Seeing Things Clearly

Life is full of transitions that connect the significant memories in our lives.

You can think of transitions like doors and the memories as the rooms on each side of the doors. There is a near-infinite amount of rooms but we tend to dwell on the same few, which makes this exercise easy.

Say you have a memory of being bullied.

As you look from one room to the next, you may see a little girl (you) being pushed on the shoulder by a bigger girl (the bully), who is laughing as the little girl falls over the curb (the conflict). You may visit this room often, so often that you can recite the scene as it’s happening. It becomes part of your lore, a dog-eared page with underlined passages and notes in the margin.

It is a well-used memory but, in this case, one that is not serving you.

Here is a way out: You must realize that the door to the room isn’t all the way open.

When we stand in one room and peer into the other, we assume we’re seeing everything, but, because the door is ajar, we’re really just seeing a small slice of everything.

If you were to push the door all the way open, you could take in the whole scene. You would notice the littler of the two girls balling up her fists before she cries, you would see two other girls running over with their hands out and open, the teacher forgetting her keys, or the vulgar words written all over the bully’s backpack in thick black marker.

There’s always more to the story, parts of the room that are out of view, lost details floating around our memories like guardian angels. Take comfort in knowing that they’re there, even if you can’t see them.