Sometimes we all feel a little hemmed in. My life this season has been played out surrounded by tall corn so I am literally hemmed in but it does not take much for me to lift my head and close me eyes and see for miles and miles and miles.
Sometimes the pressure of an ordinary life makes one feel like taking flight. Everyone feels like this every now and then. A good life carries with it responsibilities. We wish for our childish ways. Our gypsy twin longs for the road. Of course, we can’t just pack our two suitcases and move off whenever we feel like it so this is one of those times that I indulge myself in 360 memory.
360 memories need stillness or at least a stillness of your body so sit quietly in a chair or lean on the wall of the barn to begin.
Now, close your eyes and think of a happy memory. Go to where you belong. The home of your soul. Your dream place. I often go to my favourite beach at Mahunga Bay in Mahia, New Zealand. This is my dream place. I seldom get back there to visit in real time, I own no land there but I have brought memories with me and these sustain me while I am away.
Sitting in your chair or standing at your kitchen bench, conjure up the image of your dream place. You may have to lead your memory through the landscape to reach it. Out the door. Down a long flight of old wooden steps, through the garden, out the gate, across the road, then sharp beach grass then into the dunes, through the dunes with her burning sands and scratchy tall grasses along the shifting dune path. Then you come up through two tall dunes and see the sea, rich in its sheer size, cascading out in front of you, blue and cool and shimmery and flat yet ripply, shiny like old hot glass. The breath from the sea rasping across your sunburnt skin. The scent of it, the salty aqua.
Now comes the really cool part of 360 memory. Sense the direction of your gaze so you have control of your point of view. Then take control of your head and turn it slowly, watch the landscape change before your eyes like in a video game. Go slow. Consciously colouring in your view. Look long to your left. See the rocks and the sea, nut cracking on the rocks, spray lifting in protest. Look further to your left and you can see a small farmhouse way off down the beach, low and woody. Blown beach trees and hills up behind it.
Then keep turning, shifting your feet below your body, so you can pan across behind you seeing more dunes , more hills, the house you just left, then your own footsteps in the sand of the dunes, then turn again so you are looking to the right of your body, see way up the flat empty beach, the sand and the endless sea, then bring your head and your eyes and your feet with its body back to the view directly in front again. The sea, the sea, washing in and washing out with the whisper of windy treetops. The hiss and the polite pacific splash of the low tidal wave.
Look down at your old self, past the blue strappy well worn beach dress to the bare feet and your shrunken shadow from the late morning sun.
As you drift through a 360 memory focus really hard on the landscape, looking up and down and far and wide. Fill in and fill out all the details you can remember. Recall as much to your conscious mind as you can. Sometimes your memory will create one memory from many memories to fill in the details, that’s ok. Tbis is an escape after all, not a court drama.
Some of my favourite 360 memories are back to our childhood kitchen when I go through all the cupboards, opening and closing the cupboard doors and drawers and into the pantry, peering in and remembering what was on each shelf. There is no harm in it and you will be amazed what you do remember when you sharpen your inner eyes and direct your mind around the landscape of your memory. Maybe go into a childhood bedroom, sit your memory body on the side of the bed then look all around, the walls, the drawers, out the window, under the bed. Your books, your clothes on the floor. It is all there in your memory. The good stuff.
I can take my memory body for a walk too if I have time. Along the beach where I grew up, it is a different beach, you walk along the beach then cut up through the houses to the street and along the street and up to the little grocery store. Or through the halls of a long lost friends house. Or I simply open my eyes and get on with my life. But it is always replenishing to take myself into a 360 memory. To be a ghost for a while.
I wonder if my past self can feel my future self directing her head as she drinks in and stores every article of that beach, stacking memories carefully in on top of each other to be retrieved later. Watching together. Maybe that is why I never feel alone when I am alone which is most of the time for many of us.
We all have bad memories too of course. We screwed up. Or someone else screwed up and we were caught in their fire. And though we need not bury them (unless it is their time to be buried in the bad memory box after being cleaned up and shaken out and folded neatly) – but I think we need not retrieve them in a 360 memory. Boot them out. The 360 memory is a memory using a map we create as we go- we direct our dreaming eyes. We are looking at things and places. I deliberately expose my closeted, hooded, reigned in, restless nature to these wee gifts of mind travel to keep my gypsy self alive and well fed but in my control. I find a 360 memory to replenish myself not torture myself Why would I bother with that. Bad memories sit and sulk in their boxes, unopened when I ghost past looking for a memory to visit. I decide where I go.
It is also I think important to note that these bad memories or regrets do not define us unless we choose them to. I am not a victim of my past. Bad memories can stay folded in the bad memory box for this exercise, I choose to define myself using the waves of Mahunga Bay. I choose where I go in a 360 memory. I go to the good places. That is the WHOLE idea.
As a side note, the 360 memory almost never works if I add another person or try to look at one. I cannot control other people, they are on trips of their own. They do not belong in my dream time. Boot them out too. Fundamental really. Watching people as a ghost is kind of creepy anyway and people bring sadness. Always. So I avoid them in a 360 memory. I journey with myself. I am enough.
I love to go on my bike ride to high school in the early morning. Along beaches and past the jetty and the yachts and the fishing boats and woolsheds and up the hill. I love that memory.
I hope you have a lovely day.
WEATHER: Wet and warm and windy.