You can do more than break a tooth.

Not very much, I don’t recall, I haven’t thought about that in decades… That is the standard refrain that goes through my head when someone asks me about something, or someone from my past. It’s normal, I have more mechanisms for forgetting information than I do remembering it. The amazing thing about that, is sometimes, when you least expect it, those questions heat up a little kernel of memory. That in turn pops open to reveal a much larger mass of minutia, memories, and emotions, that you didn’t realize you still retained. In speaking with my wife and friends about this a bit, it is generally agreed that these things happen as soon as you close your eyes to go to sleep.

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It started with the news of the passing of an old acquaintance, the pieces of memories I had of the person, or something associative of their presence in my life, flooded into cognition. That was just the kernel that heated up enough for me to notice the others glowing nearby. All of those husks with no outside indicator of what they contain, or how long they had been there. In considering these little explosions of thought and memory, I found they contain more than first expected, and less than the full meal they sometimes present. This is an important thing to notice as the effects of age, and life, intermingle with the processes of recovery, and a better mental health. Great memories, some of them from a golden time, some of them from a part of life wanting to be forgotten. Some of them replay verbatim, while most play in the way we are most at ease with. In rewriting my history with what I know now, those little popcorn memories sometimes don’t get addressed. In the years that follow the initial recovery, they can sometimes derail some of the best thinking, until it is realized what is, or rather, what has, happened.

Psychologists have found that people’s beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction, than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.

Those beliefs are sometimes held within those kernels, whether it be deep seeded beliefs or minor resentments. The way we create our memories is full of inconsistencies, is unreliable, and in many cases reconstructed in another form to suit our worldview, and personal sensibilities. The study of these false memories is still a crucial discipline in understanding the nature of us, that part should be well understood by anyone going through an kind of inventory practicing.

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It has all the makings of a confusing conflict. The full on thoughts of past thinking and events, going on simultaneously with the current mindset, the recovery processes. What it amounts to though is more work, more of the basics that tend to be built into something else as the meetings add up, and changes direct each person’s journey. This is where “first thought wrong” comes back into clarity, where some of the very first teachings contain more meanings and different definitions than they did before. Yeah, I remembered so and so, and this and that too… But I probably remembered it completely different than others did, I very easily could have changed the story to meet my beliefs too. That is a crucial thing to remember about these popcorn memories, they not only contain histories, they hold as well, bias’s, resentments, false information, and hurtful thinking mechanisms.

The Pi Step

Maybe my sponsor could have described the forth step, that part about inventory, as the Pi step. 3.1415926535 8979 are the first fifteen digits that seemingly goes on forever. Those first fifteen digits is all that NASA needs to locate both Voyager probes to within a few inches… Thirteen billion miles away. The mind, and memories, are bigger than those digits, so that fourth step is always evolving and popping to life so to speak. That brings me back to the work though, the practicing. As I have stated before, it is mental gymnastics, as simple as practicing better forms of thinking. It started with alcohol, and not giving it a thought to hold onto. The thought of it now passes, or simply doesn’t hold, it occurs so fast now it’s almost imperceptible. The same thing applies when the work is done on other aspects of life as well. That better thinking is finding the thought traps that are stumbled into, the pedestals created, and the mania’s that derail even the best of intentions.

How Generalized Anxiety Disorder Affects Memory

There will always be something else, some part of life that will stay husked up at the bottom of our pans. If we had the cognizance to pop it all, we would go poof and become ascended beings. This is part of the acceptance that is difficult to grasp at times, while at others that acceptance is the sole key to everything. It is the reasons for the hard work that we ourselves are only acutely aware of. It is the reasons for the socializing when you don’t want to people, the practicing of gratitude. The reason for the repeated meetings where some would claim is exactly the same every time, when in your heart it carried a very different texture. The reason we stay in the present, the reason we continue to grow. That is why after all of this time, this practicing is old hat, brand new, and full of repetitive readings that usually leave us wondering when they slipped that new part in there.

So, Sew, Sow

Life is full of invitations, ones that involve either an acceptance of that invitation, or a denial of it. I am invited all to often to slip into the luxury of old thinking, distressed, thin, destructive, and familiar thoughts that were easy to hold onto. They beckon like pajamas, and they pull at the discomfort synapses if they are attempted to be removed. As recovery, and life go by, and more and more aspects of it become new, and involved in different areas than before, the popcorn memories that come into the picture are sometimes more difficult than imagined. That acquaintance that passed was connected to another, who was connected to my late sister, who passed away ten years ago from addiction related issues. Yeah, lots of kernels, plenty of oil, and instantly a mass of minutiae to deal with again. It is in these moments, and ones like it that I can see the real differences now, the promises paying off, and the practicing a part of my life that I value as much as the results themselves.

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That practicing involves meetings and book studies, and one that I have been going to each week for years. One of the main overall lessons we all agree on is: So within, So without. How you are on the inside is directly associated with the outside world. The play on words that is a constant part of this, more than likely to find new inroads to the better thinking, has been repeating the words So, Sew, Sow. So, as in truth, as in real, as it is so. Sew, as in healing, a-mends, inter-actions, and forgiven-ess. Sow, as in plant, cultivate, grow, change, and work the personal soil, in and around you. It is within these practices that I noticed the popcorn memories, the un-popped kernels, and the cautions they carry with them. In the past they would have taken up weeks, or months, of my valuable now. Today they are folded nicely and put on the shelf in their proper place within a very much shorter time frame. It is part of the promises that were made to me, and a promise made can only come true if it is accepted and allowed to work. It is simple, yet not easy to address who we really are, but it is fulfilling in ways I just cannot explain in words enough. Just passing along my experience with my biggest strength about this kernel of recovery, those popcorn memories.

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