Remember 2-Minute Memories?

I wrote this post a few months back, but it was a little premature. I'm posting it now, again as it helps me tell the story of a new product launch with Close To My Heart. 


In one of the earliest scrapbook classes I ever taught (perhaps at a CK Convention), I devised an exercise where participants think of someone they love and then close their eyes while I prompt them with sensory type questions. After I've finished with the questions, I set a timer for one full minute. Participants sit quietly with their eyes still closed mentally focused and inviting personal recollection. When they open their eyes, I set my timer again—for another minute—and direct them to write as quickly as they can creating a list of specific details they remember. After this 2-minute exercise, we generally do some sharing and talk about the photos they know they have that they could potentially use to illustrate and complete a story based on their recollections. For obvious reasons, I called this exercise 2-Minute Memories. As many times as I taught this exercise, I never had participants actually make anything.  

Fast forward to my days working as editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine. Primedia was anxious to expand our magazine brands and we were asked to develop some products that would be educational. I proposed this 2-Minute exercise in the form of an inexpensive card-like scrapbook. We did it and you might even remember seeing this product back in early 2005-2006ish. These 2-Minute Memories Scrapbook Cards, were designed by the lovely and talented Cathy Zielske , they came in an array of fun colors and were in fact, based on my teaching method. Up until this point, there had never been any product directly connected to my 2-minute exercise, and to be honest, I wasn't sure the magazine had any business developing product in the first place, but that's a post for another day. I can't recall whether or not this product line sold well in stores, but I do remember that I created a handful of these flimsy little "scrapbook cards" and that I loved both the process of creating them and the joy of giving them away. In fact, the one I made for my Grandma Hall (published in my Big Picture book) was found among her treasured belongings when she passed away. 

The whole purpose behind this exercise and any resulting project is to EXPERIENCE first hand just how accessible detailed, personal memories are once they are triggered.

About 5 1/2 years ago I took a weeklong storytelling workshop with master storyteller, Donald Davis. One thing I still remember him teaching and something I continue to share often is the image of our brains as attics. Our brains store and catalog every experience we've ever had, packed away (for efficiency) in figurative boxes, much like old belongings are packed up and stored inside boxes, which are then stacked up in often teetering columns in an attic. When we happen upon a sensory trigger, a box is disturbed. It essentially becomes unstable. If we recognize the trigger for what it is and invite the mental connection to stay with us, we can actually knock that box off the stack and onto the floor, where it will spill open and scatter all kinds of past details and related memories. This is a good thing. We want this to happen, because for as long as we allow, we invite past experiences to come to the surface or our conscious mind. We can then intentionally revisit these recollections AND we can learn how to ask additional questions that will result in even more details being revealed. This process, especially when practiced frequently strengthens our ability to tell authentic stories. For the last few years, as I delved into family history, these experiences with 2-Minute Memories and figurative memory attics have grown together for me and helped me become a better memory retriever!

Here are few of the pages in a scrapbook card I created for my father. 


So, why am I telling you all of this? 
Because I'm SUPER excited that the first product I am developing with Close to My Heart for the Story by Stacy brand is a much improved version of this 2-Minute Memories exercise AND project.  Aside from a few products that we envisioned at the magazine, I've never developed physical product and to my knowledge, CTMH has never worked with an outside personality to develop products either, so we are learning together. It's pretty much me in my upstairs office and a small (but mighty) internal team at CTMH and we work over email, connecting via online meetings and FaceTime. I'm excited to introduce you to all of them soon and I am excited to now start blogging more about this new chapter in my life. If you're not familiar with Close To My Heart, you can find a consultant here by clicking on "What we do" and then on "Find a Consultant." The products I develop will be sold through CTMH consultants. I'm thrilled to be developing products, but I'm equally thrilled to teach and train consultants.

Now, here's where YOU come in. I'm curious? Do you remember 2-Minute Memories either because of a class I taught or a mini-book/card you made? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to share a few memories with this process on Instagram or Facebook. 

This is what I believe: You can love what you see, but you will remember what you feel. When sensory memories guide our stories we create something of lasting value. The more we start our scrapbooking with stories and then illustrate those stories with pictures—rather than the other way around—the more we will craft pages and albums that are truly timeless because they will tap into that place of true authenticity and sensory remembering. 

We can and do love pictures (what we see) and seeing is our most exercised sense, but what we truly crave is the opportunity to remember through additional sensory experiences. Story Starter will help you do this. 

I'm so excited to tell you more!