We are often told that mindfulness is about not dwelling on or ruminating in the past and about being present. Yet at times it is healthy to remember the past or plan for the future – as my mindfulness teacher would say ‘just do it mindfully!’
Today is my daughter’s 14th birthday and it has just been fantastic to revisit photos and memories, it helps to bring an enormous attitude of gratitude. Mindfully revisiting memories can also be very healing and it can help to develop perspective.
If you have a relationship that you are finding difficult or awkward it can be good to go back to remembering when you first met or when the relationship was strong. So often we can get really caught up in where that person/relationship is at right now….forgetting that within the other person is a vulnerable self just like we have a vulnerable self too. Revisiting positive memories can help us to relate to that person from a positive, caring mindset rather than the tight, irritated or defensive mindset we can find ourselves in.
In MindUP, a program in US and UK that is introducing mindfulness to kids in schools, they teach optimism and how to actively cultivate wellbeing. One way they do that is to create a ‘Happy’ wall – where photos, and pictures of happy memories are hung, so that whenever you are not feeling so good you can remember that there have been many great times in your past.
In Steve Biddulphs book on relationships he talks about each memory in your relationships being a souvenier…a building block on which it was built. How lovely to go back and revisit some of those souveniers mindfully – being very aware of the emotions they bring up and even the lessons and the new perspective with which we can view that person / relationship.
Often when we change our mindset towards a relationship – the relationship changes – have you ever noticed that? Just switching my anxious thoughts of someone and what they may or may not say, to sending them loving kindness can help to change the interaction…
A beautiful meditation to free up our judgement of another is from Tara Brach:
I love how she talks about seeing that our defensiveness comes from our own vulnerability and by bringing kindness to the vulnerable parts of yourself you can then be open and give kindness to another….
Enjoy revisiting some happy memories mindfully 🙂 Sara