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Choose the memories that bring you positivity

My daughter found the photo here the other day. It brought back so many happy memories of when my children were small!

Some of the best memories I have are the ones that have us doing things together – as in this one, with us cooking together.

The seaside ones where we ‘buried’ the children in the sand!

And the ones of picnics with wider family, to beautiful places in rural historic England!

As well as the crazy ones of holidays in Florida when my sons dared the dizzying heights of being canoned into the sky and back down again.

So many more – for which there may not be photos but the memories are still here.

The human mind has the amazing capacity to pick and choose the memories that impress us most.

Unfortunately, sometimes the ones that damage and haunt us – or the shadowy ones that our minds don’t let us quite recall, lurk much more deeply and we avoid or slide over them, but they leave a residue that sticks and disturbs us. These are the ones that, as adults, we often need to bring to consciousness enough to challenge and relegate to a real, not unclear place, where they are dealt with and cannot hurt us any more. And where they will not let us hurt the people we love either.

In families where there are such hidden memories, these often outweigh the magical ones.

But I have found that bringing back the wonderful ones is often another way round to the point where the awful lurking memories can be despatched and destroyed – we can choose to bring those good things into the foreground and keep them as the good things that inspire and push us forward in future.

Our minds and bodies are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ as the Bible tells us – and in Islam, we are told that each baby is born with ‘Fitra’, a state of purity and innocence of soul, that naturally seeks the one true Being. So we are all capable of turning to that ‘good’ side.

This strange year of 2020 may well be one of those years that has lots of bad feelings and memories for many children and families, that will last into their future.

I want to challenge you, my lovely friends, to consciously over-write the bad memories with great ones, both for ourselves, and for our children, that will outlast and blossom and make us glad we had this tough lockdown time.

Even if we have found that our tempers have broken, our frustrations have shown to others as well as ourselves, and our fears have burst out, showing in all sorts of ways and trying to pretend so that others might not be aware of how scared we are feeling – we can make that allowance for each other knowing we have all been in similar situations.

One of my favourite Teachers told me more than once that in the Quran it says – “Remove yourself from a situation if you are being damaged by it” – and that might actually mean, leaving it completely if there is no other way.

Or it can be a day to day reminder for us to remove ourselves out of a situation in which we or our children are getting damaged by our frustration or anger.

And we can choose to bring the positives into our lives and those of our children.

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