Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Mapping Our Mind Time

Having celebrated my annual birth date last month, I’ve been spending more time thinking of the life I have already lived. Memories of family vacations, friends from different parts of my life, places I visited and made my home, events that have lodged in my head. They form a find of “infrastructure” from which I assemble my past. Memories, however, are really our own personal narrations rather than our objective history (just ask your parents or siblings), “more an act of creative telling than one of recording”1. We become the author of our own novel. They are selective, and become transformed by our experience of “mind time” and the imprint that emotions like deep grief or exhilarating success, leave behind. Less like a building with clearly designated rooms, our life is more like a landscape that changes with time passage. Time expands (the school year as kids) or compresses (all vacations) depending on on the memory landmass it occupies.

I came across a word, Wayfinding, the other day. It means figuring out where you are, where you want to be and how to get there. So I created a map in my mind of my life’s topography similar to a board game’s wandering trails and paths, a sort of treasure map of remembrances. The goal is not to get to the end first, but to move through days, weeks, months, years, more attentively. Along the way, I slow my pace to examine new opportunities, or sit awhile to hear the smallest of breath. I may quicken my step to catch up to a fleeting joy or begin a friendship early, giving it more time to blossom and endure.

In some ways, our memories allow us to navigate our world through both space and time, from multiple directions, honing in on a novel perspective, the lens narrowing or expanding like a kaleidoscope. These are moments when time seems suspended in midair, hovering, as its tendrils spread outward into the vastness.

I am no longer young or even middle aged and I am not sure how I got three fourths the way around the board already, the finish line ever closer. And the years I’ve lived to be me now have not passed in a linear fashion. Though not always forgiving, time is a substance most precious, to be honored and revered and above all, to fill fully with life.

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