Imprints in the heart: Collecting and relieving moments

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process
is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
From the book
“The Gifts of Imperfection:
Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and
Embrace Who You Are”
by Brené Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.

Yesterday I came from a wonderful weekend I spent in Hamburg. I attended two seminars led by Ariel and Shya Kane: “Freedom to Breathe” and “Living a Complaint Free, Drama Free Life”. Both seminars provided many unforgettable experiences.

I noticed my eagerness to share all the wonderful insights I had both during the seminars and also after with my family and friends. I did share some of my experiences, but this sharing started to look more like sharing vacation photographs. I was talking about the past. Close one but past nonetheless.

Thinking of photographs, I recall what one of my dearest friends, who happens to be my mother-in-law, once told me. Both of us and also our husbands were standing on one of the heights of German Alps. All of us were admiring the amazing view. I made some pictures and complained that I would love to take a picture of every detail, but that it was impossible.

I thought my Mom-in-law would suggest using panorama-setting on my photo camera of that time.

Instead she said,

“You can’t take pictures of everything. Enjoy them and keep them here.”

As she said this, she has put her hand on the spot, under which my heart can be found.

This occurrence often comes to mind. The latest today, when I was sorting out some of my notebooks, time planners and calendars from previous years. At least two of them have wonderful pictures and reproductions of paintings on every page. I started looking at every page, seeing if it contained a note or a quote worth keeping. As I looked through the pictures I could not enjoy them fully, because I was sorry for not being able to keep all of them. If I would, they would lie hidden in some drawers or boxes for more years until I completely discarded them, without looking at them again.

As soon as I noticed this complaint and recalled what my mother-in-law advised me, I started looking at the pictures with the only purpose to enjoy them. And suddenly the heaviness of regret disappeared and I simply let the pleasant imprints settle in my heart. From here it was easy to put the already viewed pictures away and move further.

One thought led to another and I realized that the same is with pleasant memories. If we try to keep them and hold on to them by telling about them again and again to all who want and don’t want to listen, then this will not be different than showing holiday photographs repeatedly to visiting relatives and friends. We can’t keep all the insights imprinted in our memories. Even recording them down would not enable a true reproduction of the wonderful experiences we had. But we can collect these wonderful imprints in our hearts, enjoy them and let go.

Picture: Wonderful view from the hotel room I had while in Hamburg. I don’t remember the things I thought, which prompted me to take this picture. I only remember that they were pleasant and inspiring with a tiny hint of sadness, which I could not explain. Maybe I was sad about the near end of the weekend and the seminars. Maybe I was sad of not being able to hold on to each experienced moment, to each pleasant one. I don’t know. The only thing I know now is that this sadness was sweet and soothing. I smile while writing this.