We are not elephants! The beauty of being human is that we, unlike animals, have the marvelous
ability to transcend memories. We are capable of “rising above.” We can and do remember negative events in our lives, realize that they are what happened in the past, and revitalize ourselves. Through conscious efforts, we accomplish this in spite of what happened when we were five or ten, seventeen, twenty-five or thirty. For those of us shaped by adoption, I believe this is especially true.
Theologian Eugene H. Peterson, in his book Answering God, says “Memory is not an orientation to the past; it is vigorously present tense, selecting out of the storehouse of the past, retrieving and arranging images and insights, and then hammering them together for use in the present moment.”
The operative word in Peterson’s definition is “selecting.” We are neither elephants nor robots. No one is making us think our thoughts, and once we decide to take control of the “monkey mind,” it is possible to switch internal channels. Going for a walk, being in nature, talking with a friend or confidante are ways to reset the emotions.
Building a labyrinth in my back yard, a spiral walking path, was my key to healing. Available 24/7, the labyrinth provides an opportunity to gain insight, to calm the mind and find answers. It empowers me, as an adult adoptee, to reflect, take responsibility,
and to become accountable.
As a human, albeit a human shaped by adoption, I can both remember and select.
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you—all the expectations, all the beliefs—and becoming who you are.”
-Rachel Naomi Remen