Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Increasing memory with scent

Our sense of smell is closely tied to our memory.  Just smelling certain aromas can trigger strong, vivid memories.  The smell of your mom's perfume or the scent of rising bread may take you back in time. You can harness this link in your daily life to help you remember things more clearly.

When I was in college (as a mother of two, a preschooler and a newborn, sleep deprived and fuzzy headed) I used scented oils to help me study.  A few drops each of rosemary and peppermint in a tiny spray bottle with some distilled water travelled everywhere with me.   When I sat down to study, I spritzed a bit on my wrist or my notes.  It helped me to focus and it initiated scent memories.  When test time came, I spritzed myself again, using the scent to help me access information I had studied more easily.  

The next time you need to focus and remember something, try to use a scent to help establish a link in your brain between the moment and the recall.  Sage, rosemary and mints are all good choices for memory, but pick something distinctive and that you like.  Recreating the circumstances of your study can help you access your memory with less stress, which can help with recall as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reclaiming the witch

"In the past, men created witches; now they create mental patients"  -Thomas Szasz

Words have power to wound or to inflame or to define our very existence.  In my life I have made my peace a with few terms, generally regarded as derogatory, one of those is the word "witch".  Once you decide not to take offense at the use of a word, you take away the speaker's power to cause you harm.  It is simple and difficult all at the same time, but it is incredibly true.

Reclaiming the traditional role of the witch or the wise woman or the village healer is, to me, a vital step to making the world a more peaceful and balanced place.  Being a strong, smart woman with power only diminishes those few men you can't understand that they don't need to hold all of the power in life to be successful, strong or happy.  For the rest of the men out there, they understand that women are partners in life, with their own unique wisdom and magic.  Are strength, enhances their own creating a balance that makes life better.

So for all of you wonderful, strong, smart women who read this, stake your claim.  Defend your right to exist and make choices; contribute to society by sharing your skills, your knowledge, your skills and your compassion.  Take part in the sisterhood of women.  It is a beautiful and wonderful thing to know that you, as a woman, are full of magic.  For me, it is felt most strongly when telling stories to my children to explain life's mysteries, or when I support a friend after she gives birth, or when I walk into the kitchen, pull a few things out of the cupboards and make a remedy for some minor ailment.  It is tending the garden and keeping the family history in trust for my children and theirs.  It is turning a generic apartment into a home for as long as we live there.  It is nursing babies and caring for the dying.  These are the activities that remind me that I am here for a reason.  My work matters, as a mother, as a daughter, as a woman.

Take back the title of witch.  Use your powers to create a world in which we can all thrive.  Rejoice in the power of the feminine.  Revel in all of your knowledge. Reclaim the magic that has been yours all your life.  Dance under the moon and sing in the sunshine.  Plant and tend and prune.  Stir your cauldron.  Heal the sick.  It is all in you!

Please take a minute and visit Bonnie Lockhart's Website:, as she was gracious enough to give me permission to share these song lyrics.  If you live the Bay Area, try to take in one of her events.