Spiritual Exercises – Memory
by Fiona Heath
Option A) The Memory Shared at Your Funeral
Our dance with memory is about looking forward as well as looking back. Our life is driven not just by the desire to collect good memories, but also by the hope that we will be remembered well. Memory’s question is not just “Do you remember?” but “How do you want to be remembered?”
So this month, you are invited to become a bit more aware of how you want to be remembered. Here’s your focus question:
If you had to limit the memories shared at your funeral to three, what would they be?
And here’s the additional twist: before you answer that questions, make room for three conversations:
- Ask your spouse or life-partner what three memories they would to tell
- Ask your child or parent which three they’d pick.
- Ask your newest or oldest friend what’d they’d choose.
After comparing the results of all three conversations, make your three picks. Of course, the exercise is less about what you pick and more about the similarities and differences between everyone’s selections. Come to your group ready to share what surprised you about the conversations and how they shaped your final three picks.
Option B) The Memento That Matters
We all have one: a memento that holds one of our favorite memories. The physicality of these objects somehow gives our memories more “substance” and staying power. But they also have a way of getting knocked off the mantle or tucked away in a dusty closet. We lose them. And in doing so, we forget.
So you are invited this month to spend some time dusting off one of your treasured “memory objects” and getting it back into clear view. What value, relationship, aspiration needs to return to the center of your life? What object symbolizes this for you? Maybe it’s a picture of your family that needs put back on your office desk to remind you that your heart lies somewhere other than that desk. Maybe it’s the peace sign t-shirt from your “radical days.” Maybe it’s that old pair of pointe shoes that used to hang by your dresser. Maybe it’s that old train car—the first one your dad bought for you and soon became part of that miniature railroad you and he built together. Whatever it is. Find it and return it to its central place, so it can return those memories back to you.
Bring your memento to the group and be ready to share what surprised you most about the adventure of finding it once again.
For inspiration: Six tips for using mementos to keep happy memories vivid.
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