When Forgotten Memories Pop Up

I am rather lackadaisical with my sleepwear. You might find it hanging on a hook in the bathroom, or draped across the back of a chair until it is time for it to be laundered as I do wear it more than one night.

Yesterday, after making my bed, I picked up my pajamas and began to fold them. I was suddenly struck by a memory that had not crossed my mind in 40 years!

When we were children, we folded our pajamas and they were placed under our pillow. Then the bed was made and we went about our day. When bedtime rolled around again, we pulled back the covers and dressed for bed.

What makes a memory – dormant for years – rise to the surface? I think it was triggered by the simple act of folding my worn pajamas which I normally would never do.

It makes me wonder how many memories I do not recall, but are still catalogued and present in my mind. I have done a lot of writing prompts designed to increase recollection. They do not produce profound results for me.

When my aunt passed away, I was given a stack of letters I had written to her. She had bundled them together and saved them all. As I read through them, I could scarcely remember the events detailed in the letters. I suppose people who journal and keep diaries have a better remembrance of their lives. I have burned or destroyed more journals than I ever kept.

The book of my life is kept behind some mental lock and key, perhaps never to be read by another. I suppose it will disappear when I do.

For now, though, I fondly remember the act of folding my pajamas and slipping them under my pillow.

Have you ever experienced something similar? A minor memory triggered by perhaps by a simple every day task? Did you ever keep your sleepwear tucked under your pillow?

The human mind never ceases to amaze me.


Reclaiming What Once Was

JayDuck, Piscataqua River Bridge 01, CC BY-SA 3.0

Day 318

I once lived in Maine. I was a different person then. I was very happy when I started my journey but unfortunately it did not end that way. I remember the day I left Maine and drove over the Piscataway River Bridge. Then when I drove out of New Hampshire, I breathed a sigh of relief like I had never known. I was leaving this part of New England and its associated trauma behind me. I swore I would never go back.

It has been 23 years and I haven’t been back. 23 years of associating places with trauma. 23 years to realize that my trauma is long over and the place had nothing to do with the trauma.

I’m going back.

I mentioned here before about attending a women’s retreat in October. This retreat came about so organically and so spiritually that when I was asked if I would attend, I never hesitated.

I never told my friend who is organizing the retreat about this. Honestly, I never gave it much thought until I started planning the part of the trip leading up to the retreat. Seeing familiar road names and familiar towns and cities made me realize what this step means in me becoming whole again.

The funny thing about triggers is that we often associate a place, a smell, a song, etc., with bad experiences. It takes a lot of work to overcome those associations. We allow our minds to recreate situations that have long since gone.

I am taking my power back.

I was lucky. I found my way. It takes time and work and self-healing. It does not happen overnight. For some people, the trauma is so severe, the work may take a lifetime.

In October I will drive over familiar territory. I will do some fully fledged tourist leaf-peeping. I will feel the cool breeze of remembrance on my face. I will watch the mighty Atlantic crash onto the rocky shores of the Maine coast-line. I will walk under covered bridges and drive the winding roads through the hills of Vermont.

Then I will settle into New Hampshire with a group of women — most of whom I do not know. I will breathe in the lessons that wait for me there. I have no expectations other than to be in the moment. I am led there by my heart.

I accept the spiritual guidance leading me there. And I love that.

I know Linda hopes these posts will be light-hearted and for me this has truly lightened my heart. If you want to join in the practice of One Liner Wednesday, head over to Linda’s place for the rules and take time to read what others have written.