How is your memory doing?
On occasion we all have a bit of forgetfulness. Perhaps you can’t recall a person’s name, or what you had for lunch last Wednesday. Or maybe it is the formula for measuring angles that you learned in junior high school that is giving you problems (pun intended!).
Does that ever happen to you?
It doesn’t always feel like a problem, but there are occasions when it is certainly frustrating. Like when you get up from what you are doing and walk to another room, on a mission for something. And when you arrive, you can’t remember what that something is.
What is going on?
Well, each of these examples can be traced to a different root.
Not remembering a person’s name could be due to a number of things. It could be you weren’t really paying attention when you heard it, you were more concerned with your social stress, you didn’t tie the name to some specific feature that would trigger the name next time, or perhaps you have convinced yourself that you are bad with names…so that is just what happens now.
In the case of Wednesday’s lunch, the occasion may not have been particularly eventful or notable. You ate in the usual way, the usual dish, and it had no real meaning in your life. On the other hand, you may be able to remember a highly eventful meal that had great significance or was particularly memorable. Many of our daily routines are done completely unconsciously.
Forgetting a math formula that you have rarely used since graduating is a matter of falling out of practice. Many facts and skills must be reviewed and renewed. We simply get rusty, like what happens when we haven’t played golf or the piano for a while. It is a matter of refreshing our memories of that material from time to time.
Forgetting what you went into the other room for has another cause. We get distracted and unfocused. You think, “Oh, I better go get my passport out of the office drawer and have it ready for our flight.” But once you set yourself in motion, your mind races to a dozen other items that you need to pack, and other things that need to be done before your trip, and you are at a loss when you arrive in your office.
While our forgetfulness may have many causes—stress, distraction, lack of meaning, rusty skill sets—the remedy can be quite simple. Mindfulness and Meaning.
We have to pay attention in the first place. That is a significant factor in the call to “being present in the moment”. If your mind isn’t there, being actively aware of what is happening, then it will be hard to recall the event.
And when it is aware of the event, making it meaningful in your life will make it memorable. Let it have an impact. Tie the event to emotions, sensations, thoughts, philosophical inquiry, curiosity.
You may have noticed that we are more likely to remember traumatic events—fearful situations, abuse, trauma, injury, surgery, or broken hearts. These have immediate impact on so many levels of our lives.
Yet, when you remember your life, do you want the memories to be bursting with colorful negative memories, and sprinkled with a few faded pictures of the good times? Alternatively, just not remember much at all?
Taking this one step further: Imagine you are in your future life, in 3015. You decide to do a past life regression to 2015 to check our your life here. If you aren’t building memorable moments, then there will be few memories left of it to explore.
We will continue this conversation in future installments.
Give meaning to your memories—and keep them safe!
P.S.: If you are ready to work on giving meaning to your life, recalling your memories, downgrading the negative ones and enhancing the positive, then let’s schedule a Discovery Call and see how we can work together to make that happen!