Holding Time Accountable

I like to walk and have made it a point to take a walk outside everyday for the past month. In addition, I jot down where I walked and other notes (how I was feeling,  the view, the weather) on my Google calendar. Now when I look back over the month, I remember those walks as if I were right back there.

The act of writing down this information is a method of holding time accountable. It’s a simple technique that helps bridge the past with the present. The ability to remember events, conversations and activities are easier when they have been recorded.

??????????????????????????????? This past week, in the middle of a cool, crisp, sunny day, I ventured on a new trail. It was right there on the side of the road, so I HAD to check it out. The signage informed me the trial led up and over a ridge so I could see Horsetooth Reservoir but I never made it that far. Instead I walked for about an hour and was enjoying the breeze and the wide open skies and getting to the top of the ridge, until I was rudely interrupted by the distinct sound of a rattle.  I didn’t wait to see the perturbed snake and immediately reversed course and headed back.  My return walk had a bit more pep as the adrenaline kicked in and my path was mostly downhill. Once I left the scene of the rattlesnake, I didn’t feel threatened but I was more focused on what was on my path instead of the view above me.

Having shared my daily walking goals on this blog for the whole world (yes, the whole WORLD) to read is a good incentive for me to keep on keeping on.  The walks help me feel connected in a way that has been missing. And being outside is balm for my soul.

Sending hugs to one and all — MargeKatherine

Flashbulb Memories?

Flashbulb Memories

Have you heard the term Flashbulb Memory (FM)? It’s that moment in time when some traumatic event happened that touched your soul and moved your world. You can remember where you were, what you were doing, who you were with … and as you relive the event in your mind, it’s like you are right back there in that time and space.

What makes these events so memorable is the unusual intersection of the personal and the public, so that what becomes salient for you is actually learning about the event, in addition to the facts of it,” says cognitive psychologist William Hirst, PhD, a flashbulb memory researcher at the New School for Social Research.

The idea of flashbulb memory was first proposed in 1977 by psychologists Roger Brown, PhD, and James Kulik, PhD, who posited that these memories are so emotionally important to us that they’re laid down as vividly, completely and accurately as a photograph. But that idea remains hotly debated today. And each new public tragedy provides fodder for more research.

“Every time there’s a public trauma, psychologists run out in the street and capture people’s memories of what happened,” says Hirst. “They did it with the Challenger explosion. They did it with the death of Princess Diana… And we did it with 9/11.” (Law, B.M., September 2011. Seared in our memories. American Psychological Association.)

Dim Lighbulb Instead:

Well, I didn’t have one of those. In fact, there was no flashbulb or lightbulb on at all for this story.

What happened was this:  A week ago, I cleared my calendar and left Saturday wide open so I could attend a memorial ceremony for a friend who died earlier in the month. On the same day, I planned to attend a party to celebrate my longtime friend (35 year Colorado friend) who turned 60.

I attended a breakfast meeting that morning and then headed home.  It was an amazing day out – crisp air, falling leaves and blue skies. I decided to take a leisurely walk. I worked in the yard. It was truly beautiful outside.

Later in the day I attended a CSU Women’s Volleyball game and watched them win in front of a huge crowd. It was a fun, relaxing and laid-back day. A good day, really. Except…

On Tuesday night, my birthday friend left me a message saying she was sorry I didn’t make her party on Saturday.  Her party was on Saturday? So, if I missed her party, then I also missed the memorial service!  REALLY?  Two HUGE events and I spaced them BOTH out. UGH!

Ok. This was bad. Now everything goes on my calendar. If I want to do it – out comes the pen and the words are written in ink. I can put them on my online calendar but the act of writing helps make the event real. Also, I have a visual every time I look at the calendar.

Help me out here – tell me I’m not crazy. Has this happened to you before? Lie to me if you have to!

Drops of water/ice on this gorgeous rose in Fort Collins, CO

Morning Walk: Snow, Breathe, Smile (for the camera)

Walk to Remember

As you may know, I have been focusing on memory issues such as remembering, forgetting, mindfulness, and memory retention as a way to understand my actions lately. I’ve had a string of forgetting moments and last week was another doosey. I’ll post that one next time.

For now – I try to walk daily in new areas as a way to stay awake mentally and keep my brain from going into ‘zone mode.’

This morning, before the sun was up – I was in my yard with a rake knocking snow off bushes, trees, plants and hauling (with all my might) a huge branch that broke during the night.

After a hot cup of tea to warm me up … I patiently waited for the sun to come up so I could walk and take some photos. Now, as I write this at 4 pm the lawns are littered with gold, green and red leaves. The snow is almost all melted. The images I took this morning are all that’s left. Here’s my gift to you…Enjoy!

This gorgeous orange rose was just waiting for me to come along! Fort Collins Colorado
This gorgeous rose was just waiting for me to come along!
Love this pink flower against the backdrop of the evergreen background.
Love this pink flower against the backdrop of the evergreen background.
Acorn sitting in the mist of ivy and fallen leaves
Acorn sitting in the mist of ivy and fallen leaves
The trees have not yet dropped their leaves so the heavy wet snow can be brutal to the branches.
The trees have not yet dropped their leaves so the heavy wet snow can be brutal to the branches.
Little boy uses ramp to help him bowl.

Mindless Things

Sometimes I forget things.

I eat right, I exercise, I am healthy… and still I forget.

I don’t smoke, I have friends, I am active … and still I forget.

I do mindless things.  For instance, recently I took my grandson bowling. It was his first time and it was a blast. He ‘loved’ his shoes and he was able to 1) move the ramp and position it when it was his turn and 2) lift the 7lb bowling ball (the lightest weight they had). The child was glowing during the process. He just turned 5 years old and he was electric. There was no loud music, no remote controls, no tv screens and he was giddy with the newness of it all.

Little boy uses ramp to help him bowl. We bowled two games then called it quits. Off came the ‘really cool’ shoes and back on the shelves went the balls. The shoes were returned to the counter and we waved goodbye to the cashier who was setting up party tables.

Into the car seat he went — buckles, straps, chains, ropes … you know the drill. Then in my seat, buckled up and the thought popped into my mind as I was backing out of my parking space… What a fun time. What an affordable treat.  Then the big question …”Um, how much was that anyhow? “

Put on the brakes, pulled back into my parking space and did the whole routine in reverse. Opened the back door, off came the buckles, straps, chains, ropes for the grandson in the backseat and back into the bowling alley because I forgot to pay. We laughed about it as we re-entered the bowling lanes but it made me wonder where my mind was.

There is a term called ‘directed forgetting’ or DF.

It is when you hear some information and either are told to forget what you heard (a judge may say that during a trial) or decide not to remember something. When someone gives me directions I usually go into DF mode.  I tell myself I don’t have to remember because I will research it before I attempt the trip. I will use a map or GPS or both.

This event was not DF. It was just F. As in Forgetting? Or Failing to Remember? Freaking out? Who knows but it seems they happen more often and I learned that when I record them I remember them. Same things with dreams – write them down and when you read them later it’s like you’re right back there. Cool, huh?

Now, be truthful, do you ever think you are ‘losing it?’ Have you done some crazy things like I have and if so, how did you react? Did you laugh about it? Did you share what you did with someone? Did you shrug it off and forget it ever happened? Will you share it with me?

You know there will be more to come, right? It’s so nice to be back here writing to you again. Feel free to say hello!

—————

Metzger, M. (2011). Directed Forgetting: Differential Effects on Typical and Distinctive Faces. The Journal of General Psychology. 138(2), 155-168.

Six months & so many changes!

It’s been forever since I last posted.

There have been so many changes in my life – exciting, scary and definitely out of my comfort zone.Photo of golden foothills against a dark blue cloud in the early morning on a walk in Colorado

You may remember that last year I put out a challenge to myself and to others to step out of your comfort zone as a way to grow.

Then I proceeded to put some plans in action and move forward. It was WAY out of my comfort zone and looking back at it now – it fell into place almost exactly as I had planned.

I last wrote on May 1. I stopped writing because I didn’t know what to say.

I stopped writing and started traveling.

I stopped writing and started packing.

I stopped writing and started painting.

I stopped writing and allowed my shoulders to drop.

I stopped writing and lifted my head to see something amazing … a new view.

I turned it all off and unplugged. NO blogs, no online news, no consulting, no freelancing. I had to give myself time away.  It felt good.

And then – it happened. I wanted to begin writing again

Things are still falling into place – little by little. I am outside everyday either walking or riding my bike. I am glad I made the move – scary as it was.

I was so in love with my other house – with the high ceilings and afternoon sunshine and warm heat. Here I am in love with the colors, space, variety of trees, accessibility to people, places and things.

And I am so grateful for those that urged me forward when I wanted to step back and helped me and continued to show up. Those are the real friends, aren’t they?

I hope we can connect again. I have been remiss in keeping up with you and your world – but I will try to stay current.  It’s good to be back!