Moments become memories

Today I’m doing some emotional housecleaning. I think that’s a good metaphor: housecleaning. Like when you get around to a long-awaited clean of your room or garage, you sort through all that you’ve collected. Sometimes things have cluttered to the point where you need to make your house messy before you can make it clean, unpacking boxes to see what’s inside of them. It’s good to take the time to figure out what’s worth keeping and what I can let go. If everything was kept, there would be no way to know what is quality and what isn’t.

I’m sorting through my memory bank, organizing and evaluating for accuracy. Taking memories out and dusting them off before deciding where to put them. I’m finding some memories that I’d forgotten about. Sometimes something old is as novel as something new.

I once read that life is a series of moments. Each moment is a complete whole and time is the illusion we play with to experience the full range of the moment. This makes sense with regards to memory; sometimes it takes more time for you to understand the whole meaning of the moment. Either the pool of water you jump into with both feet or the stream that trickles drop by drop, each adding to the greater. Just like a movie is an entire piece, we can be at any local point (like 1 min. 40 seconds or scene 10).

A moment is an entire puzzle and a place in that moment is a piece of it. On some pieces are whole images, like a fish in an ocean puzzle. Others may have pieces of a bigger shape like the spout of a whale. Together they form the big picture.


There is a time and place for everything. To understand this is to accept the value of the moment — the time and place in which we all reside. The moment is always changing. Sometimes I feel that a part of myself wants to hold onto a certain moment and never let it go. That is to fight the inevitability of Nature, and to deny its essence. I know that that part of me who wants to hold on comes from a place of scarcity and misunderstanding; it feels that the moment will lose its value if it slips from the now into my memory. However, with considering the lens of abundance, I am reminded that by embracing and accepting the moment as it happens is to open the door to experiencing and appreciating other moments in their own light. To live like this is to accept life as a gift: to unwrap the box and discover the contents, then to package it up to open again later, only to discover that it has changed once more.

sepia-toned loving

Isn’t it funny how we often freeze or pose (cheese) for the camera when someone is taking a picture? Becoming still for something that is still in itself? In my family, like in the days of knights and horses and dames, where you might carry a weapon or article of self-defence, you are best to carry a camera for your own livelihood. My grandpa, especially, is a shutterbug that seems to consistently have his lens pointed at you at the most unplanned moments. Somehow this slender, youthful man can get you to stop eating and smile uncomfortably into that camera for not just one picture, but hold still for “and another one. There we are.” Your only defence is your own camera to point back.

It’s interesting that we become still for a picture that is partly still in itself. There is an amazing quality about pictures and photos, something dynamic that exists as an independent moment of our life’s memory. Psychologists call this an episodic memory. Surely that’s implicit of what life is: a series of episodes, in and out of order. Slide after slide, the important ones remembered and forgotten and remembered again. Like how words freeze reality, photographs freeze life – locking a moment in time. Or instead of stopping time, photographs let time flow: the lens of the camera catching what the eye misses. The artist on stage mid-strum, or the fan asleep in the bleachers for the game-winning shot.

I like to think of life as a scrapbook. You get to choose the pictures and poems and thoughts and memories that you put in there. Closed or open, there is still the beauty inside for you to choose and discover.