Before we commence this year’s holiday season, one fact about memory must be understood and celebrated — there is beauty in a pause. It is not normal to set aside a period of reflection on an everyday basis. We become encumbered by the responsibilities of home, work, school, and relationships. Memory plays a vital role in shaping our identity, narrative, and perspective on life as a whole. In addition, memory depends on our capacity to remember actions, interactions, thoughts, and words.
Sankofa, in the native Ghanian language, means “to retrieve” or “go back and get it”. The Sankofa bird pictured above perfectly illustrates the active investment we must be compelled to commit to if we truly are to internalize the core of our human-spiritual experience. In other words, memory involves having a “Sankofa moment”. This requires a change in conscience and devising space to do so.
A prophetic voice, masterful author-poet, and renowned scholar, Maya Angelou is attributed for her riveting reflection concerning memory:
From these above-mentioned, hallowed words of Angelou, memory creates the first and lasting impression of present perception and lingering legacy. The impact of memory resembles the imprint of influence. Positive memories often produce the residue of great legacies and negative memories engender trauma and unresolved pain from the past. Our brain captures a picture attached to an experience and retains it in our memory.
In a pandemic world, it is vitally important that we remind ourselves about the precious moments, which have encouraged our hope, fortified our being, and galvanized our passions. I surmise that we are reminded to remember in this season from the perspective of these following elements:
- RESPECT: Our journeys toward the present moment are uniquely designed to push us closer to our destiny. Respecting memory is essential to forward movement. Without remembering, we lose sight of our existence, identity, purpose, and substance.
- RESPONSIBILITY: We must seize every opportunity to retrieve our memory so that we do not become imbalanced in our journey. While we can remember with our minds, we must be responsible for upholding a standard of respecting memory and the sacredness thereof.