d already written about several of the ideas I generated for the Problogger challenge, for which today’s assignment is a story post. It seems that, though I recall my own life stories pretty well, I don’t always remember the telling.
Alas for the challenge, to repost the old stories is cheating, and to tell it again in a different voice seems odd. I thought first that this is a problem. Damn my memory failures. Wasted time. What’s the matter with you?
When are memory failures a good thing?
But what if this is the way it’s supposed to work? Each moment new. Every walk down each familiar path a new moment, a fresh experience. Each encounter with the people we know an opportunity for showing up to experience them anew, to (re)learn something about them we didn’t know. What would the world be like?
Years ago I sat with a friend, lamenting the death of a romantic relationship that was clearly and finally on the rocks. The killing blow was that I couldn’t be the person my lover wanted me to be; I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, sophisticated enough. I wasn’t enough. My life felt a mess. I said to my friend,
You know, I’ve never really wanted all that much in life. All I ever really wanted was tp show up. To be really present.”
She responded, voice dripping with friendly sarcasm,
Oh, no big deal then. All you want is to be enlightened.”
My peculiar brain has conspired to teach me this one thing, I think: when you are present in life, everything is familiar, and yet new. Meditation and prayer don’t carry us off to some mystical place. Instead, with luck, it leaves you, just and completely, exactly where you’ve always been.
Now if only I can remember how this story ends, the next time I sit down to tell it.
Dr. Les Kertay