Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memories, Like The Corners Of Our Mind

As I drove back from Nashville today, I listened to my XM Radio. I pretty much keep it on two channels even though there are over 150 channels. My channels of choice are Oprah and Friends and Take 5. Oprah has a lot of interesting shows on a wide variety of topics so I can always find something interesting. Take 5 has Broadminded, my favorite show on the radio, and Dr. Laura. I can't stand Dr. Laura - the reasons could be a whole other post and I will do that another day. But I still get sucked into her show and reluctantly find myself listening. I hate it when I agree with her.

Today, Oprah was interviewing Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, about her book A Stroke of Insight. Dr. Taylor had a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. She was a Harvard trained brain scientist and only 37 at the time. She was reduced to the level of an infant and, through the help of her mother, had to relearn everything.

Among other fascinating things, Dr. Taylor talked about feeling as if she started her life all over again, no baggage, no relationship issues, no self-conciousness, no preconceptions about anything. She said that when her brain and body felt a "connection", basically the brain's reference to a memory, if she didn't like the feeling, she could repress the connection. Her message was that everyone has this ability. Our memories and experiences from the past are there. But we have a choice to allow them in or not. We can choose only to allow peaceful thoughts.

So I was really into this discussion. The brain and how it works fascinates me. The show ended and I had so many questions with no answers. I will have to go buy the book and read more. But I still had some drive time and continued to ponder this topic.

I began to imagine what it would be like to have no history, to start you life over in your own mind. As an adult, to relearn who you are. To go into every experience with a truly open mind. To not hold onto hurt from a relationship. To not remember the stupid mistakes you made in your youth. Although I don't believe she intended to, Dr. Taylor almost made having a stroke sound like a great thing.

I cannot imagine or comprehend it being a good thing. To give up the bad would also mean giving up the wonderful. To not remember my mom and the amazing mother she was. To not remember the birth of my children. To never recall the security of my grandmother's hand on my shoulder and waking up to the smell of her cooking breakfast in the kitchen. To not tap into the feeling of coming downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the tree, light, tinsel, and the perfect presents from Santa around the tree. That would be devastating.

I'll take the bad stuff. It is my choice how I choose to remember and use the bad stuff. I'll take the hurt and the baggage of the past. I can choose not to let the connections come in and affect me. I can choose to turn them into positive. I can choose to create a peaceful place in my mind.

I wouldn't change a thing about my life. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, growing, learning, creating new memories. Stuff happens - to us, because of us, in spite of us. It makes us who we are. I like who I am.


Wanda said...

What a wonderful wonderful post! I so agree with you. I will take the bad stuff too. I certainly wouldn't be the person I am today without lots and lots of pain and baggage.
There is another blogger I read that had a stroke and had to start over...he was a lawyer before and now teaches music to elementary children.
Thanks for a great insightful post.
LOL:) Wanda

Ruth D~ said...

Intriguing post, and thought provoking. Funny, today I was thinking along the same lines. I learned so much from the bad times that if i forgot them, I might lose the wisdom they brought too. Not worth it.