The Ritual of Re-remembering

This year May arrived with a burst of heat and a gust of wind, a particularly unfortunate combination for me.

Nothing else antagonizes my allergies like this springtime duo. And when I’m in the midst of one of my rapid fire sneezing fits, don’t even bother trying to comfort me with a well-intentioned bless you, because you’ll have to repeat it so quickly and so often that you’ll end up gasping for breath, just like me. (But at least your eyes won’t be red and itchy and watery.)

So. I was feeling kind of down. Can you tell?

My allergy medicine was struggling to keep up and all I could foresee was at least another two months of misery.

My spirits rose momentarily as I looked ahead to 4th of July fireworks, which symbolize the end of allergy season for me.

But then I started thinking about how hot it would be and how summer would drag on and blah, blah, blah.

Yes, you might say I was doing a wee bit of catastrophizing.

And then things began to turn.

I had a good night’s sleep.

The temperature dropped a few degrees.

I wandered through the garden for a bit.

All of which helped, but what actually helped the most was that it got me to a place where I started to remember.

Or, as I like to say, re-remembered.

Because this is not the first (or last) time I will need to remember this.

And as I began re-remembering what I know about myself and summer, I started writing in my journal:

I like gardening in the evenings, puttering among the plants as the heat abates and the sun begins to drop.


I love being outside during the magic hour, when day transforms into night.


I enjoy walking through the neighborhood in the dark, guided by the brightness of stars and moon.


There’s almost nothing better than a lazy summer day spent outside in the shade with a stack of books.


Summer fruit! Melons. Peaches. Nectarines. Cherries. Apricots. Berries. Farmer’s markets and roadside stands, here I come.


Oh, the beach. My summer sanctuary. This year I’m closer than ever because my getaway home in Sonoma County is less than an hour from some of my favorite fog-shrouded Northern California beaches.


There’s also a delightful thing that happens in August: the Perseid meteor showers.


So now maybe you’re wondering: Why am I telling you all this?

It’s because as human beings we have this wonderful capacity to forget.

I’ve heard it said that if we couldn’t forget, we’d never leave the house. We’d be constantly worried about all the possible dangers out there, everything from car accidents to terrorism.

The problem is, we forget the good stuff too.

We forget that we have this quiet knowing deep within us that’s always been present.

And we need to remember. And re-remember. A lot.

When we have an experience of re-remembering, it’s almost like we’ve had a dream that’s guiding us.

And one of the best things we can do with such an important dream is to create a ritual that physically takes the dream’s message into the world.

One of my rituals is process art.

That’s what anchors my re-remembering dreams in the world.

That’s why I made this collage, so I have something tangible to hold and return to, to remind me of my quiet knowing.

I’ve discovered that the more rituals and artifacts I have, the less likely I am to forget. They help me pull myself back to what I know when I’m in a forgetting place, like I was at the beginning of the month.

What rituals and artifacts help you re-remember your own quiet knowing?


click on any image to enlarge

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8 thoughts on “The Ritual of Re-remembering

  1. Re-remembering ROCKS! Isn’t it funny how easy it is to forget?

    SoulCollage (both making & looking back at the cards) is one I re-remember – and the gratitude journal that I attempt to write in every day helps too!

    You’ve got me thinking now, Patty – I’m going to re-remember what helps me remember! And also look for some things to add to my re-remembering process! Thanks!

    • Yes, it is funny, but self-protective. Gotta love that about human beings. I’ve never officially done soul collage but have the book and love to do collage. The looking back is so important and grounding, don’t you think?

  2. Remembering as a spiritual practice. The more we hold that quiet and joyful place, the more it invites us to return. But when I do forget, I pick up an inspiring book and use it for writing prompts. It never fails to bring me back to center. Hugging a loved one does the trick too. Happy remembering, Patty!

  3. Hi Patty,

    Such a beautiful post. Think the endless news negativity gets us focusing on the ugliness instead of the beauty of life.

    Summers are so fleeting and finite that I want to celebrate them even if it is hot and I’ve got an allergic cough, etc. Out on the East Coast we can’t wait for the warm weather.

    Summer nights are glorious – the stars, the warmth, the frogs croaking.

    I always remember my summers spent at camp with good friends – no tv or malls or even radio, just conversation and laughter and mischief.

    How wonderful that was!

    I often think Earth is the garden of eden, of heaven but we can’t accept it and instead create a hell.

    Saw a great twilight zone episode last night about just that, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.

    Thanks, G.

    • What a lovely memory of summer camp, G. That reminds me of summers spent with my grandparents in the country. I’m with you, so ready to celebrate summer. Ready to celebrate more, period. When did everyone get so serious and driven?

  4. Oh, catastrophizing, my old friend. I know it so well! But lately I’ve been trying to re-member by just pausing and taking a deep breath and checking in. I’ve really been working on doing this with food. I have a long ways to go–its a definite process! Love, love, love your images!

    • Thank you, Charlotte! Yes it’s a process and I think some people think it’s simple, this mindfulness stuff. Not so. I admire everyone who is trying to do more of this.

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