Memories | Human Building Blocks

The experience in the hospital with my father-in-law recently brought back a lot of memories from 15 years ago with my mom and her treatment for cancer. She relapsed several years ago and has now been gone for over two years but it could have been last month for all I knew.

Memories are very powerful. They are a uniquely human experience. Without our memories, life would have very little context. So, whether the memories are good or bad they have value.

I’ll share a few memories that were turning points in my life.

I Remember My Tap Dancing Recital

When I was quite young (7 or 8 I imagine), I was taking tap dancing lessons. I can still move through the “shuffle ball change” in my mind. We had a recital where family and friends came to watch us perform. I was in the spotlight and loved it.

The year before, I was Little Red Riding Hood in my Kindergarten play. My memories of that experience are not as vivid but I obviously loved performing.

That would soon change but it makes me feel good to remember my love of performing.

I Remember My Second Grade Teacher

Soon after the tap dancing recital moment, my mom and dad who had been separated decided to get back together. For most kids, I’m sure this would have been a dream come true. I knew that was not likely to be the case.

Dad had decided that we needed a fresh start and moved us to Colorado from Texas. Colorado is beautiful but it is light years away from Texas in many ways. Not necessarily good or bad…just different.

I had quite a Texas twang that was not appreciated in Colorado. Being the little over-achiever, imagine my horror when the teacher threatened to fail me unless I pronounced the words properly.

I got busy!

The teacher actually recorded me reading because I could not understand what I was doing wrong. Geez! That’s the way everyone says it where I’m from. She played the recording in front of the class.

So much for my budding interest in performing. It was quite traumatic.

I can assure you that the accent is gone to this day. And, I have found a way to perform that works for me. Today, it’s mostly public speaking.

It IS nice to be void of the twang. I’m just not sure the means justified the end.

I Remember the Community in Brazil

Memories

Memories are our human building blocks.

Fast forward about 30 years. I spent close to a month living in a community just outside of Rio de Janeiro in 1997.

I shared many stories from this experience in my book, “What Would the Sage Do Now?” The highlight of the trip (and there were many) was one evening ceremony where the entire community had assembled.

As the evening was winding down, I sat quietly taking in the surroundings.

Most people there spoke only Portuguese so I could not communicate easily with them. The community infrastructure was quite challenging. For example, I climbed 63 steps every couple of days to take a warm shower. The water was warm only if there was sun.

So, when I found myself sitting there with love pouring from my heart and the distinct feeling that there was nowhere else I would rather be, it was a defining moment in my life. I knew I would never be the same.

Within several months of returning from the trip, I sold my business and made wholesale changes in my life. It’s been a pretty bumpy ride but I know it was the right decision.

Whether a memory is good or bad, it’s a building block for who we are today. We choose how we use it.

Do you have a special memory that was a defining moment in your life? Please share it.

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