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The power of Re-Remembering

Have you ever had a situation that comes up that reminds you of what you lost along the way? A surprising encounter that brings up a past memory and you wonder, ‘when did I forget about this?’


I was recently invited to attend a therapy training event at the Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy – the surprise invitation came from Dr. Stephen Madigan who has been a mentor to me for more than 14 years. I started training with Stephen in 2010 and learning and implementing Narrative Therapy into my practice was life-changing.

Like many of us, Covid was overwhelming and shifted my focus on supporting my team and the community as we navigated the mental health impacts of a global pandemic. I was focused and had to let go of many things that were part of my life – I knew that I was doing what everyone was doing, adjusting to the demands and the shifting changes of life.


And like many of us, I forgot about everything I let go to make space for Covid. Some things, I didn’t want back – the overworking, having an insane schedule that left me feeling depleted, traffic, and people standing too close to me in a lineup. But somewhere along the way, I forgot about all the things and connections that brought joy and community.


Receiving the invitation from Stephen was a reminder of the community I cherished, the Narrative Therapy community, that I hadn’t reinstated since the pandemic. I forgot that I belong to a thriving community of gifted therapists who think outside the box, challenge me to expand my thinking and being in a safe community to explore new ways of therapy and being in the world. How did I forget this? How had I allowed other things to get in the way of my remembering?


I know that this happens often – what have you forgotten? What do you need help re-remembering?


We so often need help to re-remember the part of ourselves that we leave behind – not that we leave them because we don’t love them, but we leave them behind as a short-term sacrifice for something that demands our attention. We tell ourselves, ‘I’ll get back to this’ and somehow, we forget. I’m astounded at how quickly and easily this happens, not out of being naïve but as a recognition of my own human experience. We, therapists, are human after all.  


It leaves me wondering how I can be more intentional in re-remembering what I’ve forgotten for the sake of making space for the demands in front of me. I also want you to re-remember the things that were once meaningful to you, that perhaps was also left behind to make space and capacity for the present.


When you look back at your life, what have you left behind that needs to be re-remembered?


What can help you bring this forgotten piece forward?


How will this re-remembering support you in the present?


How will re-remembering help you connect with yourself and others?


What can you do to anchor this re-remembering in your life?


Who can support you in your re-remembering journey?


Those are a few journaling prompts that I’d like you to explore – I sure know that I’ll be using them to support my re-remembering journey.


I’m grateful for Stephen’s generous invitation – it reminded me of what part of me I forgot about, my need for community. It’s often the generous gifts of others that help us re-remember – it’s like the universe knew what I needed and reminded Stephen. Perhaps, the universe helped him re-remember me in his life, his mentee and colleague.

The world is a strange and beautiful place – I hope that this helps you re-remember.


Be well,

Cecilia

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