Why do some conversations and ideas stick with us for years and years? Topics which didn’t even seem all that important or earth-shaking at the time and, from my experience, still aren’t all that important or earth-shaking.
It makes sense to me that a particularly emotional event would stay with me over the years. And advertising jingles which I heard many times a day for months or years— that makes sense. But what about a simple, mostly one-sided conversation in which I was told that Sting would use his creative low periods to learn new things? For one, I don’t even know if that’s true; it was just what a friend told me. Even if it is true, it’s not terribly surprising— probably plenty of artists go through creative lows and use that time to get inspired and try new things.
My guess is that the chemical make-up inside my brain happened to be just right for making a long-lasting memory out of the conversation. And now I’m stuck with it.
This is not a problem. Not with this memory. (Although the fact that the statement persists, true or not, could be.) But there are many other bits and pieces like this floating around in my head for no apparent reason. What do I do with them?
Should I take direction from them, since it must have rung true and maybe was a sort of sign-post for me? Should I take the time to verify each one and, if not actually true, try to get rid of it or to change it?
The other side of the equation looks like this: I come across great ideas and advice and I write them down, or I tell myself, this is really good, I have to remember this. But I don’t remember. Or I don’t remember often enough. What’s up with that? I am consciously choosing them as important— shouldn’t they have some staying power? Maybe the memory-making chemical recipe is just not there?
The funniest thing is this: I probably don’t need any of this to know what I should be doing. I don’t need the snippets that remain over the years for whatever reason. I don’t even need the good advice and new ideas that I read in trade newsletters or hear on podcasts. My heart knows. If I sit in silence, my heart tells me “ooo! do this!” But my brain talks me out of it: “okay, but first clean the bathroom and then you can treat yourself to this.” Or it turns my enthusiasm to fear: “it’s going to take a lot of work to make it really cool, and even then, it won’t be as good as hers.”
I am, again, trying to make a habit of meditating every day. I’m hopeful that watching the workings of my thoughts will bring me some clarity about what’s coming from my head (garbage) and what’s in my heart.