Do you keep mementos? They could be old possessions or gifts, boxes,
bits of ribbon, natural things like shells or nuts, feathers, things that were
important to your parents that you inherited. Photos are mementoes definitely. Certificates
and pieces of ephemera.
You are your mementos
by guest blogger, Russell Kelly
For years I kept an old photo of Mt Wellington on my wall in Tintenbar
NSW, and a rock from the summit I took on my last day there, vowing to return
It’s common to keep mementos. Whenever I move house, I have lots that I
can’t leave behind. I’ve paid good money moving sticks and rocks around the
country. You can learn a lot about what’s important, by your attachment to
The word itself is curious, it means more than ‘memory’ and has a
connotation of ‘warning’ too.
I can never forget the story of James Smithson who donated his fortune
posthumously to found the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He died a
lonely gambler and in his personal effects was found many scientific
curiosities including a paper on the contents of a lady’s tear. Why did he keep
that? Was it holding him back, or was it giving him life?
Mementos are a clue to deep feelings. They have emotional weight. They
connect you to the past and other people.
Ask yourself why you keep yours – is it for good reason? They can be an
expression of possession and control. Usually the reasons are good, but oddly
enough, mementos can be saboteurs of the spirit, that remind not of good times
and achievements - but of bad times in life.
I did a clearing exercise a few years back. Picking up each memento in
turn, I asked ‘why am I keeping you in my life?’ If the keepsake had any
negative connotations whatsoever, I let it go. It is a very therapeutic thing
Try this: if you suspect you’re keeping a memento for the wrong reason,
with reverence and best wishes, deliberately let it go. You are held in place
by the things you don’t say goodbye to.
The reasons I keep mementos:
me – I keep things as a promise to achieve my life’s
purpose. While they are with me, their energy is a gift, inspiring me to make
my future, and keep living with enthusiasm.
me to a place I love – I have several natural
items like rocks and shells that remind me of truly magic natural places I have
visited and felt privileged to do so. These keepsakes are life-giving and
affirmative of my connection with nature.
me to slow down – a couple of items
remind me to stop and breathe; when I see them (they are a certain shape that
has a special meaning), I take a breath and remember to count my blessings.
special people, defined by love – I keep things that
have been given to me that remind me of the love I feel for special people, and
their love for me.
promise I will return – sometimes I keep
mementos of places that are important to me. I may have been overwhelmed by its
natural beauty, or felt a special sense of belonging. Taking a rock or a vial
of sand, I’ll take a keepsake with a silent promise to return it some day in
the future, if only to believe that one day I’ll return.
I’m sure there are lots more reasons.
Why do you keep mementos?
Can you share your story of the memento you
can’t live without?