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Remember, Remember

I’m not sure I’ve ever really connected before that there are two such significant ‘remembering’ events so close together, until this weekend when I saw a poppy and started chanting to myself ‘remember, remember’ only to realise the two had got crossed over in my head.

Of course my pedant brain kicked in at that point to qualify that, for most of us now at any rate, ‘remembering’ isn’t really the right concept for either occsasion so much as learning, understanding and honouring what has gone before so that we do not find ourselves there again.

While increased distance in time from such things is of course a good thing (if only such turmoil could become entirely a relic of the past!) and can bring benefits in the context of perspective and objectivity, there is also a risk that we lose something in the process. Memory can be a tricky thing. Remembering, real remembering, is (or at least can be) visceral, consuming, compelling. Strong memories are very often linked to strong emotion, and why you can more easily and vividly remember significant events from decades ago but not where you left the keys this morning. This can be problematic in its own way – the same subjectivity that creates the poignancy of association makes it more difficult to be, well, objective, or rational, to distinguish fact and reality from point of view and feeling.

This is not a bad thing. There are so many things that SHOULD be subjective, that are about feelings over analysis, experience over rationale, effect over cause. Minimising, disregarding or neglecting the actual tangible impact to actual tangible people in favour of objective analysis, facts, figures or any other quantifiable measure (particularly if that measure relates to what is ‘rational’ or, worse, ‘normal’) means losing a valuable learning opportunity, the chance to connect, the chance to understand, the chance to change.

Balancing the ability to acknowledge and comprehend your own memories, experiences, thoughts and feelings and to then question them, to challenge them and to objectively assess them is a massive part of any path or practice, not least in your dealings with others. I hark on about journalling a lot (certainly in the workshops) but this is another area where it can be an invaluable tool – faithfully relating your feelings about something without editorialising will not only provide you with a reliable point of reference and future aid (as I said earlier, memory can be a tricky thing) it will also serve as a starting point for ongoing understanding and learning, preserving and honouring the poignancy, the feelings and the emotion which recollection might otherwise dilute while acting as a foundation for development and growth.

(Or, if nothing else, as something to laugh and / or cry about as needed!)