Monday, October 10, 2011

Mining Your Memories

I'd like to start featuring something a little more on my blog. It's a little exercise called Mining Your Memories. I took a class on this topic when I attended the Highlights Conference in Chautauqua, New York last year. Kim Griswell taught the class and I loved it because she highlighted how we can take some of our most poignant memories and weave them into our writing.
It's almost like keeping a journal, but you do so descriptively, powerfully so that you can experience the emotion again. Smell that aroma, see the color of your favorite jacket, hear the crunch of dried pumpkin vines underfoot during the yearly stroll of the pumpkin patch.

It's amazing how our memories are tied to small triggers. I'll give you an example.

I was sitting in church next to my eight-year-old daughter and we were singing a hymn. The hymnbook was open on my lap and my finger was running along the bottom of each word so that my daughter could sing along. Suddenly I could see myself sitting in church next to my own mother. I remembered her small fingers with her rounded nails pointing to the words of the hymn so that I could learn to sing along.
I thought about the many times I sang with my mother at home, at church, and how much we loved to sing. I think it's amazing that through the trigger I could pull up a memory twenty-five years ago of my mom's index finger pointing at the words of hymns that I now have memorized.
The emotion connected to it was powerful and made me wish my mom was closer so I could just give her a big hug. The memory gave me a reminder of how much I love my mom and enjoyed sitting next to her in church singing along to the deep tones of the organ and learning the words of hymns that I now have memorized.

Do you see how one small moment can evoke so many bits of information recall in our brain?

These memory exercises enrich our lives because it helps us to remember and relive the good moments of the past.

Is there something that reminds you of a good memory? I'd encourage you to blog about it, journal about it, etc. and then if you want to share, leave me a link.


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