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memories-feature

“Cherish the fabulous, the fantastic, the beautiful, the graceful, the moments of abandon, laughter, quirkiness. Cherish the tiny incredible details, the gigantic and varied display, and the infinite depths – of life.” ― Jay Woodman

Summer is my favorite season.

I have more cherished memories from these warm months than any other. Maybe I remember these times more fondly because summers seemed more relaxed, and my family spent more time together. The days were longer, for one thing, so we could go for ice cream after dinner. Whatever the reason – I love summer.

But summer these days can get pretty darn full. Too many activities, too many camps and trips to the beach, all sandwiched together with no recovery time. Our families are rushing from one adventure to another, taking only enough time to do the many loads of dirty clothes before packing for the next event.

Our privileges show in these busy schedules. Of course, I wouldn’t suggest we cancel any of the experiences.

I want to take a few minutes to breathe in the joy, and store up some memories before putting them safely away to be enjoyed later.

I was once asked to go for two minutes without speaking, to sit in silence, opening my senses, and let the moment come inside. By looking, listening, tasting, touching, smelling, and then bundling those into how each made me feel, I was able to create a distinct memory. It was a powerful experience for me to pay attention to the details of a moment. I cherish every feeling of that special place, and since then, I try to remember this exercise while rushing through my life.

I want our families to learn this simple two-minute habit. Their busy lives will still be with them, but there will be some cherished memories as well.

Click to enlarge. It's worth the read.

Click to enlarge. It’s worth the read.

James, our youngest grandchild, is away at camp and finally found time to write his Mom. She shared his note, and in reading it, I feel he would rather be outside, spending two minutes “cherishing each tiny incredible detail along with the gigantic and varied display …” of his summer in the North Carolina mountains, creating memories he can cherish forever. Instead, he is sitting in his cabin completing this simple chore.

Someday James will be on his porch, just as I am now, looking out on a quiet summer morning as the birds wake up, with his dog and his morning coffee by his side, and he’ll think back to his childhood, when he was a boy at camp.

Some day James may his lost book, along with his glasses - or not. His ankle will have long since healed. But the memories will remain.

Some day James may find his lost book, along with his glasses – or not. His ankle will have long since healed. But the memories will remain.

I hope there won’t be any worries in James’ cherished memories. The memories won’t have any hint of elections, communities divided, or injustice. Those will be covered over by a wash of beautiful mountains and great friends.

His cherished memories will be with him, and that’s what each of us really want from our lives.

I want my grandchildren to take two minutes to sit in silence and open their senses, from time to time. I want to do it more myself. Then I can add to my cherished memories and have countless two minute escapes as I grow older.

Like choices, memories also matter, they can be good or bad or just different. Good memories are fun, and it’s easy to forget the bad times of the past.

There are people who want us to go back to a time they remember when everything seemed rosy, at least to them. That would be okay, maybe, except we need to look at every memory, not just the ones tucked away among our privileges.

What do you think? Do you have childhood memories from summer camp, or other times, you can share?

Why do you think making the choice to find cherished memories is important in aging?

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

This is the perfect summer camp song. Do you remember it? Wait for the end, when the sun comes out, and see how everything changes.