Connections with memories

Connections that we form with people and the world around us have a huge impact on us as individuals. Over our lifespan we see many of our social connections (friends and family) come and go. It’s inevitable that relationships change over the years, but we will always have that time, those memories, and a foundation of connections that we can return to in our minds and emotions.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Revisit memories

I’ve been converting old family photos and slides to digital format recently. Then I’m curating them to preserve our family stories. 

Just making connections with memories in photographs again takes me back to a place where I can relive the feelings/emotions from those days. It’s not exactly the same feeling as the being there in real time but it can be a close second – if you allow it to be. 

Just as visualization exercises can mimic the experience enough to have an impact on our brains and emotions, so too can connections with memories.

That’s why it is so important to practise living in the moment – both during real time events and when recalling memories.

Sensory memory triggers

Sensory experiences with links to my past stories like smells or sounds (i.e. music or the sound of someone’s voice) elicit a nearly involuntary response. Flashbacks are triggered in a vivid way. 

But photos I find require a little more intentionality. I suspect it has something to do with perspective. First, they are two dimensional. Second, they often are taken from someone else’s perspective. Especially if we appear in the photos ourself.

Allowing the time and headspace to “re-live” the event can elicit the same emotions of the experience itself.

This photo of my siblings and I takes me right back to one of our cross country adventures. We were moving for a posting with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force from the North West Territories to Nova Scotia. We drove south to Vancouver and then East. The trek took weeks with countless stops along the way, visiting family and friends that we hadn’t seen in years. It was a time when we were each other’s playmates and closest friends. This photo reminds me of the move, but more importantly of the connection I felt with my family and the places and people we visited along the way.

Do you have any photos or other mementos that you could intentionally relive the emotions of the past through?

#authenticconnections #familystories #memorykeeping # phototherapy


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About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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Dale Oderkirk
Dale Oderkirk
1 year ago

Wonderful idea Trish. I browse thru some of my old photos at times to help me relive what has been such a wonderful life thus far. I’ll look through my old stuff and if I find some that may help your journey, I’ll find a way to get them to you. Best regards, Dale