“Swimming in this sea of words
Which story will I tell?
The life lived
Or the one unknown?”
—-Amanda Foulger, quoted by Deena Metzger
Some memories from our vast store of remembrances are more luminous, more vivid, suggestive and enlivening, than all the others. It is as if they are the carriers of some deeper meaning, as if they hide within themselves a secret, the understanding of which would alter the contours of our souls, if only we had the eyes to see it.
These memories differ from our more quotidian ones, not so much because they are especially exotic or even elaborate; indeed they may harbour little more than what is part and parcel of our day to day lives. And yet, and yet….there is something about them that seems to be rooted in our unconscious selves, something which, although we may not quite dream about it, still it is as if the very edges are blurred and indistinct, like a dream from which we have just awoken. We try to hang on to the, by now, almost forgotten dream image, to not let it go or fly away, for we are sure that it carries some portent, some one thing that brushes up against our soul, making us quiver like a feather endlessly falling into the caverns deep within.
Luminous memories are constructed from the same enchanting threads as dreams. Both harbour images so incandescent that we are held captive, mesmerized by the promise of the truths they seem to contain, even as they always appear to be just beyond the stretch of our reach. These gossamer fabrics, woven in the underworld of our deepest unconscious, are the diaphanous veils which separate our consciously lived lives from our hidden, unconscious selves. They delineate the liminal space we must traverse if we are ever to come face to face with our true selves
Oftentimes we find that these memories, remnants from our past, continue to haunt us, demanding, insisting that we look at them again, that we hold them up to the light and wait patiently until they begin to glow, gradually illuminating their meaning from within. We think of them, we tell our tale, we even put pen to paper and write about them, and still they follow us, refusing to be set aside. And this is how we know that these are the memories that have something rich to reveal to us, some treasure to gift us. Nor will they stop stalking us until we finally give them the attention which they crave.
But even though these memories call to us continuously, beckoning us to return to them again and again, they do not hand up their secrets, nor reveal their treasures, just for the asking. They insist upon being paid and nothing less than your everything will suffice. You must work hard, dig deep in order to discover the mystery this memory embraces. You must allow your inner self to fall wide open, let your torn and ragged masks slip to the stony floor, and then when you are at your most vulnerable, when you are feeling so fragile that you think you just might break in half, like your grandmother’s china cup which you dropped and smashed all those years ago, then at this moment, (but only if you are to be graced this day), some part of your memory, some element which somehow eluded you before, will finally be revealed in a moment of glorious enlightenment..
So close your eyes and take a few deep, deep breaths. Let your memories flash across the screen of your inner eye as if you were watching a movie. It is the story of your life. Wait patiently, you are in no hurry or rush. In its own time, which is not your time nor the world’s time, one memory will begin to shimmer and glow, calling you to come towards it, and gliding gracefully, allow yourself to be enfolded by it. Let it take you; let it carry you where it will. Then, when you are ready, pick up your pen and begin to write, allowing its voice, which is your own deepest, most authentic voice, to speak its truth. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be or do anything. You can write in prose or poetry, long or short. You can share the words which you have previously written in a former attempt to grapple with this self-same memory, even as you add to the store of words once again. You can approach this writing prompt in any way you see fit. This is your very own personal archeological dig into the profound and fathomless depths of your inner being.
[Edith, aka Soulsister]