About Me

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Presidential Mnemonics

Will a jolly man make a jolly visitor (for Washington through Van Buren)

How terribly poor that forlorn paper boy looks just getting his goods at cost (for Harrision through Cleveland, i.e. his first time)

What you think about your memory is important

Excerpt from the above link

what you think about your memory affects your ability to remember. If you tell yourself you have a bad memory, such a statement: produces distracting emotions, lowers your expectations for success, and decreases your motivation to use methods that can help you build better memory skills.

It's important to become aware of how what you think leads to an emotional state of mind that can interfere with—or enhance—your memory. When you say to yourself, "I'll never remember this," you are sending your brain feelings of worthlessness and fear, hampering your ability to remember. By the same token, positive mental feedback sets up an expectation of success.

Friday, May 19, 2006

At the VA again

Bob invited me to present at the VA again. He keeps inviting me back to the support group there :o)

Last time, I was embarassed because I could not remember Gloria and Maury's names. Don't know what it is that makes me forget their names but I know that I will remember them next time :)

I remembered Clarence!

The other names that I want to keep on record are Norm and Nora, Al, Mark, Bill, and Don because they were all there the previous time too.

I do want to remember Julie the nurse who was there this time and Carol who was there last time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Memory "juices"

Think in terms of getting the memory "juices" going. Sort of analogous to developing the need to exercise regularly. Missing the exercise and missing the memorcise.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Our own worlds

We all live in our own little worlds. At the core of our thoughts are certain basic precepts and daily living seems to provide data to connect with those precepts. Prior knowledge to connect to current experience from the now can be accessed selectively and the picture is seldom completed. It is a jigsaw puzzle that always has some missing pieces.

Our own worlds are several jigsaw puzzles floating in a wrinkle of time. And we make sense of them?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Revisiting Parachute

See link from Fast Company, 1999

I like the following best,

"You mentioned that it's human nature to avoid rejection. Over the last 30 years, what else have you learned about human nature, as it relates to work or the job hunt?

People don't just want to keep busy at work. Maybe that was enough when they were younger, but not as they grow older. They want a sense of mission in life -- and a sense of mission about their work."

Excerpts from "Positive Energy" by Judith Orloff, M.D.

p. 129

Emotions are a dazzling expression of energy. As an energy psychiatrist, I know that they contain stupendous life force, negative or positive. Medical school taught me only a fraction of their power.

p. 131

Knowing the many dimensions of emotional energy gives you a jump on mastering it. This program is about choice, not victimhood. For most of us humans, though, inner peace doesn't just magically descend; we must keep fighting for it.

Naming the positive and negative forces within makes us immune to surprise attack.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


A lost part of my consciousness is stirring to wake up! A part of me that was repressed due to lack of articulation. I did not articulate it because I was afraid to own up to it. I was afraid to be held accountable for me. Now that I am discovering my inner story and acknowledging I am able to articulate it. By owning my thoughts and the outcomes of my thoughts I am better able to dialog with others. It is a slow process and yet I believe that I am getting better each day.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

T.S. Eliot

My reading about presence in Damasio's book led me to T.S. Eliot at this link.

Damasio describes a presence that is you and he borrows words from T.S.Eliot to describe that presence.

"hint half guessed"

"gift half understand"

Excerpt from "The Feeling of What Happens" by Antonio Damasio

p. 10

You are looking at this page, reading the text and constructing the meaning of my words as you go along. But concern with text and meaning hardly describes all that goes on in your mind. In parallel with representing the printed words and displaying the conceptual knowledge required to understand what I wrote, your mind also displays something else, something sufficient to indiciate, moment by moment that you rather than anyone else are doing the reading and the understanding of the text.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Excerpt from "Mapping the Mind" by Rita Carter


The left brain is what has made homo sapiens the spectacularly successful species it is. It is calculating, communicative and capable of conceiving and executing complicated plans. But it has always had a bad press. It is frequently held to represent the worst of the Western world: materialistic, controlling and unfeeling; while the right brain is seen as gentle, emotional and more at one with the natural world - a frame of mind commonly associated with the East.

This notion has spawned a small industry of specialized self-help books and training courses that claim to encourage right-brain thinking. There are books that show you how to draw with your right brain, rides horses with your right brain, even make love with your right brain. You can take all manner of courses to put you back in touch with your right half, and big businesses hire consultants to test their employees for left/right dominance and slot them into appropriate jobs.

Is it all nonsense? Brain scientists will tell you the idea of a rigid divide is a popular myth. They even have a word for the publics's enthusiasm for the subject: 'dichotomania'. Like 'modern phrenology' the word is a put-down, intended to imply that the real situation is far too complex for simple conclusions to be drawn.

It is true that the brain is marvellously complicated, and the constant interaction of its two hemispheres makes it extremely difficulat to pinpoin what is happening where. Even the most obviously lateralized of skills - language - is atypically organized in about 5 per cent of people. The brain is also very malleable and its wiring can be influenced by all sorts of environmental factors. Given extraordinary circumstances a genetically typical brain may end up organized in a very odd way indeed. Nevertheless, brain imaging studies confirm that the two hemispheres really do have quite specific skills that are 'hard wired' to the extent that, in normal circumstances, certain skills will always develop on a particular side.

Somehow related to me

Does a memory that stick have to be somehow related to me? Does that relationship make it easier to lift it up in my consciousness or awareness? Is that idea of self that is part of consciousness easier to accept when we are younger? Do memories stick forever from childhood because they were originally so "acutely" present in our consciousness?

Memories that Stick

My recent readings for the online brain course have got me thinking about the role of consciousness in memory. My mantra has been "I can remember anything if I pay attention to it completely and give it meaning or context for me" In other words the context or meaning for me may need to be explained with consciousness. I just got this thought in my sleep so I am putting it down in my blog so that I can pursue it later.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I am enrolled in a FREE online course about the brain at Barnes and Noble University. The course started on May 1st but I got my books for it only yesterday. Today I took the bus in and so I had time to read one of the books- "The Feeling of What Happens" by Antonio Damasio. (The other book is "Mapping the Mind" by Rita Carter.)

I am reading about consciousness and have a glimmer of a connection to attention and memory. Attention is the starting point for creating a memory. Poor concentration is the root cause of a poor memory. However, even when we pay attention it seems like we cannot remember until we go through some kind of transformation of consciousness. Attention has to be followed by something that brings our consciousness to terms with the information that we want to remember.

Say that I want to remember that the birthstone for the month of May is emerald. I am told that the birthstone is emerald and I pay attention to this information when it is told. I develop a meaning or context for it by saying that the month of May is the real start of spring in Wisconsin and it means green grass. I associate the green of the emerald with the green of my lawn in May and this helps me remember that the birthstone for May is emerald. Is it now in my consciousness? Has my consciousness somehow been transformed so that the next time someone says birthstone for May, I don't have to think about it and it just pops into my mouth and I say it?

Attention to consciousness - this needs further exploration.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Journal - a record of ideas

I really like the following from "The Lively Mind" by Jules Z. Willing

Excerpts from Chapter VIII – Your Journal: Embodying The Inward Mental Journey

“….write it, write it, put it down in black and white…get it out, produce it, make something of it – outside you, that is; give it an existence independently of you ….” – Sigmund Freud

Keeping a Journal is an excellent way not only to promote mental vitality, but also to develop the habits that sustain it. When you make a daily note of what you have been thinking about, you:

foster the habit of giving some time each day to reflexiveness,

preserve – make a collection of – ideas and thoughts you will later develop and respond to,

improve your mental fluency, the ability to allow thoughts to flow without intervention,
draw a portrait of your inner self and chart the evolution of your ideas and attitudes,

provide a first draft, a starting point, for expressing the ideas you will later share with others, as in your correspondence,

intensify your hold on the present – we tend to live far too much in response to the past and in anticipation of the future, and far too little in the present moment.

What we are talking about is not a diary, which is a record of events, but a journal, which is a record of ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Environment, environment, environment

I like presenting at some places - not only because of the room that we are in but also because of the person coordinating the event.

Yesterday, I felt so comfortable during my class in Mukwanago. As always, Cherie and I were happy to meet and catch up with each other. Cherie has a very nice aura about her.

Yesterday's group is going to be with me for the next three Tuesdays and I am looking forward to the next class. They were all very positive in their energy by the time we were done.

Positive energy, relaxed concentration, stress-free, learning in a nice environment with nice influences. Life is great!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


If you would like to submit comments to this blog, please email me at brainjogr@yahoo.com

Sleeping point

Is there such a thing - a sleeping point? A point of reduced stress and worry that makes you feel like sleeping a lot.