Memory Spring Monthly

Improve Your Presence to Improve Your Memory!

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Focus

Memory is a critical aspect of our built-in survival mechanism.   If you look at the notion of memory from a biological Darwinism point of view, those that remembered where the best food was found in the winter, or remembered where there was protection from the elements, or remembered where the predators lived – survived.  They were the “fittest” for continuing to thrive and reproduce.
 
One of the key elements to remembering something in our modern over-stimulated world is being fully present when we are trying to remember something.  Consider this typical experience.  You are out at lunch with a friend, and the handsome waiter describes the special of the day.  Instead of ignoring it, as you usually do, you listen.  He animatedly describes the special in such amazing detail that your mouth begins to water.  Even though you have never had anything like it before, you decide to order it.
 
Carrying on with the conversation with your friend, you have a background level of anticipation as you consider all the ways this special might be similar to something you had in the past, especially since this was a rather pricey item.  This is bringing your thought about the new food to the front of your mind.  By contrast, it you had ordered the exact same thing you had in the past, you would quickly place the order and continue on with your friendly chat.
 
When the food arrives, the conversation stops.  You examine the food carefully as you sit up a little straighter in your chair.  All the other sights and sounds in the room disappear as you lean in to smell the rich aroma.  It seems even better than the waiter described, if that is possible.  Raising the first bite to your mouth and chewing it carefully, you are amazed and delighted.  It has a perfect mouth-feel.  The flavor is rich and wonderfully complex.  You close your eyes and allow your taste buds to dance in delight.   The conversation you are now having with yourself is saying “THIS might one of the best things I have ever tasted!  I want more!  I want to get the recipe and try to make it at home!  I’ll be back!”
 
Do you think you will forget this experience?  Probably not.  You were fully present while enjoying this new delightful experience.  All five of your senses plus self-talk were powerfully engaged.  When you ask someone what they ate for lunch last Tuesday, if it wasn’t like this experience, it might be difficult to recall.  To be fair, if every meal tasted like that luncheon special, after a while, they would all become background experiences as well.  Perhaps sad, but true.  Ask any Prince you know.
 
So how do we apply this to our daily experience of life?  To create a lasting memory, become fully present by utilizing the five primary senses plus self-talk.  Try consciously engaging as many senses as possible to increase the number of physical, emotional, and mental associations you have with the experience.  Have fun with this.  Use distinctive colors, music, textures, sweet smells and enjoyable tastes to set a mood and anchor a memory.  Add a touch of dramatic conversation to engage positive self-talk.  
 
We use the acronym VAKOG+ST to summarize the process.    Be present by being aware of:
 
• What you are SEEING (Visual)
• What you are HEARING (Auditory)
• What you are FEELING (Kinesthetic)
• What you are SMELLING (Olfactory)
• What you are TASTING (Gustatory)
• What you are SAYING IN YOUR MIND(Self-Talk)
 
Bud James, MA Div, is a PAUSE Certified Counselor and Instructor for New Vistas International, a training organization dedicated to teaching all aspects of the PAUSE Model.  PAUSE is an acronym that defines five essential Resource States that chart a Path to Wholeness through deeper levels of embodiment, personal awareness, physiological balance, guidance, and fulfillment.  P in the PAUSE Model stands for P-Present, the topic of this article.  For more information, visit www.P-A-U-S-E.com.