Talismans, Memories, & Kindness
Talismans, Memories, & Kindness - wowsers, it's a first! This post contains no Pilates references at all - just some musings on life and your health.
I’ve had two really close friends recently lose their dearly loved dads, which got me thinking about my dearly loved dad.
He died over 15 years ago and I’ve kept a few random things that were his
photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos
When my dad retired he became an avid amateur painter - he loved it - and one of the things I admired about him is that if he was curious about something he wasn’t fussed to give it a crack.
Although I rarely read it I’ve kept one of his art reference books “to remember him by” and have recently started using it as part of the stack that lifts my iPad up to an ergonomic level as I type - yep, it’s under there right now (as well as a ginormous dictionary - see the opening photo)
My point is that every time I make my book stack and sit down to work I think of my dad and get the warm fuzzies - yes, I still miss him.
I think of his fearlessness, his kindness, his support of my sisters and myself, and his acceptance of pretty much everyone unless you were the person who was responsible for timing the traffic lights in my hometown. Then your job skills were called into question in regular letters to the editor published in our local newspaper. He made such a habit of this (not just about the traffic lights - but the writing of letters) that in my family if you’re not happy about something or make a complaint, you are told to “write a letter”😆
When I made that book a talisman I started to notice other things that I’ve held onto over the years that also elicit strong emotional connections stimulating memories of love and support. And here’s what I’ve found: some of these talismans are not physical objects at all.
They might be memories of quite incidental things: maybe a positive comment, a shared idea, a slight bit of encouragement from a person that sticks with you. Maybe they're memories of them just being themselves exhibiting love and zest for life. (Miss Goodall, grade 10 english, I’m thinking of you!)
Although the phrase is hugely overused now, I have to say I’ve been “hashtag blessed” throughout my life with a lot of people who’ve believed in me (there have also def been a couple of haters and some less-than-impressed-with-me folks but well, I’ll save those stories for another post). Because of this I have a well of positive memories to pull from when my self esteem heads out the door, for example if I’ve exhibited some silly or unbecoming behaviour.
I’m sure everyone has a memory of someone at sometime performing a kindness for them but if you feel like you shore up your supply, here are a few things you can do...
First surround yourself with: Physical talismans, good luck charms, whatever you want to call them, that remind you of the people that you love or love you. Think of Marie Kondo and her advice to only keep things around you that “spark joy”
photo by Haley Owens
Next add: A list of some of your internal memories when people offered a kind word or deed. I’m in the process of turning some of these seemingly inconsequential memories into distinctly personal affirmations and will use them when I need a bit of a pick-me-up
photo by David Matos
Finally: be the positive memory maker or talisman giver for someone else:
Remember the trend from the 90’s of “practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty”? It’s called pro social behaviour.
Pro social behaviour is supported by research showing health improving when you do something nice for someone else.
Here’s a cool study from high school students in Canada. The intervention group volunteered with elementary students once a week for two months while the control group was put on a wait-list. When the study was finished the intervention group showed better cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol levels, reduced BMI, and lower levels of inflammation.
As I said, pretty cool.
And if you freely do small kindnesses for others, it’s probably no surprise that you’ll be happier - yippee. (when I say small, I mean holding the door for someone or buying someone a cup of coffee) Just read the World Happiness Report from 2019 for all the details and research.
To sum up I’ll leave you with two quotes
Now it's time to go forth, find some objects you love, call up some positive memories and be kind to someone else for your own health and happiness.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and Rebecca Forde disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this post
header photo by moi', social photo by David Matos
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