I've been working on figuring out the meaning of my life for a number of years now. I had some pretty traumatic interpersonal experiences and as a person of faith I have had difficulty understanding what those relationships were for.
One thing that has helped is to allow myself to meander through my Memory Forest, to spend time with each of the representative trees, to observe them individually and get to know them thoroughly. As I step back from each and get some perspective, I can understand how they fit together; how they nourish and impede one another; how they vary in species but how together they tell a comprehensive story.
Initially when I started visiting my Memory Forest I was compelled to wander down the same path. But as I got more comfortable and felt safer among the memories, I started venturing off the well-worn paths and started making new trails. Now when I enter the forest I can choose which path I want to follow, and which trails I want to connect. My Memory Forest now is like a spider's web rather than a cow path or a bicycle wheel.
There used to be lots of pest infected and rusty trees in my forest as well as poisonous plants, but as I take ownership of my Memory Forest and consciously choose what I want to keep and what I want to burn, my forest is becoming much more lush and vibrant. I don't remove the deadwood, because it feeds new growth. But I do detoxify my forest, so now, whenever I meander through the Memory Forest of my life, I can appreciate what has been without being further hurt by it.
This has been my experience of neuroplasticity and recovery from interpersonal trauma and ACEs. Now when I visit the forest of my past I can actually smell the flowers and hear the insects and birds and feel the wind whistling around the trunks and see the light dappling down through the foliage and warming my face.