On Memory and De-Fragging Your Brain

Since 1997, I’ve been chronicling my life with a short “daily log” entry in my journal. This habit started as part of a daily spiritual practice that went along with a study of the Tarot. It serves another function, though, which is to keep track of things that I find easy to forget.

I don’t have a good memory – or not in a traditional sense. I tend to live in the present moment, and also in my imagination, which doesn’t seem to leave room for much else.

I’m a Virgo, so I keep a lot of lists, and I’m good at organizing, so I can usually find the information I need. Actually, my former boss and mentor used to think I had a great memory, because I could answer his questions about when a particular radio show started or when we hired a new music host – but really I was just good at looking up the answer in my comprehensive filing system.

Over time, I’ve let go of seeing my “poor memory” as a liability. I think it actually helps my creative process.

Because I don’t bother trying to retain the details of where we went last summer or what I was thinking in 4th grade or when we purchased what vehicle, I have more brain space for new ideas and creations. When I think of some task I need to remember, I immediately write it in my bullet journal, so I don’t have to hold it in my head.

When I forget to do that, and try to hold a bunch of random things in my memory, I feel cluttered.

It’s like the “defragging” of a computer’s hard drive. Have you seen this? It’s visually very appealing. All the little bits of data scattered around the computer’s mind get organized (by color! – or that’s how it looks on the screen) and filed like books in a tidy library.

This leaves a whole bunch of open space for…whatever arises. I love that feeling. The spaciousness of mind encourages creative thoughts to flourish. 

Writing down my daily activities (capturing the past) and tasks yet undone (preparing for the future) makes room for this present moment, right now – which wise teachers say is the only real time that we have.

Besides writing things down in order to free up mind space, daily meditation also helps encourage mental spaciousness. It brings the ability to focus in the now, and the non-attachment to the monkey mind’s chatter.

Releasing our default mode of focusing on the past (whether from nostalgia or regret) and the future (whether fearfully or in excited anticipation) frees us. It allows us to connect more deeply with our inner source. That’s where the wellspring of creativity resides.

Looking for more mental energy to use on your creative projects? Try de-fragging your brain.

Tell me what you think!

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