Arthur M. Schlesinger said, ‘Science and technology revolutionise our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.’ Our memories are stored in our minds and we are able to take them with us everywhere we go. They are a part of our identity and often account for a large part of who we are. Different types of our memories are stored in different parts of our brains. We have memories that are about events that have taken place in our lives and these are known as ‘episodic memories’. We also have ‘semantic’ memories that include facts and broad-spectrum information. We also store ‘implicit’ memories that are linked to movement or how our muscles remember how to operate a television remote or how to knit a scarf. We also have long-term and short-term memories; these assist us to navigate the past and present respectively. Once we have affixed a tangible physical artefact to a memory this object becomes a symbolic reminder of the memory we have attached to it. This object ‘becomes’ the memory. The feelings associated with it are what we need to identify before we are ready to let go of this item from our lives.
When we know WHY we feel a certain way about an object we will be able to assign it an Object Classification. This classification will be critical in understanding our own relationship to this object. If this is an object we identify ourselves with, we must give it space to live with us. Or we might well be ready to positively let go of this object but still retain the memory that we associate to it. By choosing to let it go we will create a new memory of this object in our minds. For example, when letting go of some of your good quality ‘work’ clothes, visualise the value the new owner may receive from your donation, such as obtaining employment because your no-longer-needed jacket allowed them to look the part for the job. Another example I like to use with my clients is donating good-quality items that have packaging such as crystal vases, candlesticks and sliver photo frames as they may be of great value to someone who needs to purchase a high-end item without the retail price tag. Our tangible objects serve us as physical reminders of these memories that we have attached to them. Ultimately, YOU are your memories.