A soul-tie is a memory keeper. It’s an object that brings to mind a memory of a person, place, or event. It can also be a sight, or sound that resurrects, or evokes, that part of our soul that holds our past, and everything along our journey that has woven us together into who we are today.
Years ago, when I first heard the term ‘soul-tie’ it was used by a friend who wanted her boyfriend to get rid of everything he owned that was a reminder of a past relationship. While this is a good idea (especially for boyfriends who value their lives) what soon becomes evident is the fact that the memory is still there. And getting rid of an object doesn’t get rid of a memory of a person, or a place. Or, for that matter, of an event, however good, bad, or traumatic.
Memory is embedded in the very base of our brain; fragments of it float up through our dreams and frequently invade our consciousness. No amount of therapy, however skilled the counselor is, can make it go away.
Is it important to get rid of old objects, pictures, or anything that is a constant reminder of a bad place in our journey? Sure it is. As long as we don’t think that just by throwing things away, we have completely ‘cleaned house’. Anyone who has ever grieved a loss, whether by death, divorce, or rejection, knows that getting rid of an object doesn’t erase a memory. And therein lies the problem- the memory alone quite often is the soul-tie. It’s that space between you-and-me, and who-am-I-now-without-you. It is the essence of a relationship we have, or had with a person or place. It’s what and who we relate to. And, for that matter, how we relate. This is the underlying idea behind Attachment Theory, and Attachment Disorders. (Meaning that the way some people attach to people, places, and things is disordered, random, or extreme.)
Not all soul-ties are bad. Memory books, journals, scrapbook albums, and photos represent the people, places and things that we have loved and/or lost. An entire industry is built on soul-ties; our investment in our relationships is reflected in our investment in paper goods. Attachment theory is obviously more than just a theory! It verifies what we already know- how healthy we are is both determined by, and reflected in our relationships. Not only with other people, but with God. And that is where the healing of memories takes place- in our relationship with God. Once we ‘clean house’ so to speak, that empty space makes room for healthy attachments, first to God, and ourselves, and then outward to those around us. As we come to know the love of God for us as individuals, and became stable and steady through knowledge of the Word of God, which renews our minds, we see that growth in our attachments to people, places and things. We get a healthy sense of what to keep, and what to let go of. We just know. The more we let go of, the easier it is to breathe. As one of my clients said last week “I just feel lighter.” Whole rooms open up, not only in our homes, but in our souls. Our agenda changes. Our schedule has margin in it. There is time not just for people, but to record and chronicle new memories. “And God saw that it was good.” –Genesis 1