Posted by Andrea Nakayama
December is a month filled with candy canes. And this year I lived strongly and boldly in the present with each celebratory moment. Yet for me, December is also a time when I go tripping down memory lane.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
The all-important milestones of the year, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, serve to remind us of times-gone-by. Perhaps it was the first Christmas you brought your partner or baby home to your parents’ house. Or the first holiday dinner without a certain loved one gracing the table. Or maybe it’s the last New Year’s Eve you spent before you made a significant life-change.
The list, and the memories, go on and on, throughout your lifetime of cognizance ~ and possibly even before mental retention even kicked in.
For me the dates are many. . .
December 1st: my son’s due date
December 10th: the morning my son arrived, at home, in our living room in SF
December 22nd: the day my husband asked me to marry him, on the beach, at sunset
December 23rd: the day we told our family about our engagement (one of my
And of course, the Christmases I had as an adult, entering the traditions of a family
Christmas for the first time, with my boyfriend, then fiance, then husband’s family
And new year’s eves of a lifetime
When I wake on each of those dates, the memories are with me, as if they were yesterday, no matter the distance between me in the present and the me of the past.
In fact, I was surprised on December 10th, my son’s birthday, when I woke up, wide-eyed and ready to go, at about 3:10am! That’s unusual for me. (Two more hours and I’m typically ready to go.)
What was more remarkable is what happened while I was at my morning workout class. My son, who turned twelve this year, and has turned that corner where sleeping-in is appealing, woke up at 6:10am, before his alarm went off.
The curiosity and surprise was not that we both woke up before our respective alarms went off, but instead that I woke up at the time I began to push during my laboring process, and that he woke up three hours later, at precisely the moment he was born.
This, I must confess, got me thinking. . .
Just where do memories live in our body?
Of course we can get all neuro here.
Until the 1930’s, memory was believed to be a mental function. After that time, under the knife and probe of a gifted surgeon, it was discovered that memories have a physical location in the brain ~ it’s called the hippocampus, and it’s part of the temporal lobes that protrude on either side of your brain just below your temples.
But where else? Where else does memory live?
Can memory live in your heart or your gut? Can memory take root in your urinary tract? Do the two little adrenal glands that sit atop your kidneys and release your fight-of-flight hormones trigger more quickly when a situation even resembles a remembrance?
As I’ve built my practice, seen hundreds of clients and grown my team and our counseling methods to include a more detailed personal history into our intake process, I’m lead to believe that the answer is a resounding ‘YES’.
With this data, empirical as it may be, we’ve been able to make some correlations that do wonders in our ability to support our clients and hone in on their unique needs. And I want to invite you to connect the dots for yourself, just as we have.
Where does that memory of a past December live in your body?
How can you cherish or nurture the part of yourself where that memory lives?
Food and nutrition are most certainly a key to unlock the healing potential of your body. But awareness ~ of pattern, habit, memory ~ also serves as a key on the chain of your wellness profile.
Leave the stuffing to the turkey or the squash or mushrooms. Don’t stuff your memories. Recognize not only them, but the roots they have taken in your physical framework. And in this way, let the healing of the new year begin.
To a happy, healthy and healing new year!
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