Photo by Slagheap at www.flickr.com
This morning I jotted down some memories of September 11 in my journal. As I wrote, I thought of the intense fear the occasion called forth, the fear that life as we had known it had crumbled as surely as the Twin Towers.
That triggered a related memory of a day a couple of years later when I experienced a blinding flash of the obvious, realizing in an instant that hate is not the opposite of love, FEAR is the opposite of love. I felt those shackles of fear break free as divine, sublime love flowed into my being. My spirit soared in awe and gratitude. For several days I floated on a cloud of bliss, feeling free and strong, exploring the plethora of ramifications of this blessed “knowing.”
I wish I could tell you I've been 100% confident and joyful ever since. Not so. I still get the willies now and then about one thing or another. It may be news related, like the situation in Iraq or healthcare reform, or it may be more personal, such as family illness. The onset of dread can come from any direction. But having been freed from chronic fear, I sense it early and am increasingly more able to nip it in the bud, reminding myself, “Things always work out okay in the end. Chill!”
Could I have understood this earlier in my life? I don't think so. I needed the data and experience to prepare me to understand and “get it.” But the delay in learning has made the realization that much more precious.
These memories, of the events and fear related to 9/11, and the experience of instant insight, are prime examples of watershed or landmark memories. They have had a major effect on my life, shaping it dramatically. Such memories form columns supporting the structure of memoir. I am compiling a list of these memories and arranging them on a timeline. They are transition points in my spiritual growth. Other memories about the impact of these insights and how they shaped my further life can be woven together to form walls and a roof linking all the columns together into a completed story.
That’s a long-term project. For now I’m writing short pieces about each watershed memory. That will anchor them and keep them fresh for when I’m ready to assemble the long version. And/or in case that day never comes.
Write now: list several watershed memories in your life. These may be about fear, your spiritual development, or anything else you want to contemplate and come to grips with. Pick one or two and write a couple of paragraphs or a full story or essay. Or make a mindmap of related memories. File the material away for future use.