chapter  15
6 Pages

Fossil Memories

Dur bodies remember it all: our births, the delights and terrors of a lifetime, the joumeys of our ancestors, the very evolution of life on earth. I discovered several years aga that there is a point on the inside of my knee that holds the memory and fear of a time when I was a baby and some big person lay on top of me, which I do not consciously remember. But when someone presses that point, I am suddenly there, squirming and struggling for air. Apparently I'm not the only one with trigger points for memories dotting my body like towns on a map, for gynecologist Christiane Northrup has noted that women often have memories of forgotten incest experiences during pelvic exams, explaining that procedures such as these can stir up "cellular memory, the information locked in our bodies." 1

Dur immune systems carry the memory of each and every virus we have ever encountered, and in fact every experience, from the sight of a fie1d of daisies to the sudden shock of cold water, leaves a chemical footprint in the body, shimmering across the folds of the cortex like a wave across water, altering our attitudes, expectations, memories, and moods ever so slightly in a continual process of biologicallearning. Deepak Chopra, an Ayurvedic physician and MD, offered a he1pful analogy to describe this process by which experiences are literally embodied: "The minutes of life (the sorrows, joys, fleeting seconds of trauma, and long hours of nothing special at all) silently accumulate and, like grains of sand deposited by a river, the minutes can eventual-

ly pile up into a hidden above the surface"? as individual variations of straight back, wheezing cough, or fluctuating blood sugar.