As you may know, I am an avid reader of novels. This delightful quotation comes from the clever and astute writer Elizabeth Peters:
That's a tricky one, isn't it?
“…enjoy the moment without allow unhappy memories….”
Unfortunatly, unhappy memories have a way of tripping us up when we least expect them. There we are, trotting merrily along when suddenly, Wham! We’re face-first in a past experience, old wounds re-opened and bleeding.
I’ve been stumbling over one icky old memory lately: Someone whom I thought was friendly towards me - a family connection - said something hurtful, something that wounded me. I won’t go into details, tempting though it is - really, really tempting though it is. Suffice to say, it hurt, but it happened twenty years ago, for gosh sakes, and I’ve done my best to put it out of my mind.
Every once in a while, however, something triggers the memory and BLAM! I get to experience the shock of being summarily rejected, all over again. Bletch! It’s like I’ve time-travelled right back to the initial event.
I didn’t want to come here. I don’t like being here yet again. It’s not my choice, not by any means! But here I am, reliving the moment: I walk into the room. She turns to me and says …
Oh, but I said I wouldn’t go into details, didn’t I? Gosh it’s easy to get sucked back into that unhappy, unpleasant moment. The question is, how do I avoid getting into this time-machine of memory? That’s the question!
What is it that our quotation says? “…without allowing unhappy memories….”
Allowing? Is that what I’ve been doing? Allowing this unhappy memory to take over my mind? Is it not that I am going back to that moment, but rather, that I’m allowing that moment to leapfrog the years from then to now, to lodge in my thoughts? I am (somehow) allowing this to happen? If so, I am more than ready to
I am ready to disallow that memory. Here’s my promise to myself: Any time I find myself beginning to recall what she said, I will stop and … and what?
Here’s one of the Big Secrets of mental discipline and mind-control: We must have some other behavior, some different thought, to subsitute for the Unwanted. For example:
I might decide that every time I catch myself wallowing around in that particular ugly memory, I will instead Begin to count my blessings. That would work.
Or I could decide to remember something else, something pleasant like sitting on the beach with my sister last week. I could happily occupy my mind with the shining details of that memory. It might not be the shining present, as our quote recommends, but it’s a pretty good step-up from dark memories, would you agree?
THE TRICK is to have something pre-planned, a happy distraction.
By heck, I could even begin to welcome the yucky memory as a reminder to use some of my get-happy tricks and end up being even happier! How cool would that be? Bring on the old unhappy memories, they don't scare me no more!
PS: To follow this Happiness blog, go HERE Meanwhile, enjoy your shining moments ;)