Memory

Karina Schreurs
Karina Schreurs, Sep 2 2019, 3 minute readKarina has a cross cultural background working with families through her roles in health and education. Training in Occupational Therapy and post-graduate study in the Neuro-Sequential Model of Therapeutics, Cognition and Sensory Processing, position her to present neurological understanding in an easy, relevant and practical way.

I am thankful this morning that we are in spring! Winter for me can feel long, cold and everything in me wants to find my cave and be a hermit. I am envious of those who thrive in winter, who love the cool temperatures, the rain and dark. Recently I have discovered beliefs that don’t help me thrive in winter. I believe I am “solar-charged” and that being cold is the beginning of not being able to breathe and ultimately death; and dark represents danger because I can’t see clearly. This self-discovery journey has made me think a lot about memory and perspective. I grew up in the deep south on a farm and so coldness was part of life. There was nothing more amazing than coming in from the cold and standing in front of a roaring fire and warming up. Oh the joy! That pleasure when compared to outside told me being cold was unpleasant and before I knew it when I was outside I would dream of the fire. The problem with this? I missed the joy in the present. I missed feeling my lungs as I breathed deeply in the cold wind. I missed seeing the impact I could have on the life of a lamb or sheep as I would feed and care for them. And I found myself choosing life inside, I would be the cook or cleaner.

Memory is powerful, we each have a story that has come from our perspective and often from when we are young. The challenge with this is we don’t have the insight or ability to store memories much beyond good/bad, fun/boring or pleasant/unpleasant. That would be ok if that past memory then stayed as something from the past but it doesn’t. It shapes our decisions today and we can find ourselves doing or avoiding things for little reason. This is the power of memory. In my case the reason I would avoid winter.

Memory is never designed to be static. We are designed to remember and the power of remembering brings up the possibility or re-encoding that memory so that a new consolidation happens which opens us up for a new decision at a later date. Perspective helps us. Like I told myself as I relived my childhood, the fire would never have felt as good as it did if the wind was not so cold. So the wind helped me have an experience of pleasure and I could be thankful for it. This perspective is restructuring our perceptions in a way that leads us into new places of freedom and experience and I for one want to be one that embraces this. What do you avoid, or find yourself doing without much thought? And have a go at thinking through your past memories and how you can see and experience them in new ways. It opens a world of possibilities to us and ultimately new experiences.

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