Your Brain is AMAZING.
It's true. YOU have an AMAZING brain. Your brain has efficiently cataloged everything you have ever done or experienced, good and bad. You've got playback available to you for every relationship, every adventure and every in-between moment. There are as you know some memories that are and remain easier to access throughout your life—times when you did something new or times when you made a decision the outcome of which changed the course of your future—also events that were accompanied by a high degree of emotion can be recalled with greater ease because they were imprinted or encoded with sensory information—BUT you can retrieve all kinds of memories in great detail, IF you know how.
I love the analogy that our brains are like an attic. Once an experience moves from our recent past, it's like it gets packed away in a box and moved to the attic for storage. Over time, we accumulate dozens and eventually hundreds, thousands and maybe even millions of boxes. Each box is labeled, and boxes are dutifully stacked on top of each other in tall columns and eventually pushed to the back corners of the attic as newer boxes are added. Individual contents are for the most part no longer remembered, UNLESS of course we experience a memory trigger that essentially rattles a box and renders it unstable for a few moments. If we pause long enough to actually entertain the triggering moment then it is possible to shake the contents of a box so that a few memories spill out onto the floor where we can pick them up, hold them and exclaim, "I remember this!" Perhaps while driving you hear a popular song on the radio—one from those awkward middle school years OR you encounter a familiar scent that you associate with another person or place. You've probably experienced this and know that you can be abruptly transported back in time. You are essentially granted a fleeting moment with that box full of memories and you can suddenly recall other associated details that have long been packed away.
The challenge with memory recall is that we don't go to the attic very often and most of us almost never go there intentionally. We get busy and we're easily distracted. When we experience a memory trigger, we don't stay with it long. Instead, we chuckle at ourselves, gather up the spilled out items and push them back into the box. We either don't have time or we don't know what to do with the recall anyway.
I absolutely LOVE the idea of taking deliberate trips to the attic—with a topic or goal in mind. I love the idea of using our photographs as initial memory triggers that help us locate a specific box, so that we can carefully open it and purposefully explore the contents, one at a time. I know that as we do this, we will discover details that make our stories more personal to us and far more interesting to others.
My Story Starter Product teaches you HOW to visit your attic of memories and then what to do with the details that you unpack, so that you can construct little clusters of memory and compile them as super compact and inviting story. As you practice this approach, it will become a more natural and rewarding process and you will become a stronger storyteller!
Your stories matter a great deal and I'm excited to help you unpack them!
NOTE: I recently spent a few minutes with Brooke Walker on her KSL Studio 5 show, based in Salt Lake City. I was invited to come introduce her and her audience to Story Starter. WATCH HERE.