Driving down memory lane

Posted: November 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Memories are an interesting phenomenon – they can conjure the past and all the associated feelings of that time, and they can be a tool for learning too. Today I went on a short road trip, with Australian storyteller of the 80’s and 90’s singer Paul Kelly on the sound system.

Music is one of the links to the past, and those feelings will often provoke memories too. I did a lot of driving back in Paul Kelly’s era with the radio blaring, and a lot of fresh faced thinking and musing about life. Paul’s a unique singer in that he is able to capture the mood of the era. Back in the 80’s/90’s we were more concerned with social justice than our mortgage or whether we were going to Noosa or Phuket for a summer holiday. We cared about Indigenous rights, and world peace, and experimented with spiritualism. We ‘found’ eastern philosphophy and started quoting Zen and Bhuddist principles. We did yoga and meditated. Yes, they were interesting times.

In those days I was at uni, living the free life and learning all about English literature and writing. We chewed the fat in class, which is an Australian expression for talking a lot and listening a lot. We mused and philosophised, and generally thought we could solve the world’s problems. Well, I was later to find out that the first step in changing the world was to change yourself and try hard to live by your principles. And you might be rather lonesome in this because a lot of people actually do care about money, power and ‘the self’ first. A kind of narcissism if you like that characterised the mid 90’s and beyond.

And I also learnt that in the end it’s pointless to judge anyone else for their beliefs. It is what it is, but occasionally I also found that I come across like minded people and that is simply joyful. But back to Paul Kelly.

Those stories he told had feeling and real sentiment. Listening to them on the road trip I was catapulted back in time, when it was OK to feel something and to think out aloud. Now it’s not so OK. We hide our feelings, our shame, and we don’t talk out loud about them because we don’t want to be perceived as weak in a materialistic society. We don’t say how we really feel because ‘trust’ has been lost and we turn up our nose at sentiment. Or do we?

I have found that sometimes feelings will generate the most honest, open dialogue amongst the most cynical of people. We actually do want to talk and given the opportunity, we want to feel human – that someone understands us amidst the chaos of modern living.

And that’s a cause for optimism and a round of heartfelt applause.

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