Friday, May 20, 2016

More Is Less

More Is Less

Life is a series of acquisitions.

For some people, life is a long shopping spree. Material possessions gather as these collectors grow older, and while some of those possessions reach the dustbin eventually, many objects acquire some kind of sentimental value and are never discarded.

For other people, life is a constant casting off. No object outlives its usefulness and is thereby trashed forthwith.

For both these groups of people, and for everyone in between those extremes, there remains a collection of memories that one can never really cast aside. Some of these memories are pleasant, but some are also quite sad or terrifying.

We wish that we could discard the terrible memories as easily as we discard the bad fish wrapped in yesterday's newspaper. Alas, we can't. We seem unable to forget heartaches, mistakes, misguided decisions, traitorous friends, untimely deaths — a litany of soured thoughts that remain in the back of the refrigerator of our minds. Cleaning them out and pitching them in the trash, like week-old cabbage, may be desirable but really never quite possible.

So, the only real choice we have is to try to accept them and live within this large circle of both good and bad memories.

I have found, however, that if one acquires more and more good memories, then the bad ones seem to be diminished if not totally forgotten. The more love you feel, the less heartache you remember. The more success you have, the less your previous mistakes and wrong decisions seem to matter. The more true friends you meet, the less attention you'll give to recalling those who somehow betrayed you. The more life you experience, the less death's shadow of loss will overpower you.

In this regard, more creates less. The more happy memories we collect, the less we will feel unhappy about things in our past.

Sadly, the tragic moments of our lives never completely disappear, and for whatever reason, we tend to hold on to our tragedies. Whenever we become upset by something, we seem to have an ample stock of soured memories waiting to amplify our present anguish. Too often, we return to those dark moments in our lives in a "Here we go again ..." scenario. We never seem able to loosen that inexplicable grip we have on times-gone-wrong that do us harm.

Some people believe it is simply a matter of living "in the moment" as a means to escape the misfortunes of the past. There is no such escape. Every moment is a continuation of every moment before it. Time is a continuum of experiences, not a board game of disconnected steps determined by the throw of some cosmic dice.

Life is less about trying to deny the past and more about accepting your dark times and then letting go of the darkness by filling your life with light.




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