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Healing of Memories

Author: Fr. Pradeep Sequeira

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Many of us labour under an unresolved and unforgiven past. It is quite possible, though we may be unaware of it, that we do not really want to resolve that past, to "seek closure" on it; for the hurts of the past actually feed our resentment and allow us to blame others for our present ineffective performance. But even if we do want healing, we may not believe it possible and hesitate to "spiritualize" a human predicament. We could be overlooking a power that is available to us. We may be unfair to ourselves……and to God.

The following meditation may be of help to recall painful memories of the past, and to relive those memories with a longing to be free and healed. Earnest trust and longing that healing is possible will go a long way in the healing process.

  1. Birth and Infancy: Do I remember hearing stories about my mother having difficulty with me in pregnancy or birth? Do I feel I was wanted by my parents? Was my position in the family - only child? only boy? only girl eldest? youngest? – a help or a hindrance to my development? Was I healthy or sickly? Do I feel that I had a large enough dose of love and physical affection, especially from my mother? Do I accept my origins – my parents, my brothers and sisters, the social status and economic condition of my family? Would I have wanted it to be otherwise?
  2. Early Childhood: Did I continue to receive sufficient attention from my parents, or did a rivalry for their affection develop with a youger brother or sister? Was I able to feel at home with my other brothers and sisters? Or did I feel neglected and misunderstood? Did my father supply the strong support that complemented my mother’s tenderness? Did I admire him or fear him? Were there some incidents like punishment or sickness that still remain painful to recall?
  3. 3. Middle Childhood: Was I satisfied with the talents and skills I came to discover in myself? Were these encouraged enough by others? Did I feel sufficiently appreciated and recognized? Did I enjoy being called by my "pet- name"? Have any of the labels applied to me at the time stayed with me to have a negative affect upon me? Was I compared unfavourable with others? Did I find it difficult to make new friends and mix freely with my early schoolmates and companions? Did my teachers in those years seem to understand and accept me? Did they give me enough encouragement, or did they make fun of me, embarrass me or punish me unnecessarily?
  4. Adolescence: Was I able to accept my growing body and the change that took place in me at this time? Did I experience a fear or embarrassment or shame which perhaps has not yet left me? Do I value my own sexuality and feel comfortable with my sexual role? Did I learn to deal with my limitations, or do I still daydream about what might have been? Did I feel sufficiently understood by others, especially in my own family, as I passed through this exciting but troubling period? Was I given enough freedom to discover myself, or did I struggle against seemingly contradictory and confusing expectations of others? Did I suffer from excessive teasing that even today makes me way and over - sensitive to the comments of others? Did I go through period of loneliness and fear? Did my curiosity and new – found freedom lead me to experiment with behaviour that even now I find difficult to reconcile myself with?
  5. Early Adulthood: Was I satisfied with my education and the results that I achieved? Did I feel sufficiently encouraged and enabled to pursue my personal ambitions, or did I feel blocked and held up unnecessarily, and therefore resentful toward those who hampered me? Was I able to choose the life and career I thought best for me? Do I take responsibility for this choice today, or do I catch myself even now blaming others? Have I been able effectively to work out conflicts and problems that inevitably arise at work or at home? Or do I find myself swallowing hurt and anger, or blaming others for mistakes and failures?
  6. Middle Age: Have I been able to cope with and adjust to physical changes and declining strength, or do I become depressed because of lost youth and wasted opportunities? Do I find that I still have to prove myself and my worth by assuming and holding onto responsibilities even when I know these tasks could better be done by those younger than myself? Am I critical, mistrustful and resentful toward the young for not giving me the respect I used to merit, and for not doing things the way I used to do them?
  7. Old Age: Am I resentful toward others for my being pushed aside and "shelved"? Do I find myself more and more isolated, useless and unwanted? Have I lost interest in people and events, choosing to withdraw into a very private (and depressing) world? Have I been able to cope with the death of loved ones and life – long companions? Am I able to face the future with equanimity and hope?

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