Why We Remember

There is a very interesting man who lives in my town. Well, there’s undoubtedly more than one I’m sure. I’ve only had a couple conversations with him but it is readily apparent he is quite brilliant and has an unusual mind in that he comes at things from a different angle than most anyone I’ve ever met. His name is Lincoln Stoller. He is a psychologist and neuro-scientist and a very prolific writer.
He has a couple new audio books out and I was just listening to an audio sample of one and was struck by this statement below.

"We remember traumatic events sometimes so clearly we have to forget them. To help in forgetting them we mix them up. Memory is malleable and that’s important. We don’t remember in order to know what happened, we remember in order to know what to do."

I love this and I’d love to hear people’s reactions and thoughts about his statements in particular "We don’t remember in order to know what happened, we remember in order to know what to do."

Here’s a link to this audiobook if anyone’s interest is peaked. I have no affiliation with this gentleman. I simply offer this is the spirit of exploration and the possibility of learning. I just like this guy’s mind… :slight_smile:

See the Kindle edition here

Break the process down. There are places we learn in, people we learn from, situations we are subjected to, and resources we learn with. These books are a map through this chaos of possibilities.
> Each of the 328 learning secrets open a world of its own. Some of these will nourish you, some may poison you, and others can heal you. They are spices and medicines. Don’t use them all at once.


That’s a potent frame of reference. Internally, I feel that for any kind of painful memory. I do think there are pleasant memories that are there as a “storehouse” of simple uplifts.

When I tune into the painful ones that still arise in me, and I ask the question:

What is this memory telling me to do?

…there is an interesting response. And it’s feeling constricting… like by body reaction to something to fear and pay attention to as a threat.

Unresolved Trauma

With clients there are with freeze response traumas from the past often a “Why?!?!” or “What can I DO here to avoid this?!?”

That would fit, also, with the memory staying vivid and “now” in order to be “useful” to guide what to do.

Tapping seems to release that tension if we touch on the cognitive why and the reality of the situation… and also give the person a clearer sense of “what to do.” Perhaps then the memory serves its function and can be less vivid… even sometimes freed of all intensity, replaced by a kind of “boredom” with it.

I feel that way about the integrated traumas from my past, like they have no more utility in helping me know what to do. I’m too different now, and life has moved on, and the memories “know” that through the tapping and healing.

Thanks for sharing this, @Glenn!


It struck me that way as well. And when I consider it through the lens of biology and survival it makes sense. Memory must serve a function beyond simply warehousing past events. It makes sense that there would be a purposefulness to it that serves our survival here and now and into the future. Life and survival rest upon the ability to move…to take action. If memory exists primarily as some sort of ‘place’ that we visit for the purpose of leisurely reviewing past events (that either uplift or terrify us) that doesn’t mesh with any of our biological/survival imperative as mammals on this planet. Movement/doing = survival.

And this leads me to consider my own sense of ‘thriving’…how that feels energetically within me. I notice far less of a sense of movement involved…things slow down, even become stationary when I step into the idea of thriving. That’s interesting. The notion of ‘survival’ is far more energized with movement potential and movement necessity. If we extract movement out of our ideals about thriving (laying in a beach hammock all day, every day…) it seems to me our survival blueprint would slip rather quickly back into survival thinking and behaviours…it would be alerted by our lack of movement…a danger signal. A conundrum? A dynamic balance? Hmmmmmm.

I like that distinction…thank you…it feels ‘right’ to me…that is the utility of pleasant memories. And perhaps that still fits within the frame of ‘telling us what to do’…to recall those moments and perhaps have them guide us toward creating and enabling similar moments now and into the future.

As usual I’m mostly thinking ‘out loud’ here but I like the feeling of ‘safe vulnerability’ with posting this…it feels safe here for me to not have to worry about ‘getting everything exactly right’ before I post my thoughts. Thanks for that Rick.


Glenn, this may not be what you are talking about but I just replied to another post about how I don’t listen to a lot of music because it brings up so much emotion that I feel I might get overwhelmed. I brought up the Eric Carmen song, All By Myself and thought I might post the actual song when it started playing and I could feel my emotions rise way too fast and I quickly shut it off. So “I don’t remember in order to know what happened (to bring these memories up so strong as I listen to music), I remember to know what to do”… Turn it off until I am ready to process. Yes there are good memories to the music too but the emotional ones feel quite overwhelming.


Hmmm, interesting. Movement from a “get FIT or else!” has a different ringing imperative in my body. I think that is what I call “exercise” and why I avoid it – it’s too much strain on my system when it isn’t actually needed to survive (I could actually sit until I merge with my couch in eternal embrace :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

Thriving movement goes to the Still Point first. Rises from the Still Point. The still point in cranio-sacral therapy is where the cranio-sacral rhythm pauses to regenerate and recalibrate and find a new way forward. DEEPLY peaceful, non-compelling, a kind of “inspiration” of the core fluid of us that yields a very different complexion of movement.

Like it!


The lyrics are utterly painful for anyone who really does not WANT to live alone. I remember sobbing to that one.

Guess it’s true… sometimes (rarely) an emotional colonic can be helpful. But too often, it’s just shitty. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

They say ART is supposed to affect us, impact us, influence us, even change us. How do we want to change? What’s alive for us?

I don’t need art to poke me where I don’t want or need to be poked. There was a time, before and after my Dad’s death, where Reba McEntire’s The Greatest Man I Never Knew was one I learned to sing really deeply. It helped me really feel what a lack of emotional connection can mean to a child… including my inner child…

Now, as I tune to it, I don’t really want to listen to it. Doesn’t feel helpful anymore. Browsing the lyrics, I’m grateful for the clarity that has me treating my kids sooooo differently.


I have songs that resonate very emotionally with me too. What you’re describing makes perfect sense to me Jean.


So Rick, does it mean that we just don’t revisit music we used to like because it feels too shitty? I’m not talking about a deliberate emotional colonic. I like a lot of the 70s music because that was a really fun time for me. Sometimes I want to dance or sing to some of it and other times I feel very emotional.

Here’s one that about does me in. https://youtu.be/TTA2buWlNyM Alan Jackson’s Remember When.

Here’s another https://youtu.be/nl5Uog-MDGo Kathy Mattia Where’ve you Been?

I have ups and downs with the 50s music too.

1 Like

The Alan Jackson song is deeply emotional for me. Tingles and connections to lovers past (even ex-wife). If I’m choosing to listen, as I am right now, I am say… “I am willing (!) to have my emotions evoked, to be in all the mix of things touched on by this song!”

Honestly, if I had not integrated my past relationships sufficiently and my now-grown kids and the feelings there, the song would be taking me someplace… hard. Instead, I am smiling at the when 30 seemed so old (when my first child was born) and now here I am doing it again.

The Kathy Mattea song was not one I had heard before. AND, here’s what the youtube descriptions says:

The song was written for Kathy Mattea, who initially refused to record it, saying it would be too difficult to sing in concerts without crying.

Hahaha… yeah.

Reminds me of a member call where we were exploring movie genre’s like horror movies and how I can’t watch them without being impacted…so I don’t. It’s not a weakness in my world. This song speaks to hospice, and separation after decades together. I stopped there… and tapped.

Art is designed to emotionally impact us. This one did, and wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go so stopped. Again, that feels like clarity to me.

Have you considered curating your own playlist, one that really does connect with the Fun Times and omits songs that take you someplace else?

Honestly, I rarely listen to “oldies” that are not selected to touch me with more intention. If I am not careful, there are just songs that have not much sweetness and too much bitterness. Yeah, I believe I could tap to shift their energy, and it doesn’t seem as worth it compared to curating a list. I also do not watch the news or listen to radio. I am soooo grateful that my listening can be done so intentionally now.

Thanks for sharing that, Jean. I did really feel moved in an enrichening way by Remember When, hearing it now from a new place in my life.


A similar difficulty I have is looking at photos of my kids when they were little. I can’t do that for more than a minute or two and then I have to stop…it’s way too emotionally overwhelming.


I have ALL the letters that Bernie and I wrote to each other before we got married. He was in the Navy and we really didn’t spend a whole lot of time together except for these letters. I started reading them a few months ago and had to put them back in the box. They are numbered and dated. I think if I started reading them and tapped I’d probably tap my face off. :thinking:


I did not integrate my past relationships sufficiently and to be honest the Alan Jackson song felt more like what I missed if that makes sense. I wanted more emotional togetherness and this is what I hear when I listen to the song.

As for creating a playlist to connect me with Fun Times, what a good idea!! Here is my first one :hugs:

Pharrell Williams - Happy


:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I’m chuckling because I finally figured out how to use the quote function thingy!

Anyway, I agree…all art forms are meant to impact us whether it’s music, photography, dance, poetry…I’ve been painting for many years and only recently discovered/realized that I am a painter of my own feelings, emotions and dreams.

The last few months my creativity has been stagnant, to say the least. With this piece, my desire to paint my emotions was re-ignited. I used a photo I took in Serbia as a starting point as well as several themes (windows, birds, circles, maps) that resonate with me and went for it…inner critic and fear be damned! I would love to hear what emotions or feelings you, my trusted circle members, experience when you look at it…


Norene, I love this painting! I really do. I see collage in it too. There is so much to look at and I’m feeling it. I hope you feel like showing us more of your art. I never thought of painting this way, it is intriguing and so creative.


I am looking for “confirmations” (synchronicities) about what’s important to me… and what I experience is a reminder that our portals (windows) are often surrounded not by neat frames but by other things that catch our eye… and when we see out a bit it isn’t always going to be clear “what” we’re seeing even though it draws us to the window… and then outside.

Thank you @Norene!


I really like that painting Norene. One thing I noticed many years ago about paintings that are considered examples of a very high level of artistry is that they draw my eye in continuous movement…I may rest momentarily on some aspect or part of the painting but not for long…I’m then drawn to move my sight/feeling around the painting until some other aspect invites me to pause. The painting has movement and so it invites movement from me…a sort of dance happens. Your painting does that and I really like that experience. Thank you.


Thank you so much, Jean! Yes, I collaged a piece of bird-shaped map outside the window…It’s much like the map in the glovebox analogy Glenn was speaking of in a different conversation…for me, the bird symbolizes my totem animal that shows me the path to my goals and the map is the actual picture of where I am, with reminders of where I’ve been and where I’m going…I will very definitely share more of my art…thank you :blush:


SYNCHRONICITIES! I love that word! One of the many subjects I photograph when I travel is the Window…window of opportunity, window to what’s possible…window to just about anything. In the instance of this Serbian window, I was seeing something I had never seen before, meaning a bullet ridden wall of someone’s home as a result of the war in 1991. That window was not framed neatly, was very messy with political crap, etc. What I clearly saw when I shot that picture 23 years after the conflict was such incredible Resilience and people who were choosing to be happy. I’m chuckling again as I realize that I’ve never really engaged in a conversation about the reasons behind what and why I paint or photograph what I do! Thank you, Rick, I really appreciate the Community Center and all it offers :heart:


It’s vulnerable for me to do that. And it feels so healing for me to share more deeply about why a quote matters to ME… rather than what I’d do on Facebook which is just share it and let people have their own meaning, or guess.

I really appreciate you taking our feedback and sharing with even more Realness the energetic context of the original photo and how you’ve take and evolved it into Art and Heart. Love you! Thank you! :pray:


WoW, Glenn! Thank you for noticing a concept that, very truthfully, I struggle with all of the time…so much so, that I think I have just stopped THINKING about it and paint more spontaneously! It does my heart good to know that my painting takes you on a journey! :heart: