Monday, April 4, 2011

How to retrieve your Memory

© By Gabriele Kushi with

I spent most of the 2010 winter in Africa, traveling through Kenya and Uganda to teach in the bush about the macrobiotic teachings on how and why to best avoid white sugar and refined white foods, and what the best way for retrieving their ancestors food. In 2011, I decided to stay put in snowy Minnesota to write.

Still, I visited an event with my favorite African nonprofit organization Give Us Wings, and I had a great conversation with the author Pat Samples, who works with elders and the arts.

By telling her my story of how I retrieve events, I gave her ideas for her elders’ circle to help them make more of their memory available. So how can you make more memory available?

You’ve had the experience of forgetting a word, a name, or the exact order of an event, or where you put your keys, or what it was you wanted to do when you go into a room. Those are all memory losses we naturally experience at some point in time. For some of us these losses can be more so when we get older.  Our genetic inheritance and the food we have eaten during our lives will have an effect on the strength of our minds, as well as how we have exercised our minds.

Because I was born in Germany and my native language is German, but I live in an English-speaking country, I have to know a lot of non-native vocabulary to be able to speak fluently. Sometimes I can’t find the word for a certain item–let’s say burdock root. I might remember it in German, Klettenwurzel, or I might remember only how it looks and grows or what it is good for. 

So I have realized that when I start to describe the item—how it looks, what it feels like, or whatever information comes into my mind—at some point in my creative description the word itself will pop into my mind and completes the story I created for myself and my audience.

Try this exercise yourself with any word you might forget or an event that is not clear in your mind, and let me know how much fun you are having with your story and how much more memory you gain from it.

When we are unfolding a story, instead of closing it off by saying “I don’t remember,” we will open our minds to the story, to the creative force that can engage us in the world at any age.

 Blessings for your life,

Gabriele Kushi