The Awe of Forgetting
Forgetting is as common to the human experience as breathing so where’s the awe? Awe is supposed to be something special—something moving right?
May I remind you that Awe is more than the spectacular. When awe is mundane, it’s harder to see, but that’s the whole point! When you can begin to see the awe in the every day...well… I’m going to let you just sit with that, as it is.
To my mind, the awe of forgetting is that it is both Awe-some AND Aw-ful depending on the thing you’ve forgotten. Take me for instance. Last night I was thinking about this post and what I wanted to write. The possibilities are infinite. A thought came to me that resonated and had a degree of ease and flow.
But in no time, I got busy with a few other things. Tidying up the kitchen. Getting the kids tucked into bed and so forth. When I finally put my head to pillow I allowed the earlier thought of awe to float around and watched words come and go. I went to sleep feeling confident and clear that I knew what I was going to write.
This morning, I can’t remember what I was thinking about! I’m serious. I’m completely drawing a blank. I know the thought is in there and more than likely some time today, it will pop up out of nowhere and I won’t have a piece of paper or a pen to write it down! That’s the Aw-ful part so I’m going to remember to put a pen in my bag and I’ll use my hand if I can’t find paper. The Awe-some aspect is thinking about the mind itself.
Where did this thought go? What’s layered on top of it that I can’t retrieve it right now? What does my brain look like when this memory connects to certain neurons and fires and I get that rush of recollection? Wouldn’t it be Awe-some to watch and see that happening?
Forgetting is a powerful neurological event and I would be insensitive if I didn’t acknowledge that sometimes when the brain in is decline, forgetting and the inability to retrieve is overwhelmingly Aw-ful.
Furthermore, let me mention another quieter aspect of forgetting that’s pretty Awe-some. Sometimes the mind has a caring way of forgetting trauma. It’s often called repression and if stuffed away for too long can cause Aw-ful damage. However, sometimes in the moment, disassociation and forgetting can be a life- saver!
The Awe of forgetting- both Awe-some and Aw-ful.
ps: Just as I was about to post this piece, I REMEMBERED my thoughts from last night. Not to worry. I wrote them down!!