People have different ways of trying to remember things. How many of you are drowning in sticky notes and memos and task lists? Have you experienced that moment of panic when you have to ask yourself "What was that really important thing I was supposed to do?" How many people in the world feel spread too thin or weighed down by the bits and pieces of information, the ideas, and the commitments they are hanging onto? Read on to find out how the concept of a "memory palace" is totally related to the consciousness you bring to your own personal spaces, then check out a special offer for anyone willing to interpret these concepts, construct their own memory palace, and report back about their experience.
So here we go...
I recently stumbled on this article in the New York Times. You can check out the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/20/magazine/mind-secrets.html. But in the meantime I'd like to bring your attention to this passage:
In 2003, the journal "Nature" reported on eight people who finished near the top of the World Memory Championships. The study looked at whether the memorizers’ brains were structurally different from the rest of ours or whether they were just making better use of the memorizing abilities we all possess.
Researchers put the mental athletes and a group of control subjects into f.M.R.I. scanners and asked them to memorize three-digit numbers, black-and-white photographs of people’s faces and magnified images of snowflakes as their brains were being scanned. What they found was surprising: not only did the brains of the mental athletes appear anatomically indistinguishable from those of the control subjects, but on every test of general cognitive ability, the mental athletes’ scores came back well within the normal range. When Cooke told me he was an average guy with an average memory, it wasn’t just modesty speaking.
There was, however, one telling difference between the brains of the mental athletes and those of the control subjects. When the researchers looked at the parts of the brain that were engaged when the subjects memorized, they found that the mental athletes were relying more heavily on regions known to be involved in spatial memory. At first glance, this didn’t seem to make sense. Why would mental athletes be navigating spaces in their minds while trying to learn three-digit numbers?
The answer lies in a discovery supposedly made by the poet Simonides of Ceos in the fifth century B.C. After a tragic banquet-hall collapse, of which he was the sole survivor, Simonides was asked to give an account of who was buried in the debris...When the poet closed his eyes and reconstructed the crumbled building in his imagination, he had an extraordinary realization: he remembered where each of the guests at the ill-fated dinner had been sitting. Even though he made no conscious effort to memorize the layout of the room, it nonetheless left a durable impression. From that simple observation, Simonides reportedly invented a technique that would form the basis of what came to be known as the art of memory. He realized that if there hadn’t been guests sitting at a banquet table but, say, every great Greek dramatist seated in order of birth — or each of the words of one of his poems or every item he needed to accomplish that day — he would have remembered that instead. He reasoned that just about anything could be imprinted upon our memories, and kept in good order, simply by constructing a building in the imagination and filling it with imagery of what needed to be recalled. This imagined edifice could then be walked through at any time in the future. Such a building would later come to be called a memory palace.
Wow! So the implications of this, if you ask me, are incredible, especially if you've heard what I've been saying up until now about making your space support you, your family, your values, your goals. How can you build and arrange your home and your possessions, you body, your work space so that it is constantly reminding you of everything you need to remember the most? Remembering what needs to be done could possibly become effortless! Alternately, how might your clutter and disorganization be holding you back, or even leaving bad memories in the subconscious minds of friends, family members, and customers?
I am so open to your ideas, questions, and experiments in response to this idea. Personally I am going to try putting things away if seeing them every minute won't remind me of something totally important. To be fair, this week I'm living out of a hotel room in San Fransisco that has plenty of closet space and empty drawers, but still. Everything left out in the open will be something I've decided I want to be looking at for a reason.
And now for the best part... if you comment on this blog post with your own plan or experience or idea or question about the memory palace concept applied to your real life, you will automatically be entered in a drawing to receive a free consultation for you or a friend! The winner will be chosen by March 11th, so don't wait.
Yes, another website. In anticipation of the future development of the inner space/bodywork component of my work, I have created a separate website. Check out www.sacredmovementtherapy.com or click on the image below to find out about workshops, and you can even check out footage of some of my choreography!
I hope you know by now that I always welcome your questions, comments, and feedback. Wishing you clarity and grace in all your pursuits! A special thanks to Rossi Dimitrova for the beautiful photo.
Wow, two tips for the price of one today, and that price is...FREE!
In my perfect world, organization is permanent. Everyone gets through the labor-intensive process of taking care of the back log, getting systems in place, and then everything just stays perfect. The reality is: life throws things our way that we can only do our best to plan for, and sometimes our best isn't good enough. Being as organized as possible both at home and at work, and maintaining physical health and well-being will always leave us better equipped to handle the curve balls with grace and clarity.
There are all different levels of organization. Whatever "perfection" you are striving for is a unique vision you have created in your mind. It may or may not be something you have time to achieve this week, this month, or this year! So what can you do today to ease some of that external pressure and get things running more smoothly? Are you ready? Here it is:
Master tip of the week: CLEAR YOUR DESK!
Your primary work surface is the platform for your productivity, your efficiency, and your intellectual or creative success on a daily basis. Back in January I wrote about altars; our physical spaces and all of our belongings reflect our goals and expectations, whether or not we are aware of it. Let's take your desk as an example...
Oh my goodness, check out that pile of papers under your elbow! Is that tax stuff? Bills? Unopened mail? Inspiring articles buried under bank statements? You probably put it all there so that you could "get stuff done" - deal with everything in that pile as soon as possible. I am going to be honest with you: it's probably not going to happen, at least not today. Letting those papers pile up has created an area of stagnant energy - a portion of your desk that you are encouraging yourself to ignore on a daily basis. Here's what you should do:
Without getting caught up in the details, sort the pile into categories. Today I cleared the papers on my desk into two categories: "follow up" and "projects". I wrote these words on some file folders, tucked the papers neatly inside, and I'm storing the files vertically so that my horizontal surface is clear. I have already checked the follow up file twice in order to check some tasks off my to do list, and both times I disposed of papers that were no longer necessary, and returned the file to its vertical position.
My desk is most useful to me, most inspiring, and incredibly functional when it is clear. Getting work done on a messy desk is like trying to write a novel between the lines of another manuscript, or trying to go for a run in your apartment. Eliminate distractions and obstacles, and make space for the work that needs to get done here and now!
I can't think of a client who hasn't expressed fears about forgetting to do something, or anxiety about the stuff they've already forgotten. Accumulating papers, notes to yourself, perpetual reminders of the stuff you are not getting done IS NOT HELPING! I can't emphasize this enough. If you're still skeptical, try it for a day. You can always bring the papers back out tomorrow, spread them around your house, even roll around in them if it brings you any relief, but for today, try starting with a blank slate. Clear that surface and see what comes from it. My guess is that you will accomplish more than you expected, and I would absolutely love to hear about it. Leave your success story as a comment!
As an extra treat I am including a link to an article by Dr. Ken Bennett, an excellent chiropractor at The Balancing Center. He says "A properly aligned workstation, when set up and used correctly, means that a majority of the things you do 40+ hours a week will no longer contribute as much to any symptoms you feel, both physical and mental." Check out his research and solutions by clicking on the images below, or visit http://www.thebalancingcenter.com/press-yoga-chicago.html. Everything I'm talking about has direct connections to our physical health and well-being. You can't imagine what's in store, because with clarity and grace comes more clarity and grace! Enjoy.
Info@idealspaceconsulting.com - Chicago, IL 60626 - 877.557.1717
© 2010-2014 Ideal Space Consulting