· By Case Kenny
How to unlock core memories
I want to talk about unlocking core memories.
I want to talk about this idea in the context of gratitude and taking back control in your life. We have to find a way to be more grateful and unfortunately gratitude is one of those things where you can’t fake the funk. You can't just say "I'm grateful" and expect to get the effects of gratitude.
We practice gratitude so we can finally stop rushing.
We practice gratitude so we can finally stop guilting or shaming ourselves.
We practice gratitude so we can finally be proud of ourselves.
We practice gratitude as a way to narrate our own lives - to assign value to the moments we decide are worthy of. Not someone else, not someone else’s expectations or labels - but our own, because we’re living in the moment.
A core memory is just what it sounds like - a formative event that is tied to strong emotions.
Your first plane ride. Your first baseball game. Getting married. Skydiving. Getting your first job.
Core memories are memories you look back on and say "wow… that moment was big. That moment was formative. That was a special moment." It’s the key to gratitude if we can realize we’re unlocking core memories WHILE we’re unlocking them.
Normally we don’t realize we’re creating a core memory WHILE we’re creating it. We realize it in retrospect.
But how would life be different if we acknowledged we were unlocking a core memory in the moment WHILE we were doing it?
How would that change things?
I think it would supply us with an immediate dose of gratitude.
If you’re in a moment and you’re able to say "this is a core memory," I don’t think your head, your presence, or your appreciation could possibly be anywhere but that moment.
"This is a core memory. This is a core memory because I decide it's a core memory. It's a core memory because I assign them value. I do. Not someone else, not randomness, not in retrospect 10 years from now. Not when I no longer have the ability to do that same thing or recreate that experience. But today. As I live the moment."
That is the key to immediate gratitude and taking back control in your life.
But let's also recognize that not all core memories are vibrant, filed with life, and positive.
And as much as those suck - a breakup, a bad event, loss, pain, betrayal, frustration, etc. - I think those moments are also worthy of presence and assignment of being core memories WHILE you're in them.
Because that is what makes them matter.
If they don’t matter, then what’s the point?
In the case of core negative memories, saying they matter, being in the moment and assigning it value... that is how you empower yourself to never go back to moments like that again. "I am in this moment… so that I know what it feels like and I’m never going back."
Sit in that moment and say "this is the last time I feel this way."
There’s power in owning that as a core formative memory.
Similar to how gratitude gives you power back in a life that is chaotic and filled with rushing, owning a core negative memory and saying "this is what I’m going to do with this moment and this feeling"… that’s also how you take your power back.
Feeling lost and unlovable after a blindsiding breakup… "I promise myself to never allow someone to rob me of my worth."
Feeling like a failure after a business bust… "I promise myself that this moment will only make me work harder and this doesn’t change who I am."
Feeling disappointed in yourself after letting yourself down… "I promise myself I will never do this again. But right now I promise myself to be soft and understanding."
Owning the narration. That is what gratitude is about.
That is what growth is about. In the face of non-stop distractions, constant comparison, and rushing we can say "this is a moment I will look back on and appreciate so right now I am saying this is a core memory and I will treat it as such. I am here. I am present." In the face of disappointment, pain, or hurt we can say "this is a moment that is a turning point. This is a catalyst for change, for better or for different so right now I am saying this a core memory and I will treat it as such. I am here. I am present."
There's power in YOU deciding to narrate your life from your point of view.
"This moment is meaningful to me. This moment is rewarding. This moment is empowering. This moment is a spark for change."
That is YOUR narration… not someone else’s.
That’s not someone else assigning worthy or value to life. That’s not someone else taking value or worth from you.
It’s your core memory because your decide it is and the greatest power we have in life is to be fully in the moments we live - not just in retrospect or as a source of nostalgia. But currently and presently.