Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Memories, Nostalgia and a Loss of Innocence

President John F. KennedyFall is a tough time of year for me. It’s a hard thing to admit, as so many people love the autumn change of season. For me, the loss of colour and beauty, as the trees shed their leaves, coupled with the darkness of shorter days, has always been personally challenging. The fall is also a constant reminder for me of where my health journey all began.

November 22, 1963. A day everyone remembers as the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The whole world mourned America’s “loss of innocence.” For me, it became a pivotal day. A day that changed my life — forever. As a world, we mourned a collective loss of innocence. That day, I experienced my own personal loss of innocence. A loss that would in many ways, inform the rest of my life.

As a junior high student, vice-president of the student council at the time, I’d been suffering for several years with undiagnosable health issues that had me subjected to doctor after doctor, test after test, with a predicted, yet unlikely, prognosis that I was a “perfectionist.” I was down to a shocking 85 pounds and was considered deathly ill. Although the perfectionist diagnosis was possibly the truth, it probably wasn’t a viable diagnosis for the physical symptoms. Through years of seeking and exploration, I know now, the two are absolutely connected.

On November 22, 1963, my father, Louis, picked me up from school and we talked about the loss of president Kennedy and what it meant to us all. It had only been briefly mentioned at school that day, from my memory. Perhaps that memory is lost forever, as my father then announced to me, with great relief in his voice, that the newest doctor I had been taken to finally found “something.” My large and small bowel had somehow twisted themselves in a huge knot, an unusual “never before seen” phenomenon, that was later written up in a prestigious medical journal.

The gastroenterologist was referring me to one of Toronto’s top surgeons who was going to “fix” me. Cut date was scheduled over the Christmas holidays and they assured my parents, who had already spent more than enough troubled days and nights, that I would be “good as new” afterward. If only life were that simple.

The experience was horrific for me. That’s putting it mildly. Waking up with a tube down my nose and throat (the infamous nasogastric tube) is still so real for me that it set the stage for how I would move through the traditional medical system for the rest of my life.

My parents didn’t really ask a lot of questions before the surgery, as they were just grateful that someone had found something. I believe that is the key moment in my life, as young as I was, that I vowed to always ask as many questions as I needed to, to be prepared and get answers so I’d know what to expect. It’s also possible I asked a lot of questions before this. Funny thing how we create a story about a memory and it becomes our “truth.” This became one of the stories in my new book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.

That day is only one of many in my life that is not only nostalgic, but one where the memories are so alive, it’s almost as if they happened yesterday. There are other key world events that create the same instant recall in me too. I happened to be in Los Angeles with my family in August of 1962, when Marilyn Monroe died. My brother Niel says he believes he remembers that we could see the funeral procession from the window in the restaurant we were eating in. That, I don’t remember.

Some years later, my best traveling buddy Sharon and I were in Los Angeles spending a fun summer. It was August 1969. Then the Manson murders shocked and rocked the world and being in L.A. immediately ceased to be a carefree summer holiday. These are two trips I have never forgotten. Precise moments in time, which created indelible memories.

Years later, when my daughter’s television series Ready or Not brought us to New York to film promos for its American network, we were comfortably settled in the studio enjoying taping the segments, when we felt what seemed to be an earthquake shake the foundation of the building. Everyone was visibly rattled, as there was no logical explanation for what this possibly could have been. It was February 26,1993, the morning of the day the first attempted World Trade Center bombing happened. Luckily, the bombing was somewhat unsuccessful. It was a very unsettling time for the world, maybe a forewarning of a more tragic time, with a much more devastating event to come.

The following year, on May 19,1994, my daughter Lani and I were back in New York and heard the sad news that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had succumbed to lymphoma, which had only been diagnosed in January of that year. We joined the world and mourned this iconic lady.

As I revisited my life to write Confessions, these stories surfaced as very vivid memories. Somehow the synchronistic timing of my life and my travels, with these key historical events, seemed to have left a permanent impression on my memory. I believe that many people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing for these same events. The day John Lennon died is another one of those events. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?

On this 50th-year anniversary of JFK’s death, listening to people’s stories of where they were when they heard he had died, and the impact it had on their life, was incredibly moving. For me, it brought up both the collective and personal memory of that day again.

It’s interesting to look at what we remember. I’m blessed to have a remarkable 97-year-old mother, Lil, whose memory is still so accurate, she astounds people. She’s an inspiration and shows what is possible. Our lives are made up of memories. As a curious observer of human nature, I am continually amazed and fascinated by the way we spin the stories around these memories. Facts are the truth. Stories are the colour that bring them to life. That’s what is so amazing about creating your own individual life. There are so many unformed memories yet to be lived.

What are the memories that still live on in you?

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com  or follow me on Twitter:  @goldenbeverley

The Past Is Always Present, So Make It Work For You

Letting Go - Creative Commons by gnuckxMany self-help teachers will urge you to live in the moment:  “The past is over and done with. The present is a present.”  Of course, it is great to fully experience the present and not dilute it with invasive thoughts of the past or even future worries – the way animals live moment to moment; however, humans are far more complex. And when someone tells you not to think about something or do something, that’s all you think about. Ask any unsuccessful dieter!

Let your past work for you

Memories are powerful teachers, lessons of the past making you wiser. Also, they can be comforting like a favorite old story to be retold or an old movie to be seen again. Ultimately, when you reflect on the past, you might finally unlock a pattern which has undermined your true potential and change what no longer works.  A great byproduct is that you can recall the former self you have lost touch with throughout the years to be what you aspire to be.

7 Steps to understand where you’ve been to get where you want to go

* Find a place to withdraw from all the nervous energy and demands around you and create the time to breathe and reflect.

* Take stock of your hidden dreams. Recall the people from the past who inspired and fueled you to be the best that you can be. Process what they said and hear their voices again. What did they say that you were good at doing? Find it.

* If you feel stressed and anxious, take a closer look at the roots of your daily unhappiness. What old words of criticism from parents, educators or friends still upset you? Do you use these same words in your own negative self-talk: “Fat,” “Stupid,”  “Ugly,” “Never amount to anything?” It’s time to silence your inner critic and speak to yourself with compassion and respect.

* Identify the life pattern which is holding you back. Introspect on your past emotional programming – things you feel you ought to do. What will you do differently today to accomplish for yourself? Make sure you know why you want to achieve your new goals.

* Forgive yourself today for past failures. Create a ritual of forgiveness which is meaningful to you like reciting a prayer, or flushing away a piece of paper with your failure written on it. When you forgive yourself, you will be emotionally available to forgive others. What tends to bother people most is not that someone hurt them, but that they allowed themselves to be hurt.

* Do you idealize the past to escape your present – the good old days, or the one that got away? Try tuning into your daily reality and investing it with the same energetic imagination.

* Get into a state of flow and become one with whatever you are doing – where past and present merge into a single unit of time. For example, a golf swing or a dance you have practiced many times where you go from past rehearsal to present accomplishment automatically and effortlessly.

Note: Those of you who have suffered past trauma should consult a psychiatrist about revisiting the past – as some memories need a medical guide or should remain undisturbed.
 

Originally posted in 2011 

Throwback Thursday: 8 Major US Cities As Seen by Your Great-Grandparents

Here are some of the most iconic American cities, now bustling centers of commerce, entertainment, fashion, and media. They were important in these regards back in the day, too, but by the looks of these photos you’d never know it!

All of these images come from about the late 19th century, which you can tell by the horse-drawn carriages and old-fashioned clothing styles. We live in the 21st century, surrounded by all kinds of cultures and styles and immersed in contemporary issues and concerns. It’s important, though, to remember where we came from, and that we are part of a long line of individuals who have lived in, experienced, and help built this country we call home.

And what’s more, these photographs are just so darn precious. Take a look!

Boston – Newspaper Row, Washington StreetOld-Photos-of-Big-Cities-30

Philadelphia – Broad Street

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San Francisco – Bay Bridge

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New York – Grand Central Station and Hotel Manhattan

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Chicago – Wabash Avenue

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Detroit – Woodward Avenue

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Los Angeles – South Broadway

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Washington D.C. – Ninth Street

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And one bonus from New York… (Wall Street!)

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Images sourced: Fludit and Los Angeles Past

7 Old-Time Ads That Would Cause Riots Today

Before tobacco companies were legally mandated to disclose the connection between cigarettes and cancer - it was probably a winning strategy to be the most popular death stick with doctors!When there are campaigns in the US to ban literary classics and relegate women to second class citizenship it can be hard to tell how much progress we’ve made over the years.

But can you imagine a time when it was okay to send all of your friends cartons of cigarettes for Christmas? How about feed your baby coca-cola in their morning bottle? Women are still fighting for the right to make decisions about their own bodies, but what about a time when wives were only considered important for their ability to put dinner on the table?

Check out these real ads from the past that would cause certain outrage today. Some of them are ironic, some illegal and others infuriating. We still have a long way to go with some of the issues these ads raise, but sometimes it’s good to see how far we’ve come already.

What do you think of these? Which is the most surprising to you? Tell us in comments below! 

Deepak Chopra: How Do We Relieve Existential Suffering?

We’ve all experienced the fear and pain that can come from considering our own demise. What is the meaning of life, and how do we rise above the uncertainty of it all? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses suffering related to our sense of identity in relation to the world – also known as existential suffering.

Does existential suffering arise from awareness of our mortality? What are the causes and how can we remedy this type of suffering? Looking at Vedantic traditions, Deepak’s list of five reasons that lead to existential suffering can be overcome by understanding that our fear is largely a projection of consciousness. True consciousness is an infinite field of creativity, much grander than the confines of our projected reality.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Find Out What You Want – Step #6

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 Yeah, screw that! Really! I know that I should be writing an inspiring story here about how wonderful it is to change, and see, and discover … blah, blah blah!

It isn’t wonderful. It sucks. It’s hard and makes you unsettled, uprooted and homesick. I am homesick, big time.

Tonight.

I want to go home, back home, back to the other side of the world, to the other continent, to the other country where it’s warm and sunny, where it doesn’t rain all the time, where I can see the feathery palm trees and ocean sparkling in the sun from my windows. I want to go back to the place that is so terribly, drastically different from where I came from that … that I can forget where I came from. No, I don’t even have to forget — it simply doesn’t exist.

I want to go back to that other life, the second life, to that home where Pausha lived in ease and comfort, where she knew who she was and where she was, and what worked how. Where she knew the rules.

I am homesick tonight. Very, very homesick and, tonight, I want to tell you this: if you think that moving to the south of France is a grand adventure full of pleasures and delights, well — think again!

It is hard and it sucks to … to lose the Pausha I created to defend myself from myself.

It is hard to have to face me without the cushy comforts of a sunny paradise.

It is hard to have all the padding and defenses striped away, to stand naked and alone in front of myself, for myself to see and to know.

It is necessary, yes. It is how presence grows and how God becomes God, yes. It is all that but…

but it sucks, and it is hard, and I don’t want to!

I want to go home!

Tonight.

Find Out What You Want – Step #1

Nostalgia The Very Good Way And The Pathological Way.

I learned that Nostalgia comes from Latin which means house or home. I forget the exact meaning which it really means. It is the meaning of looking for a Home for me. I wanted to always look for the home of the past. You always remember the happiest moments of the best times. You never remember the bad times too much. Except for me who tends to dwell on the negative so very much. I am so very focused on that crap it is ridiculous. That is all part of letting go here too. To realize the past was never ever as good as it was remembered. It was crappy at that point in time in time too. It had it’s very bad moments too. Their is the right way though. To just kick back and just be in conversation this was really good stuff. Reminsence and just be move on. The other way to hold on to it all is pathological. It is time to move on. To live life to the fullest.

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