Anxiety and the Power of Memory

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"Memory has power. It holds together fragments of our biography in a way that we can experience ourselves as an individual human being with a "meaning" of our very own. It stands behind judgements and decisions that we make, supporting them for better or for worse. Memories flit like butterflies around and through various relationships in life; and as these memories accumulate, they can either strengthen or erode away at the very fabric of our friendships and intimacies. Memories also may be debilitating in as much as we allow them to crystalize and then "get stuck" in them. On the other hand, the process of losing our memory contributes to wasted time at best ("Where are my keys!), and at worst to dangerous situations (someone with severe dementia wandering off and getting lost). Imbalances in how we use our powers of memory may be overlooked as a significant root cause of anxiety. Understanding memory and its power can bring to light ways to improve its benefits and increase its salutary effect on anxiety and nervousness.
Anxiety usually is connected with fearful feelings and thoughts about how events of the past will develop into future events. It is self-evident that memory has to do with the past. What is not necessarily so obvious is what it has to do with the future! One connection that I have personally found helpful is in the art of mosaic. A few months back, I attended a workshop to experience this art form, and felt so disappointed and almost insulted, when we were asked to choose a template from among a few drawings of flowers that looked to me like something straight out of a child"s coloring book. However, in a process that involved two straight and full days of painstakingly patient work, we all created beautiful and individualized art work from broken shards of glass! For me, this work seemed as a metaphor for the process of picking up hardened "broken" pieces of one"s past life and fitting them into a "form" imposed from the outside, in order to create an individualized, meaningful, whole, and beautiful work of art that may be carried into the future. Considering this process through an anthroposophical lens, I could feel a significance of working with the mineral (physical world) silica in the form of shattered glass, and fitting these pieces into a plant form (etheric world of formative forces and ideals)."

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