potential memories

13 everyone starts

I remember things differently as I grow older.

I don’t mean inaccurately.  Once upon a time, there were certain memories I might have remembered with embarrassment at best and shame at worst.  Now, I remember them as lessons, as points of growth.  They have become fuel for a creative life: memories are artefacts to combine, juxtapose, reimagine and alchemise.

‘If we move even the smallest step out of our limitations, life comes to embrace us and lead us out into the pastures of possibility.’*

In reality, our skills and talents are memories we call upon in service of the work or cause we pursue: practices, behaviours, activities, complete with all their failures and triumphs.  The skills and talents of others are memories we can borrow and include. Sometimes this means we don’t have to make the mistakes of others, or, better still, we open up new possibilities because others have accomplished what we’ve not begun to understand and do.

We are “mining the past” in order to create the future.

Working with people on their talents and passions,** has given me opportunities to wonder about how different skills and talents may have developed through people’s experiences.  They may not even know this is what they’ve been doing.  Even the negative experiences may provide them with special insights and skills, and, when used positively,  may well make a significant difference in the world for others: ‘every blush or flow of tears that’s ever touched you in a movie results from a performer who’s learned to mine the past.’^

None of us can make something from nothing.  We can only take something which already exists and re-imagine and form it.  I wonder about how many potential memories exist in every person.

(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**It might be argued passions are also memories: what we have found ourselves energised by we have repeated.)
(^Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit.)

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