Emotional Memory



There must be something like ’emotional memory’. I am at the IBM Learning Center in Armonk, New York this week facilitating an executive leadership workshop. The last time I was here was the first week of August 2011 to facilitate this same workshop. The Friday before I had received the results of my breast biopsy indicating cancer. I remember feeling so grateful that my cancer had been detected early, that I was alive and vibrant and able to participate in this exciting work. I remember having moments where I felt utterly alone and uncertain and afraid. I remember being grateful to have meaningful work to take me outside of myself. I also remember how supported I felt by my manager when I shared the news with him – to my surprise his wife and mother were also survivors. I remember the incredible release of sharing with my colleague, friend and sister survivor Paula and taking in her experience and wisdom – there’s something about shared experience that takes the edge off the loneliness and fear. I remember wrapping myself in the healing scarf that my Chakra Group shares at our monthly gatherings – they’d given it to me to bring as a reminder of their love and friendship. I remember lying on the bed with the scarf around me in the dark inviting health, nourishment, and wholeness. I remember feeling hugged from across the ocean when I opened the gift my friend and colleague Marjolein in Amsterdam had sent to the campus for me – it was the perfect book of inspiration to keep my heart and mind focused on the light. The book is called Believe by Dan Zadra & Kobi Yomada (available on Amazon) and includes wonderfully uplifting quotes. I brought it with me to support me in what I anticipated might be an emotional flashback. It’s hard to explain how being here surfaces these memories and the rich feeling and emotion that accompanies each memory.

A sampling of the dark:

This is from my journal on 8/5/11:

I am not this cancer.
It’s an imposter.
It must go, at all costs.
That’s what matters.
For now my intention is for the sick cells
to stick together so we can cut them out.
Be gone.
Go away.
Leave me whole.

And, a sampling of the light:

A few of my favorite quotes from Believe:

  • Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself. ~Andre Gide
  • Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid. ~Dorothea Brande
  • …everything in life responds to the song of the heart. ~Ernest Holmes
  • Look the world straight in the eye. ~Helen Keller
  • Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it. ~Leo Buscaglia

About Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing, gardening, photography, or my work. Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

2 responses »

  1. Sometimes I think those emotional memories are another layer of healing, to go back and then move forward. Your Chakra groups sounds amazing, support and positive energy definitely help one’s spirit and healing! Thank you for sharing the quotes, I especially like “Look the world straight in the eye”. Be well, Vicki!

    • I think you are right…I had a sense of healing, and growing. And, yes, my Chakra Group of 4 other beautiful women is an incredible gift. Thanks for stopping by and sharing with me!

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