If your life is full of yesterday’s energy then you have nothing left for today
Did you know that your brain likes to recycle?
Your brain has a limited capacity, you can’t store everything up there. So your brain becomes selective in what it hangs onto. You and I remember the really important details and we tend to become ‘fuzzy’ with the details. The more distance we have from most memories, they begin to fade. Psychologists call this working memory, and really the big and lasting memories are called “flashbulb memories.”
Your brain likes to recycle. It reuses stuff. Imagine how drab life would be with no memories? Memories are reused and they become a part of the story of your life. Like home movies spliced together, they tell and re-tell the story of you. The more memories you accumulate, new experiences become lumped in together with all of the other replays.
The other day, I sold some of my memories. And it felt good.
We are downsizing and the stereo I bought in my 20’s had to go. It’s too big and does not properly connected with our flatscreen TV. The stereo is just too big and klunky. I can relate to my old stereo, big and klunky and not really connecting very well. Thankfully these days are rare.
The stereo wasn’t just a stereo. I held onto it because it was like a placeholder for a stack of my young adult memories. It was a great stereo and I can recall buying each piece. I bought the Sony amplifier from my friend Trevor and my best friend Kevin helped me buy the Yamaha subwoofer and Warfdale speakers. I even had a pair of surround sound Realistic speakers from Radio Shack. Each piece carries it’s own collection of memories, like a web of cognitive connections.
This is the real reason that I hold onto my books, my shelf nick-nacks and half of the other junk that has collected in my garage. They help me to remember and most memories make for a better life. I think we all hold onto things that connect us with memories that we want to have close at hand.
Memories are a little like money. You have to earn them with hard work and an investment of your time, and they can fall through your fingers too quickly.
But some memories need to be boxed up and sold, or given away if that’s what it takes. Why? Because your brain can fill up. Sometimes it is time to box up and sell your stuff so that you can make room for new memories. If your life is full of yesterday’s energy then you have nothing left for today.
It can be like this with painful memories, memories of an addiction, memories of a mental illness, family pain, feelings that you are a failure. Whatever it is, maybe it’s time to sell it?
Yesterday for you is likely a collection of some good memories, a few nuggets of great stuff and maybe a few pieces of charcoal. You know, memories you wish you could just toss away. We all have them and sometimes we have a lifetime of yesterdays that we carry with us. After a while it becomes exhausting.
It’s time to sell your stuff and build some new memories
You can’t destroy memories. And the harder you work to shed the negative memories, the harder they hang on. Why? I like this quote by Mike Mahler and I think it says a lot about how memories, especially negative ones, work.
Once energy is created, it cannot be destroyed – only transformed into something else… When you occupy your time and energy in productive actions, it is no longer a battle of attrition. The focus has changed. Energy has been redirected. You not spending your energy resisting something; you’re spending it doing something else altogether.
Once you have read it once, read it through again, only this time replace the word “energy” for the word “memory.” Once a memory is created, it cannot be destroyed, only transformed into something else.
And how do you do that, eliminate bad memories? You can’t eliminate them, but you can occupy your time building new memories, in productive actions. You can change your focus to living today rather than trying to repair what happened yesterday. You stop spending your energy resisting something, you are spending your time building new memories.
If you want to learn more about healing, read this piece: To Heal, You Must Become the Art.
Today, you and I are building our personal Memoir. Do something today to give your brain something worthwhile to recycle. Why, because you are worth it.
If this piece has inspired you, you will want to read The Best Relationships are Dusty.
I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain.
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Keep it Real
Photo by August Brill