• caitliner

Remembering - An Invitation

I love memories and I love remembering them, even the painful ones because they remind me that I am alive and trying, laughing and crying. Lately, I've struggled to remember and to conjure up events and experiences even just from the past year. Perhaps, it is pandemic brain and the collective trauma we have all faced together. Whatever it is, it makes me uncomfortable and I've been working on remembering the things that bring me joy.

Memories serve us in all kinds of ways from lessons learned, to knowing joy and sorrow, to connecting with people and places all over the world. In my exploration of my jumbled mind and memories, I'm learning, though, that the act of remembering goes so much deeper than sentimentality.

As I was walking through the forest recently, I chose to set my senses free and tried to clear my mind as much as possible in hopes of tuning into the breath of the forest.

It is incredible what a little bit of intention will do in shifting your focus from your to-do list to your wilderness.

All of a sudden, I felt the cool Spring air tickle my arms raising up the goosebumps, and then wafts of Earthy fragrance drifted through my orbit. The birdsongs were clear as day and rang through the tree branches with hopeful, purposeful chirps.

What was I experiencing?

I think I was remembering. I wasn't remembering childhood hikes or climbing trees, but something much deeper and instinctive and hard to put into words.

It is my belief that we are born with a natural knowing and instinct connected to the cycle of life. This means that there are innate desires and parts of our being that are tied to a community of ancestors - human and nonhuman. The problem is, though, that our environments, societal expectations, and cultural norms begin chipping away at the truth as we get older and more aware of those things. It isn't that the truth is lost forever but it takes work to remember.

Why is it important to remember?

Well, many people live without remembering for a lot of different reasons, so you don't have to do this work. However, I'll bet that if you choose to do this work it will enhance the meaning and direction of your life in ways you wouldn't know beforehand. It will do this because you are opening yourself and reconnecting to a past that it is incredibly grand, exquisite, and powerful. We usually don't know what to look for at the beginning of the journey or where were headed. However, who wouldn't want to have this channel of energy and wisdom accessible to them?

Now, it's obviously hard to quantify this kind of stuff because it is such a subjective experience but I dare you to just give it a try. I dare you to find a quiet place in the forest, by a stream, in a valley meadow, or in the desert and set an intention.

  • Your intention: Sink into the wilderness around you and find what that evokes in the wilderness within you.

  • Focus on your breath until it is slow and deep.

  • Then focus on all of your senses one at a time: Touch, Taste, Sound, Vision, Smell (and any other senses that you feel tuned into!)

I invite you to write down what you find in a journal or make a mental note, or maybe even sketch it out. It does not have to be a life-altering realization. All you have to do is notice.

Do this a few times and start to ask your inner wilderness what it remembers that you haven't been conscious of lately.

Now, tell me. What was that like?

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