Memorial Day – Remembering the Past


Every year for as long as I can remember, my family had a tradition of honoring those who were no longer with us.  In the United States, Memorial Day is a national holiday as a remembrance of our fallen soldiers and those who served in all branches of the military.

I’ve always loved Memorial Day for many reasons.  As a child, it was the gateway to a care-free summer and no school!  It was a day of family, picnics, good food, and story-telling. It was a very special day where we would put together bouquets of flowers and go to each of the cemeteries where my grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins had been buried.  It was always an all-day ritual of driving to Ogden, Hooper, and West Weber cemeteries to place those flowers on each of their graves.  Everyone we knew was also out there – extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.  It was a type of informal reunion where we’d connect and tell stories of our loved ones to keep their memories alive.

I heard the stories of my grandfather and his three brothers who all served in World War I.  My grandfather was in the first air corps and was a gunner.  His three brothers all served in the trenches.  I learned about World War II and my uncles’ and other relatives who fought and their stories.    I come from a long line of proud veterans and warriors who faithfully and proudly served our country, so memorial day has always been a very big tradition for us to honor those who served – as well as all who have fallen.

Here in Utah the cemeteries are simply beautiful.  On Memorial Day, acres of headstones are turned into acres of flowers, small windmills, patriotic flags, pictures, and all types of decorations.  They are a riot of color and lovingly placed mementos that are given in remembrance of loved ones.

But for me, I think the most magical thing was seeing all the spirits of those no longer with us shimmering throughout the cemeteries, mingling with all the gathered people, and communing with the living, as they shared the stories, good times, tears and laughter.

For me, it brought a feeling of continuity and a deep knowing that even though our bodies may die, the Spirit is eternal. I always felt great comfort and joy in the connections with the departed.  It never felt scary or eerie – just a bigger family reunion that most people just couldn’t see, but could often feel.

During those visits, I particularly loved to hear about my great grandparents and great-great grandparents who had helped settle the Ogden Valley.  Hearing about their trials, their journeys, their lives helped bring them closer to me.  It made me feel deeply connected with the past and gave me a sense of continuity and belonging that I didn’t often feel otherwise.

One story was of my great grandparents who emigrated from Norway in the 1870’s.  My great grandfather came to America with two other brothers.  He was a blacksmith by trade and a big, strong man.  He was here, working for over two years before he’d saved enough to send for my great grandmother and their three small children who he’d had to leave behind.

They originally bought a blacksmith shop in the upper Ogden Valley in Liberty, Utah.  It reminded them of the old country with the towering mountains, deep snows and hearty pine trees.  Life was very difficult and my great grandmother had three babies during the time they lived there that she lost, one after another.  Needless to say, she struggled with depression and feeling isolated.

Finally, my grandfather had an opportunity to buy a lucrative blacksmith shop in Riverdale, Utah, a small farming village (at that time) near Ogden, Utah.  It was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for a much better, prosperous life with a larger community of people.  The only problem was that he didn’t have the required money to put down on the new shop and there were others who were waiting to step in and buy it.  He despaired ever being able to make that dream come true.

My great grandmother was only about 4’10” tall, but was a very strong, determined, intelligent, hard-working woman.  She asked him how important this dream of his was and they talked about it at length.  She finally took him into the bedroom where the cedar chest he’d made for her stood.  There, in the bottom, carefully saved and squirreled away, was layer upon layer of pennies, nickels and dimes.  Money she’d saved for years for an emergency or an opportunity.  There was just enough money for the down payment on the shop and the house that went with the deal.

Knowing the very humble beginnings of my family, this story always brought tears to my eyes.  It always seemed like a bit of a miracle.  But more than that, it spoke of my great grandmother’s love for her husband and her willingness to follow him to a new, foreign land, filled with hardship and loss, and still make all their dreams come true.

Some old stories, like this, connect us with the truth of our ancestors and help give us a deep sense of belonging.  They help us see the value of sacrifice or the bonds of deep, abiding love.

Other old stories, may not be so positive.

Often, when working with others privately or in group, we find that the old story of lack, limitation, grief, sadness, depression, poverty, or any other type of low-energy frequency, is the one thing that just keeps us stuck.  The old stories can be creating a resonant field that attracts more of exactly what we DON’T want to be experiencing!  It can be our biggest blind spot and it can be tripping us up over and over again, as we struggle to achieve our goals, dreams, and desires.

What is so interesting, is how these old stories are often a part of our every day conversations!  How often do you hear yourself argue for your limitations?  “I can’t afford that because (fill in the blank)!”  “My life just sucks because (fill in the blank)!”  “I can’t get a date to save my soul!”  “I’ve filled out thousands of resumes and no one wants me!”  “No matter what I do, I just can’t drop this extra weight!”  (Yes, I know that one intimately!  lol)

Our thoughts, our beliefs, the old stories we tell ourselves over and over and over again are sabotaging our best efforts to change our lives.  They keep the pain of the past alive and well, and rob us of our peace of mind and prosperity in the here and now, as well as the future!

These week, I want to challenge you to pay greater attention to your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs - especially to your words!  Begin to notice when you are saying something that keeps an old unwanted, disempowering belief – and old story of disempowerment –  in charge of your life.

Memories can be great – or they can be your biggest stumbling block.  How are you using the memories of your past?  Are there old stories you need to simply eliminate all-together? What if you could tell those stories  in a different way that will allow you to tell the new story of prosperity, self-love, joy, empowerment and alignment with who YOU REALLY are!?

Let’s work together to change the story.  To align with the magnificence of who you truly are.  Allow yourself to tell the story of the beautiful, engaging, powerful, brilliant, gifted you.  Dare to remember the past in a way that allows you to learn from it and move forward in freedom and joy, eager to embrace your creations and co-creations with others – to create this new paradigm world the way you want to experience it!

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