Mon May 11, 2009 2:02 pm
Say I must remember to mail out my mother’s birthday card the next morning. I have forgotten to send her a card for the past three years in a row, and I can’t afford to miss another year.
This year, I have actually remembered her birthtday, and I have her card signed and addressed and stamped and lying on the kitchen counter in plain view, waiting for me to mail it out in the morning.
Now, I know for a fact that having something in plain view is no guarantee that I’ll actually see it. I might get busy the next day and overlook it. Should I put it in my daily minder, so I see it when I work through my schedule the following day? Not necessarily. Many days can pass me by without my ever cracking my daily minder. I have to have the card out where I can see it, so I can put it in the mailbox on my way to work.
In order to remember to pick up the card and take it with me, the night before, I envision myself getting ready for work and remembering to get her card. I see myself going through my regular routine — putting my supplies together in my knapsack (laptop, daily minder, phone, wallet, etc), and putting on my coat.
As I see myself doing this, I imagine what it’s like to do all this. I don’t just imagine what it looks like, I imagine how it feels. I actually feel the experience ahead of time — I imagine the feel of my bag in my hand, the heaviness of it, the weight of my coat on my shoulders, and how I always have to shrug my shoulders a few times to set my coat right. I experience myself thinking through all the stuff I need to take with me, and I imagine myself checking the contents of my knapsack, as I always do each morning.
As I’m “experiencing” myself doing this, I imagine myself remembering, “Oh – Mom’s card!” I see and feel myself remembering to get the card from the counter and put it in plain view to take with me. I imagine myself flooded with a sense of relief that I’ve remembered to get it, as I get the card from the counter and put it beside my bag, then pick it up and carry it out the door with me. And I see and feel myself walking out to the street, putting it in the mailbox, and then going back to my car to drive to work.
As a back-up, in case I don’t follow the same old routine I usually do, or I’m rushed and don’t get the chance to collect myself, or I don’t wear my coat, I imagine myself unlocking the door as I head out to my car to go to work. I imagine the feel of my hand on the lock, and on the doorknob, and as I feel myself turning the doorknob, I see and feel myself remembering — Mom’s Card! I feel the rush of relief that I get when I remember something I don’t dare forget. And I feel that sense of gratitude for what memory I do have.