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The memories that hold us

The memories that hold us

I’ve moved a lot lately. In the past four months I’ve moved homes three times, took myself on a three week cross-country road trip, moved my business into a new office/showroom space, set up shop and sold at a 4 day festival in Vermont and in between it all tried to keep a semblance of normality. All the while realizing it will all change again in a few months.

As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about attachments and memories and how we hold on, or not.

In early March I moved out of the sweet little cottage that had held me safe for the past 18 months. It had been sold and I was so happy for the friends whose house it was, and I was also sad for them because they realized that they were passing on a legacy of their life. The house was the home they raised all their children in. It was a home where precious tiny feet grew into adult sized shoes. Lives were fully formed among those walls and I could not help but think about the passing of time, and the slow walk toward big changes and how painful it feels to have to let go.

One morning I was moving boxes into my car and as I was walking the path to go back into the cottage I found myself fixating on a fixed, mundane scene just outside my door. The fence to the neighbors property was leaning askew and wrapped around it was a tree limb.  The roots had entwined themselves around the wooden pales as if to say “I”m not going anywhere, and neither are you”

It had clearly taken years of not letting go.

I stared at that embrace and thought, again, how much we want to hold on; to people, to places, to ideas, to relationships, to friendships, to good times, to the fleeting magic in life; to days of laughter.

It’s why we have cameras and voice recorders and artists who paint scenes and writers who write memoirs. We want to capture life so vividly but I realized that, just as quickly as we can capture it, it leaves our grasp. Or, almost the minute we take out the very thing we want to capture the moment with, we lose it

And yet, or still, we have this incredible ability to remember. In an almost cruel joke, the universe (or God or whomever you feel is your creator) will take something away but offer up the gift of knowing that it even happened at all.

Our memory wraps itself around our history,or what we want to hold on to.

The tree had wrapped its meaty limbs around the fence, or maybe the fence was built around the tree, I couldn’t quite tell. But I understood that this was how we bind to some things; where the connections feel so palpable and desirous that we  hold on without knowing who is holding who (or what) or where we end, or where we begin.

And with this simple scene I couldn’t help but wonder about how many stories are being told in any given moment and how often we, when a life choice asks us to move on, want to remember and hold on to the good times; often forgetting the bad.

As a parent looks at their their grown children, who were once small, and yearns to feel the monumental sound of a first word, the tenderness of a tiny touch or the buttery skin of new life. As we seek the freedom we felt while traveling in distant lands or the embrace that felt like a second soul you thought existed within you. Sometimes we seek these memories for comfort; reaching for them as a salve to the soul and other times they reach for us, holding us captive to nostalgia and maybe the desire for what was or the gratitude for what is.

In that moment I realized that our memories aren’t held in walls, or countries or people, or even photos – our experiences are – but these entities are just light switches to a second life. They are like rocks left on a pathway to find the way home because good memories just feel like home.

I have many fond memories of my travels – so many adventures and funny and ridiculous times that offer me a cinematic story of my life, but I don’t want to go back.  I want to be here, where I am, writing this. Sometimes I am stopped by images of my past; sublime moments in travel, tender embraces with wonderful people, deep, guttural belly laughs with my family, gut wrenching anguish of loss and disappointment.

As I looked at the limb and the fence, not knowing where it began and where it ended; the messy symmetry a knotted poetry, I knew that this connection too, would have to end eventually, to create clean territorial lines. I came to understand that perhaps it’s not what, or who we hold on to, but how we’re holding each other.

Buster the horse, and my big life lesson

When I was a young girl, I spent many weekends in country Victoria visiting my mothers’ relatives.  Along one highway lived quite a few family members and it often became a pilgrimage of food and family love; cups of tea and biscuits at one house, a few hours later we’d end up at the lake house for dinner and then in the morning we’d head off to another house for the rest of the weekend. One of my favorite stops was usually the first, to see my great aunt and second cousins, in a small country town called Seymour.  Welcoming our, often unexpected, arrival was usually a platter of sweet… Continue Reading

Love… Kristen Luther

Guest post by Kristen Luther. **I asked you want love meant to you.  How it hurt you, healed you, taught you.  Do you believe in it?  Have your thoughts about it changed?  The essay I publish wins a whole lotta love loot from my store.  Thank you for the submissions. I’m happy to announce Kristen Luther as the author of the winning essay.  Kristen is a jewelry designer, a yoga teacher and writes her own blog – go check it out!   Love. Growing up, I used to think love was this ongoing, wildly romantic date that ultimately culminated in marriage and kids….the whole bit…..and that was it.  It… Continue Reading

Images inspired by David Whyte

Besides the 500 conversations I have with myself on a daily hourly basis, I often have some kind of looped content streaming in the background  Sometimes it’s a song (“a jitterbug”), other times it’s a quote and occasionally it’s a poem.  For the past few days it’s been David Whyte’s poem “Everything is waiting for you”.  But, while this prose has been going over and over in my head it’s sort of been inspiration for the things I look at, and take pictures of.  I see something here in India and one of the lines comes up and then I take a picture.  Or, I’ve seen a picture I already have, or… Continue Reading

Valentines Day Writing Contest. What is Love?

LOVE. What does it mean? How has it challenged you? Do you still believe in it?     There is a little under a month until Valentines – the day on the calender notorious for lovers and offering symbols of affection which mostly includes last minute purchases of red roses bought from the side of the road, and dinner in an over booked restaurant. What fun! But, is this what Love is all about for you? Is this what you find romantic? For the past 2 years I’ve published something about LOVE on February 14. The first year I spent every day for 14 days, leading up to the Feb… Continue Reading

The talk of procrastination

  I vacillate between staring at the blank page and updating my facebook cover photos, instead of being a writer.  I tell myself that keeping my social media profile fresh is good for audience engagement, and I like the way the photos look together.  “There is story in this too”, I tell myself.  But, then I start reading a health article about the warning signs of a heart attack and then another about the Disneyland of colleges but I’m a healthy, slim, 37 year old woman who has no family history of heart disease and have had no problems with my heart before, and I don’t have plans to attend… Continue Reading

Note to self: Don’t run too fast

This is #9 in my Note to self newsletters.  I post them here a few days later.  Feel free to sign up below.                                  My grandfather and I on my recent trip home to Australia One of my most favorite stories my grandfather tells is of the day he had organized to catch a train from one Victorian country town to another. His father, my great-grandfather, worked on the railways at the time and held quite a respected position.  One day my grandfather needed to get to a town that, unfortunately, didn’t have a train… Continue Reading

On the 12th day of Christmas… forgot a gift! (I’m here to help)

It’s 4am and you and your spouse/partner have wrapped the last present.  He/She looks lovingly, and tiredly, into your eyes and suddenly you feel a wave rush over you and your own eyes widen.  Not in lust or recognition of the joyful seasonal tidings, but in panic.  You forgot to buy them a gift! It’s early evening on Christmas day, you hear a car pull up in the driveway.  You look out the window, it’s (insert name of friends who aren’t really close friends, who you see at parties occasionally when they corner you in the living room and talk about their boring job, kid, spouse, latest nauseating achievement), they… Continue Reading

It’s YOUR reality. Not theirs.

As a lover of words, it’s not easy to admit that there are some words that just down-right piss me off.  The word REALITY is one of them. Or at least the use of the word reality annoys me.  It’s used in a kind of negotiation to talk you down from living your dreams.  People will say things like “Well, eventually you’re going to have to come back to reality”  Or “OK, go off, do your thing with those desires of yours but you’re not living in reality” Or, my personal favorite “Yes but, the reality is……” (I have used this, but it’s mostly when I’m trying to argue my point!  That’s telling) Um. I… Continue Reading

A playlist AND a Manifesto: Content from a yoga class.

There are some yoga classes I teach that seem to come from nowhere I’ve been, a story i could never have written before – they seem to be a story that writes itself, in the moment.  As was the case in the two back to back classes I taught last night.  Fueled by the people in the room for sure – maybe I was channeling their stories, but, I hate the word channeling.  There were just a lot of stories I knew about, conversations I’ve had, wisdom I was soaking up and wringing out. I realized at the end of both classes, that I’m not the teacher at all.  I’m… Continue Reading