Newsletter: 15 October 2010

How’s your memory doing these days?

What a question! And an easy question it is. “Forgetting is a temporary loss of consciousness.” But what are the sorts of things we forget?

One of the most obvious is the answer to the question … Where?

Where did I put my … keys? glasses? watch? wallet?

The generally accepted solution to this problem is retracing your steps. Where did you have it last? Where did you see it last? Follow your footsteps backward.

How can we improve our memories?

By using them! That sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Here’s an exercise you can try at any given point in the day. I use it as a technique in language learning and in speech training but its use is effective in our native languages as well: Stop whatever you’re doing and think about where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with. Now think back to what you were doing just before the “now”… and before that .. and before that … until you get to some point such as waking up in the morning.

Remembering has to do with the past.

Being conscious of the past … is a real memory trainer.

Try reviewing your day before you fall asleep! Backwards. You’ll be amazed at how extraordinarily rich it was. If there was a particular moment you want to recall, think of the environment, the colors, the scents, the details and the overall picture. We perceive SO much!! Unconsciously. Bringing it up front, so to speak, shows us how much we really did observe.

The incredible side effect of this exercise is that, by reviewing events, we put words and images together. And we improve our vocabularies by activating passive, latent knowledge.

There’s another wonderful advantage to being conscious of everything that’s happened: Not only can we learn from … our mistakes, the human mind is perfectly capable of … a selective memory. We can choose to forget! What in computer lingo is called “deleting” … or what used to be called “erasing.”

Have a wonderful weekend … and may it be a happily memorable one!

Maybe with … A glass of wine …

And thanks for reading The Paris Savannah Connection.

Mark

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