I've written about long road trips before. This past year I've taken five 14 hour or more road trips. There is something about hitting the road, especially alone, that clears my head and makes room for all kinds of possibility.
I am blessed to have to drive down to Prescott, AZ twice a semester for grad school colloquium. The trip is usually great, but this last one was particularly amazing...
I sang in the car the whole way down, barely noticing the 14 hours of the trip fly by. I intentionally came down a day early so I could climb with a classmate before getting down to the business of school. I rolled into Prescott around 8pm and immediately went to meet my friend at The Raven, a local pub with live music and 10ft worth of beer taps.
The next morning we headed out to climb. To say I was surprised by our destination would be an understatement. We drove for about 30 minutes through the flattest farm land I'd seen since Kansas. We parked and walked along a train track till I spotted what looked like a bridge. As we came closer, the situation took shape: There in the middle of the flatlands was a 50ft river gorge lined with beautiful basalt columns and cracks.
On such a perfect day, I still found myself sketched out by this persistent fear of heights I fight. To top it off, I began to doubt myself and my ability to quickly build secure anchors for our climbing projects. The self doubt nearly ruined my day, but I pushed through it and had a good time anyway.
For me, these kinds of trips seem etched into my brain. I'll remember them, possibly forever. It was on this same trip I learned (thank you counseling psychology) that kind of memory is called "explicit" memory. Explicit memories are formed when your attention and emotions are focused on an idea, event, etc. When you recall an explicit memory, you have the internal sensation that you are remembering something. There is another kind of memory - implicit memory - that influences our lives just as much. Implicit memories begin forming when you are a baby. These are the memories that are not associated with that feeling of recall, are made without intentional attention, and hide in the background of our brains. They affect our behavior on the subconscious level, often to the point that their affects are just assimilated into who we believe we are.
The implicit memories made throughout our lives are silent principles we agree with, that we believe, and that influence our behavior. When I look at the parts of me that I don't like, my fears and insecurities, the things that make me sad or keep getting me into trouble - their source could be a set of implicit memories, hardwired into my brain years ago.
You mean, I'm not stuck feeling/behaving/doing these things forever?
What power such a small shift in perspective has. The things that hold me back aren't ME- they are just parts of me, changeable, like everything else in this life.
So what do you believe to true about you? Do you believe you are capable, or incapable? Destined for greatness, or failure? Doomed to the life you have now, or fully in control of how you move in this world?
Memories shape who we are, without a doubt, but they don't have to determine who we become. So be free, be happy, be loved and be bold!