Needs—those things that are necessary for us to live a healthy life—drive every species on our planet to evolve and adapt or to perish. Within this process, our memories, which are how we perceive, interpret and label ideas and experiences, are key to our own personal development and the collective progression of humankind. Memories assist us in how we build up and utilize instincts, our “natural knowing” of how to relate within our current surroundings for survival.
The need for memory quite literally came out of the necessity to remember what works and what doesn’t work, and how to interpret the information.
As a result, our long-term success on this planet depends on improving our instincts and memory and, within this process, the frame of reference and emotions that surround recall can either enhance or destroy our well-being.
We often become confused by emotional signals and the context of situations as our world becomes more complex, which can then send evolution off course at the personal, family and even the species level.
Our memories teach us by trial and error how to relate within our surroundings. They provide us with a reason to live, and they become very familiar and real in our minds. We interpret, label and categorize our memories by the way we expect our life to look.
Emotions, cultural environment, education, and religion are only a few of the filters we use and, once we recognize how this system operates, we can take the controls and recalibrate our inner world to chart a course for positive future evolution.
Memories of Childhood Trauma
Personally, I learned that sorrow and sadness altered how I remember my own childhood, and it created a trail of destruction in my life until I addressed and modified my belief system. As a toddler, I was molested by a 12-year-old male babysitter and his father. The energy in those moments was strong and powerful, but I didn’t understand why. At the time, I saw it as a game, and this other child was my friend. An un-evolved way of remembering was reinforced through my family’s own perception of how I should recall this event. They blamed themselves for not recognizing the anxiety they felt as a warning about the sitter and his father. Members of my family would tell each other how they “had a bad feeling about him,” and “Why didn’t I [they] see this?” However, as a toddler my understanding was that I had made a lot of people very sad, and that I had let my family and friend down when I finally told the truth.
My family had judged themselves as defective, and I believed I was damaged goods. Our family unit eventually decayed into an “every man for himself” way of existence. Growing up I had the false belief that my family’s issues were always my fault because I was in some way damaged. That began to change for me when a friend revealed in court that he had been molested by his father for a decade—and that his father’s girlfriend may have been aware of what was happening. A destructive pattern of memory reinforcement was stopped when the father confessed and was sentenced to prison. Afterwards, my friend was moved away.
I lived my early adult life in absolute chaos because my memories were cemented by the bedlam of my family.
My parents were repeating the patterns of their parents and, generation upon generation, these collective survival techniques spiraled out of control all the way down the line to me and my immediate family. Narcissistic relationships founded in codependency became my insane way of life thanks to this heritage. Choosing to live in self-manufactured moments of drama and chaos, I was trapped in an existence of self-sabotage. I was not contributing to any species evolution, let alone my own!
While I remembered some happy times with my family, such as get-togethers, driving lessons, sewing lessons, and holiday award ceremonies, I also latched onto the depression and shame that was attached to them. I knew that I had taken on these emotional states, too. I had become overwhelmed with anger and despair and unconsciously framed my memories to warrant self destruction. The more I searched my memories, the more I wanted them to be different. I felt ashamed for not being the person I believed they wanted me to be, and that I had let them down again.
This certainly wasn’t how I felt as a small child, a time when I knew I was so much more than any one defined experience. I had been born with this clarity and had surrendered it for the better part of 30 years. This realization led me to begin the process of changing my perspectives regarding my history and healing my heart. I first accepted that as a toddler I didn’t possess the necessary tools or knowledge to emotionally cope with what had happened to me and my family. I also acknowledged that when I was ready and the moment was perfect, I would face the challenge of reframing my memories and beliefs around the incident. Realizing that I had given myself this gift of time as a child fueled my desire to find peace in all my memories, and I have.
For several months I reevaluated my belief systems about religion, spirituality, and life’s purpose through spiritual searching and meditation, and I came to accept that I am not damaged goods, that my worth is priceless, and that I have the power of choice when it comes to how I perceive my past. I changed my thought processes and recalibrated my memories to see new possibilities.
I now direct my own evolution rather than forcing it. I meditate daily on how and why I understand life as I do, and I allow my memories to serve as chapters in my personal biography of life, not as literal definitions of my character.
I choose to be the change I wish to see in the world, as Gandhi said. I trust my instincts again and my personal relationships have become authentic. I embrace the pain and memories that I leave attached to my history. I learned that without them I wouldn’t know integrity, peace, joy, or what unconditional love really feels like. I learned I am not my history, nor the ancestry of my family.
As our memories collectively build and we expand consciously, we have the opportunity to direct our own evolution and enhance it.
I believe our entire physical and conscious evolution can be orchestrated by choice, rather than left to environmental theories such as Darwin’s natural selection. Our minds and memories are the precursors for evolution. If we willingly expand our thought processes to examine ourselves and our experiences from positive perspectives, we can create a pattern of constructive reinforcement and step into our personal and collective magnificence. Are you up for the challenge?
Michelle Galetka Ashton married her soul mate 23 years ago, and she has one grown daughter. An adult indigo and empath, her career has included positions in the nursing field, working as a phlebotomist, serving as a medical assistant, and working as a fashion merchandiser. Her interests include gardening, hiking, backpacking, writing, sewing and jewelry design. An avid rock hound, animal lover and student of theology, Michelle currently is writing a novel and a rock hounding book. Contact her at email@example.com.