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Ashley Solomon, Psy.D is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, trauma, and serious mental illness.

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Today’s Nourishment :: Hope, Despair, and Memory

February 20, 2011 4 Comments by Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul

Without memory, our existence would be barren and opaque, like a prison cell into which no light penetrates; like a tomb which rejects the living. If anything can, it is memory that will save humanity. For me, hope without memory is like memory without hope…

Stripped of possessions, all human ties severed, the prisoners found themselves in a social and cultural void. “Forget,” they were told. “Forget where you came from; forget who you were. Only the present matters.” Night after night, seemingly endless processions vanished into the flames, lighting up the sky. Fear dominated the universe…

Of course, we could try to forget the past. Why not? Is it not natural for a human being to repress what causes him pain, what causes him shame? Like the body, memory protects its wounds. When day breaks after a sleepless night, one’s ghosts must withdraw; the dead are ordered back to their graves. But for the first time in history, we could not bury our dead. We bear their graves within ourselves.

For us, forgetting was never an option. Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.

from Elie Weisel’s 1986 Nobel Prize Lecture: “Hope, Despair and Memory”


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  1. Alex @ Healing Beauty
    4 years ago

    Very powerful and hits home especially today. Thanks for this!
    Alex @ Healing Beauty recently posted..About Self-Love


  2. Michele @ Healthy Cultivations
    4 years ago

    This is quite profound. And it seems the memories I harbor and sometimes strive to forget pale in comparison to the horrors about which Elie Weisel writes. At the same time, the passage gives me chills as I apply his words to my own life. It seems that perhaps the suffering we do gives depth and context to our lives. If there were nothing but joy, we might not even be able to recognize that joy.
    Michele @ Healthy Cultivations recently posted..Project 52- 8… A Dream Comes True


  3. Ken @ Water Fasting
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the enlightenment Ashley. Great wisdom to start my day, very good :)
    Ken @ Water Fasting recently posted..“Just wanted to express my gratitude for everything I witnessed at Tanglewood It truly was a divine life changing experience- and I am forever grateful” — Ryan Geoghegan


  4. Dana Udall-Weiner
    4 years ago

    “Like the body, memory protects its wounds.” What a line. Wonderful quote and reminder about the importance of remembering and attending to our past.
    Dana Udall-Weiner recently posted..Can You Ever Be Ready for Motherhood


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