Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekly Wings #7 - Back to the Future Part 2

Through New Eyes
How would you describe yourself at this moment in time if you could look back from twenty years in future? What would you understand about who and where you are that aren't sure about now? Just as we can look back at experiences from the past and see them through the lens of time and growth, perhaps with an understanding of how they've brought us to the present, so can we project into the future to see our present selves from a more experienced perspective.

Return Visit
Move towards the dwelling of your future self. You know the way; you’ve been here before and everything around looks familiar and comfortable. Your future self is waiting for you, looking forward to talking with you again. As your future self greets you, notice what it is like being with this person again. Look around you. Drink up the environment. Notice the colors here.

Joining my future self again is like the feeling I have with certain friends I may not see for long periods, but when I do, we begin straightaway wherever we left off, with the same ease, spontaneity, fun, and honesty we've always shared. I found my future self sitting in her red recliner in the livingroom I depicted in my visual, but I suddenly realized this 'place' was underwater. No. In water. And also in air. And also in light. Filled with fluidity, sparkle, depth, brightness, glimmer.

Now is the opportunity to ask your future self whatever questions you might might have. Take as long as you need to hear your future self's response. You might want to know your next step, and who you need to be right now in order to move forward. Ask your future self anything that feels right to you. Take a moment to listen to your future self’s response.

My only question was/is this: "What weight am I carrying, now, that I don't need? Consciously, subconsciously, what is the extra load that complicates my progress?"

Take a deep breath and allow yourself to step into the being of your future self. Allow yourself to merge into this person’s body and experience what it feels like to be this future self. Be aware of how right and good it feels in your future self’s body.What does the world look like through your future self’s eyes? Walk around, feeling yourself move as your future self.

Here is where my mental visualization exercise exploded. Stepping into my future self's body meant that suddenly I contained -- everything. If I walked through a shadow, I became the shadow. If I held a leaf, the colors, the veins, the smell, the shape of the leaf ENTERED ME. When I smelled the flowers on her bookshelf, the smell inhabited me. My future self is SO MUCH IN THE PRESENT, IN THE NOW, that each moment joins her, becomes her. She's not remembering the past, she's not projecting into the future, she just IS, however, wherever, whatever that means. I could hardly grasp it. I started crying. Such stillness in her, such ... the only real word that works here is like her personal mantra: ACCEPTANCE. Accept. No need to hurry through one moment to the next. No creating itineraries, no agendas, no emotional hiccups if one thing didn't parlay itself into the next as she might have planned or hoped for. The peace! The serenity! Her way of moving also was the light, weightless manner I move when I'm in a swimming pool -- lifted, buoyant, fluid, balanced, easily graceful, unselfconscious.

Notice if there’s one particular place in your body where you can feel your future self’s power most strongly. Allow that feeling to expand, filling your whole body, into your very cells. Touch that place on your body now in order to anchor that feeling, and know that whenever you wish to connect with your future self, you can touch that place on your body and bring forth these positive, powerful feelings, easily and effortlessly.

My future self resides wholly in the wings of my rib cage, as if she's got her hands on either side of me and is holding me, supporting me, hugging me, drawing me forward. A ring of all that serenity and peace and in-the-now encircling me just at heart level. To expand into that, to pull it through the rest of my body, I imagined the flow of my blood through my veins; I imagined my skeletal structure, the attendant muscles and tissue, the deep interwoven synapses in my brain. There is no visual or response-to-visual I have of my future self that the word 'fluidity' isn't directly a part of. Almost as if she's not a physical form, but an energy, a vibrancy, an idea - actualized, effected.

Now look at your present self through your future self's eyes. What do you notice about your present-day self? Through your future self's perspective, what do you want to tell your present-day self?

She has the gentlest, most all-encompassing gaze. Wisdom tempered by humor, experience, and liveliness. Sass. Fire. Energy. Wherever I looked, through her eyes, I saw potential, I saw possibility, I saw realization, I saw light. So much light. Not just external brightness of the air and environment, but internal light, a certitude of confidence, a real groundedness to her own core. To feel that so absolutely is such a lesson to me, I'll never forget it. It's NOT something I experience for long stretches NOW. I didn't sense any doubt in my future self - self-doubt I mean, second-guessing, posturing. My god, if I can learn 52% of that between now and 20 years from now, the level of my quality of interior life is going to be like a parallel universe to now.

What she said to me is this: "Your extra weight is your drive to bring others into your journey. No one else can take your journey, because it is yours and only yours. No one else can be coerced into starting his own journey, no matter how shining, how illuminated you might be, how excited you are by what you are discovering. Without his own desire to find that, no journey can begin. You must let others find their own way. Traveling along on your own path is also leaving a trail, should anyone decide to follow, but his path will always deviate from yours. Your enthusiasm is for you -- you can't continually try to give journey injections to others, forcing change, forcing forcing forcing, then judging because they don't respond.

And secondly, there is weight on you due to your frustration at this resistance on the part of others. Relinquish them. You aren't and can never be responsible for anyone else's enlightenment."

My face got SO HOT! You know how it feels when someone tells you an absolute truth? You feel it, you know it, you reek of it? I felt it, I knew it, I STANK of it. I was/am so ashamed -- but it's true!! I DO judge others who (in my eyes) seem to choose stagnancy, the safe, the known, over making any kind of change whatsoever! I judge them to the point of feeling disgust, disdain, and even a sense of my own superiority. Oh my god. Who died and made me queen all of a sudden? For a very very long shame-induced moment, I was PISSED OFF at my future self. Then I actually had to say to myself, out loud: "Listen, you asked. You invited this answer. Moreover, she is 100% correct. DEAL WITH IT!"

Take another deep breath and shift your awareness back into your present-day self, anchoring your consciousness fully in your present body. You are getting ready to leave, to return to the present day. Look back at your future self and notice that this person has a special gift to remind you of who you are becoming and what you are moving towards. As your future self offers you this gift, ask if there's a special meaning to it and if there is anything you need to know about it.

This part also made me break into tears. My future self handed me a beautifully carved mother-of-pearl inlaid wooden box. Inside was a complete palette of paint colors. When I looked more closely, I saw it was actually the alphabet, each letter assigned a color. When I lifted the paint color/letter block out of it's palette square, it transformed into ... everything I associate with that letter and color. The "A" became my name, Antonia, which became the book I'm named after, My Antonia, which became the cornfields of my Grandpa Andy's farm, which became my friend Amy and me irrigating on hot July days, which became the song by Pure Prairie League, which I love, Aimee, which became myself slow dancing at a harvest festival to that song, which became 'amour' and my trip to Paris with My Lovely Mother, which became the song 'April in Paris', which became ... you see? This paint/alphabet palette contained my life's memories, experiences, all accessible to me, all there, all usable for art, for words, for creation! Myself, MY LIFE, as the complete source. Can you believe that? I am crying now, writing this, hot fast tears all like barbed wire in my face and the backs of my eyes. Startling, this gift!

Thank your future self for the wisdom and say goodbye for now, knowing that you will remember everything you need to from this visit.

When I tried to thank my future self, she said to me, "Do you realize that I'm just giving you back the gift you will bring to me? These memories! You've taken such care all your life to notice, to feel, to sense, to divine, to appreciate, to record, to keep alive, to sustain, to capture, to go high, low, in, out, above, below, in order to FIND LIFE. I'm giving you this to show you there IS value in what you've been doing all this time, in the quiet solitude of your mind, your journal. This is what you are assembling to bring to me; I wanted you to have it."

Visual Connection

While your visit to your future self is still fresh in your mind, create a visual representation of the gift you received from your future self. You might also want to include an image of your present-day self as seen through the eyes of your future self. Use this visual as a way to connect with the power of the gift and the resources your future self has to offer you.

How will I ever do a visual representation of this? How?

Wrapping it Up
We shall not cease from exploration...
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started...
and know the place for the first time.
- T.S. Eliot

This passage from T.S Eliot's poem "Little Gidding" speaks to the individual's need to explore and grow, suggesting that at the end of every exploration, even if we come full circle, we will return to a fresh, new place. As we journey and gain experience and insight, our perspective shifts, allowing us to see things differently. The perspective of your future self is an inner resource you can use whenever you need to know what your next step should be along the way. You have the tools to contact this powerful ally who is always there to guide your exploration.

Honestly, this exercise has exhausted me emotionally -- in the best of all possible ways. I don't go into any of this with expectations of any sort, it's not that. But to walk in the shining NOW with that kind of acceptance and delight, to have my question so directly, honestly answered [ouch!], then to receive such a gift, to know my future self has her hands firmly and lovingly on my rib cage, close to my heart, and that she feels I will give as much to her as I feel she's presently giving to me? Joy.


Teresa K. said...

Okay, I'm emotionally exhausted just living your experience second hand. I am so moved, so thoroughly delighted by your post today. Thank you for sharing - thank you for the incredible inspiration.

And, by the way, when they (they-geeks) were fixing my computer they put my entire address book on the block senders list. So, if you've emailed and I never got back to you, that's why.
Have a great day.... I'm going to go brush the snow off my car and go get groceries!

bluerose9062 said...

Wow! That's all I could think to say the first time I came by to read this. So, I've come back a second time. You get so much from these exercises. Benefits of being so intune with your inner voice, I'm sure. I'm especially fascinated by your experience when you first entered your future self. That must have been quite an experience! Sounds wonderful!