To be mindful of the present moment at the present moment, not to remember later is the tag line for all Field Notes Brand pocket notebooks. I use them often, and give them as small gifts to friends, especially on the student farm. They are patterned after the great American agricultural notebooks farmers worked with each day and kept in their jeans or bib overall pockets.
I bet most people think of the exercise of “writing something down on paper” as insurance against forgetting. In a way, it certainly is. But, it is can be more of bringing us back to what is happening now. I can certainly pull my Field Notes out of my pocket to look up that thing my friend said to me today, or my note to myself how many Jimmy Nardello peppers I picked today and whether I remembered to put them in the cooler. More often than not, if I write down something important enough to remember now, I do remember it later without getting out the notebook and paging until I find the exact thing.
Pulling it from my pocket. Writing in longhand with a scratch pencil or pen, on paper, usually not on a level writing surface. Putting it back in my pocket. It all makes me pay attention. It’s a lot more work usually than snapping a picture on my smartphone.
In this way, writing stuff down in my pocket Field Notes brings me to mindfulness. It is not about preventing forgetting – later.