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The Art of Memory

Memory has a profound influence on our lives. According to yoga philosophy, memory can be both an obstacle and a tool. As an obstacle, memory distorts our perception of the present moment. The mind will always look for what it already knows, projecting past experiences onto our present reality. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali lists memory as one of the five vrttis, or thought patterns that disturb consciousness. The practice of yoga is meant to still these fluctuations and invite us to abide with what is.

As a tool, memory invites us to learn from our mistakes. In sutra 1.20, Patanjali states that memory is the key to discernment—that we can use our past experiences to guide our future actions. We can look backwards to move forward with more clarity and skill.

Lately, I’ve been playing with a third way to use memory—to remember parts of myself I’ve forgotten. Using a memory to remember might sound obvious, but the truth is it’s easy to forget who we are. We can lose touch with ourselves, especially in these challenging times. Life pulls us in a million different directions and we’re left feeling disembodied, disintegrated, and disconnected. One of my dearest friends recently told me that she fears she is losing touch with the qualities she loves most about herself. I feel this way, too. Sometimes I fear that I am becoming a reflection of my stress. I lose perspective and struggle to extract who I am from what I think. Balancing motherhood and work while navigating a pandemic and an avalanche of change in my personal and professional life has been challenging. There have been moments when I have felt a dullness, as if the spark inside of me had dimmed.

white box by Maison Margiela Fragrances on white sheets with beige striped duvet

It was in one of these moments that I received a serendipitous gift from Maison Margiela: a perfume designed around a memory. I was invited to use it in my life and to see where it took me. Scent is so deeply personal, but I was immediately taken with the earthy leafy green aromatic signature of Matcha Meditation By REPLICA. I felt so inspired by how the master perfumer, a yoga teacher herself, used memory as a portal into her creative process. She captured a time, place, and ritual that felt meaningful to her and literally brought it to life. It made me wonder: What if I could use memory to remember what I love most about myself?

hand wearing gold jewelry holding bottle of Match Meditation by REPLICA perfume over marble board with greens

I started to meditate on memories that elicit the feeling of who I am—moments where I felt the most me. I would hold them in my mind and allow them to fill me up. I was surprised that I could still access the scent of each memory: the smell of must and wood in the barn of my grandparents’ Oldwick farmhouse; the smell of brioche and goat cheese which defined my days living in France; the smell of tomatoes and marigolds in my mother’s garden. This meditation practice has encouraged me to reconnect with the qualities I value in myself such as creativity, joy, and lightness. It has served as an important reminder that yoga is a practice of remembering our inherent wholeness.

woman wearing beige in white room spraying perfume into the air
woman journaling wearing beige sitting in cross-legged seat in room with small chair, pillow, stool with flowers

The perfume has become a meaningful part of my daily practice. Taking just a moment to pause in the craziness of my day and savor the experience of scent has had a big impact on my mindset. I love using the perfume as a room spray almost as a way of clearing the energy before I sit down to journal or meditate. I also love the ritual of wearing it—just for me. Matcha Meditation by REPLICA has awakened my senses and inspired an appreciation for the art of memory as a tool for connection and presence.

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  • Thanks for welcoming me into your h(om)e.

    May this meditation help you find the peace within. I look forward to sharing more inspiration and goodies with you in my regular newsletters.

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