I am continuing with my theme for the month of October, cleaning. I have been somewhat busy with cleaning house but that’s not the only cleaning I’ve done. The other cleaning, perhaps more of a cleansing, is reviewing old memories.  I find it all too easy to stay attached to old memories and revisit the past. Some of those memories bring comfort and longing as I remember happy times with family and friends. There are people I miss and wish I could spend more time with. Other memories are not so pleasant, memories of failure or shame at past events.

Several cameras, old 20's movie camera, 35mm, digital camera

In both cases I wish for a time machine so that I can go back and fix the wrongs, and a part of me seems to think that remembering will erase those times. I want to help my younger self to do better and know she will get better as she gets older. For other memories, I long for times that seemed care free and far away from problems I have to deal with in the present.

A hard lesson as I’ve gotten older is fully understanding that I can’t go back, I can’t revisit those places in person and re-experience good times or fix the bad times. They have happened and I need to let go of those memories and all of the tangled emotions so I can move on. Those memories fill spaces and keep me from new experiences.

1920's Singer Sewing Machine

Some of those memories are tied to things I am cleaning out. When I hold an object and remember a person who is no longer here, my heart aches and I don’t want to let go of that item and the memory. Yet when I choose to let go, to focus on my present life, I feel a lifting of old burdens that I didn’t realize were there. In many ways, cleaning out memories it seems harder than the physical activities of cleaning. Although there are parts of house cleaning that I could do without. :-)

Champagne glasses

On another note, I just read a book that touched me deeply about the creation of art. I felt encouraged to keep creating in spite of self doubts I have.  In particular, a quote from the book provided a reason to keep creating.  In these troubled times, where it is easy to feel helpless, I think this is a good idea to share.

“It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that society is huge and the individual is less than nothing But the truth is individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.” Neil Gaiman, Art Matters

Pictures by J.T. Harpster - Prints available at https://shellcreek.redbubble.com/