Let the past be content with itself

“Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory.”

—James Stephens, 20th Century Irish Novelist and Poet

My daughter shared an interesting observation in a recent conversation regarding the birth of our new grandson Weston. Although the experience of childbirth included the greatest pain she had ever experienced, the painful aspect of it was somehow fading, and only the wonderful moments remain.

EXERCISE:

Where would letting go of the past and a healthy dose of forgetfulness make the biggest difference in your life?

How can you also explore and enhance your memory-capturing abilities to also savor more of the moments of joy and delight?

Live today so your memories will reward you tomorrow

“Live today so your memories will reward you tomorrow.”

—Author Unknown


Among all the capabilities of our smart phones, perhaps no other application provides more value and long-term enjoyment than the camera. If charged, the phones are always ready to capture life’s wonderful and memorable moments.

Recently, my wife’s phone was broken. It appeared to have lost all of her priceless photographs, including the weddings of both our children, multiple bucket-list vacations, and literally thousands of life events that have made our life so precious.

I’ve never seen her so upset. The stress compelled her to seek out a store called You Break I Fix to save her treasures. Happily, after some technological wizardry and a hefty fee, they saved the moments and days of our lives, to reward our tomorrows for years to come.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you live even more intentionally, to experience and capture more of the precious and priceless moment of your life?

Want to Forget

“To want to forget something is to think of it.”

—French Proverb

Image of pink elephant with glasses

Image from Flickr by Eric Wilcox

Did you know that there is a perpetual motion machine? Not necessarily in the physical world, since energy is always required, but in terms of our minds.

Consider past events and memories of negative or bad things that have happened in your life. What happens when you make the effort to forget these events and leave these thoughts in the past? You might even say to yourself, “Don’t think about X,” and in doing so, X is all you think about.

A common example of this is when we try to fall asleep, when our active minds keep us from getting the rest we need and crave. Sadly, this is the norm for many people.

EXERCISE:

Rather than trying to forget something you don’t wish to think about, consider how you can replace those thoughts with more desirable and intentionally relaxing ideas.

Collect Moments Not Things

“Collect Moments, Not Things.”

-Author Unknown

QC #1003

On the ninth of March my family did something magical to celebrate my wife Wendy’s birthday. We went to Disneyland in California.

For me, collecting the moments of discovery, joy, and amazement were the highlights. The beautiful expression on Wendy’s face in today’s photo sums it all up!

By the end of the day our cell phone batteries were completely drained from all the photos we took and the texts we sent. That was a good barometer of how well we spent the day! We also purchased a Precious Moment figurine and a few other things to commemorate this special day.

EXERCISE:

Where would collecting more moments and less things make the biggest difference in your world?

 

The Good Old Days

“Things aren’t what they used to be and probably never were.”

-Will Rogers, American cowboy, vaudeville performer, and film actor

Image from notonthehighstreet.com

Image from notonthehighstreet.com

It is not uncommon for people to romanticize the good old days. Just take a look at the photo albums, yearbooks, and memory banks from which we cherry-pick the choice moments when all was right with the world.

We all share the experience of “selective memory,” in which we remember some things quite vividly, and others not at all. Take a look at the stories you continue to tell – often to the chagrin of your significant others – when you’re out on the town!

EXERCISE:

How can you make the very most of your life from this point forward, by living by the idea that these are the good old days, and the best is still to come?

Even If I Failed

“What would I be glad I did, even if I failed?”

-Brene Brown, American Author & Scholar

Image from Flickr by Classic Film

Image from Flickr by Classic Film

Many people celebrated Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday this past December. In his famous song, “My Way,” – written for him by Paul Anka – Sinatra sings the phrase “Regrets – I’ve had a few.”

For many of us, regret is a common occurrence, since they are almost always associated with things we didn’t do rather than the things we did.

It is amazing the feeling we experience by simply summoning the courage to try something, even if it doesn’t work out. Somehow it is in the attempting of something new that we bolster our own self confidence and self worth.

EXERCISE:

What are you going to try today or this week that will make you glad even if you fail? What might it be like if you continued trying until you succeed?

“Your mind is for having…”

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

—David Allen, American productivity consultant & author

QC #756Among the books I recommend most often to clients who are challenged with managing their professional and personal time is Getting Things Done by David Allen.

One of the critical insights I derived from his work was the idea that too many people use their minds and memories to hold too much information. It turns out that doing so makes most of us far less productive and also causes overwhelming feelings and considerable stress. Perhaps that is why the subtitle of this valuable book is “the art of stress-free productivity.”

EXERCISE:

Please pick up and study Getting Things Done, and do whatever you can to “have” ideas, but “hold” them in memory-keeping or commitment-keeping technologies, where they will be available to you in the moments you plan to work on them.

“All it takes is one song…”

“All it takes is one song to bring back 1,000 memories.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by  Gordon Marino

Photo from Flickr by Gordon Marino

I’m a big fan of satellite radio. In the States, we have Sirius XM. I like that it is commercial free, that I can receive the signal wherever I may be driving, and that I can select the programming that suits my taste at the moment.

Last summer, I took a road trip back east with my wife Wendy and my father Marvin. The trip is well over 600 miles and can take anywhere from 11 to 14 hours depending on traffic and rest stops. Each of us had a favorite station. Mine was Watercolors, which highlights contemporary jazz. Wendy prefers The Bridge, which plays folk rock and music of the 60s and 70s, and my dad takes many trips down memory lane listening to Seriously Sinatra.

EXERCISE:

Select your favorite CD, radio station, or satellite channel today. Listen, and allow any memories that may rise to surface. Consider doing this exercise with someone close to you to bring back some of their most cherished times.

Please feel free to reply to this post with a short list of your favorite songs, and the memories they stir up in you.

“Yesterday is but…”

“Yesterday is but today’s memories, and tomorrow is today’s dream.”

— Khalil Gibran, 20th century Lebanese artist, poet, and writer

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The human mind is a wonderful thing. It can be a calculator when it is in analytic mode, and it can also venture into wondrous arenas of creativity and innovation. The mind also has the ability to travel back and forth in time, from the beginning of the universe to the end of time.

EXERCISE:

How can you tap into the wondrous power of your mind to learn from the past, enjoy the experiences of today, and venture into the possibilities of the future? Consider doing this exercise with others within your professional and personal communities to explore what will likely be an even more remarkable experience.