Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weekly Wings Challenge 6 - Back to Your Future - Part One

Dame Carla asks:

What would it be like to meet with yourself twenty years in the future and find out how you navigated the journey from here to there? What benefit could you derive from asking your future self the questions you might ask your present self, but this time with some answers?

Meet Your Future Self
In order to do the following exercise, I suggest you choose a time and place when and where there will be no outside distractions. You might want to set a mood with lower lighting and meditative music, anything that will put you at peace and allow you to be fully in the experience.

I lay outside on the lounge chair, on the patio, a favorite relaxation location under ALL circumstances, particularly at sundown, amid myriad sultry, skin-kissing breezes!!

Start by closing your eyes and simply focusing on your breathing, surrendering yourself to its rhythm, and allowing yourself to leave the stresses of the world behind as your travel to a tranquil inner space. As you become more and more relaxed, bring your attention to the spot between your eyes; your third eye. Imagine a glowing light there, and then imagine that it becomes a beam that draws you directly to where you are twenty years in the future, where you will soon meet your future self. When you have a fixed image in your mind, open your eyes to continue the exercise.

Read through the following questions and write down whatever comes to mind. Be spontaneous; this is not about being right or wrong, but about being honest with yourself. Feel free to close your eyes and visualize after each question before responding.

Where do you live? What does your future self's home look like? What kind of landscape surrounds it? Are there flowers, trees? Is it urban, country, populated, isolated? Go to the door and have your future self open it. What do you see as the door opens? How does your future self greet you? What does this person look like? Notice this person's stance and clothing. Try to get a sense of this person's essence. Now look around your future self's home. What kind of decor does it have? What are the colors? What kind of person lives here?

The biggest surprise to me came here. Instead of being ocean side, somewhere, I was still in my Phoenix home, except all the deeds on our massive, endless TO-DO list had been completed. Paint, decor, art work, dishes -- all of it represented the photos we've clipped and saved, which I compile in a big idea book (mostly in manila folders, by room or space, I'll be honest, to eventually be placed in an idea book). White dishes, an industrial-feeling kind of neutral kitchen, our living room with one burgundy leather recliner showcased against deep brown leather furniture and lilac accents, my art on the walls and rotated in and out as our tastes change. Bookshelves on one wall, so my books can come out of nooks, crannies, and boxes and breathe fresh air! A shaded patio in the back, complete with fire pit, a painted mural on the block wall, comfortable cushions on the presently-concrete bench that wraps 3/4's of the space. The exterior of the house painted, the roof finished and minus all leaks. I was truly shocked by this. It's clear from this exercise that I DON'T consider Phoenix a long-term temporary place of residence, but HOME. My entire family is here: mom, dad, brothers, nieces, nephews, brother-in-law and his family, sons. My extended friends/family are also here. I do NOT want to leave that. Missing (in a big way): Veronica. Except the longer I probed this stunning revelatory future existence, the more I realized I was affluent enough to permit visits, vacations, trips to the ocean, camping, all the things I imagine (now) needing to have "all the time" in my future. I did not see a very changed self, either, by way of clothing. Just this brilliant dimension of confidence and satisfaction encompassing a deep, love-filled welcome.

Really, I thought I needed to do the exercise over.

Move with your future self to a place where you can have a comfortable conversation. Your future self knows why you are here and is waiting to answer your questions. Imagine a conversation with your future self in which you ask the following questions:

What is it that you remember most about the last twenty years?
What have you accomplished in this time?
What do I need to know to get me from where I am now to where you are? What would be most helpful?
Who have been the most important people in your life over the past twenty years?

My memories consisted entirely of accumulated moments: highs, lows, MY REAL LIFE, not big fantasies of Hollywood sunsets or Trump-sized bank accounts. Just simple life. My essential needs had stayed consistent, as did my focus. My accomplishments (where they didn't emphasize my relationships) primarily had to do with financial steps gained, and art -- growth in art and writing. The same people who are critical to me now, remained critical over the passage of imagined time, and these are the same individuals who helped me along with support. My future self told me that I already know everything, now, that I need to navigate the next decades -- the difficulty is not to lose my focus, to be drawn away from my core values or those individuals I've already mentioned, not to be tempted by ego-feeding ventures, not to become 'afraid' and subsequently 'shrink'. She used the word, 'simple' about 8 million times -- keep my eye simple (a scripture I love); people before things, honest art. I didn't think I'd turn into someone greatly different from who I am now; matter of fact, I fervently hoped NOT. I saw a 'me' who had just become more enriched in the areas I strive to better on a daily basis in my present life. And she had had two extra decades of experience upon which to base the GLOW I saw in her. I liked that glow. I liked it a lot.

After you and your future self have discussed your questions, ask one final question:
What name, other than your first name, are you called by? This is a special name, a symbol or a metaphor of your essence. What is your name?

This was easy. My 'other name' came to me when I was fourteen and struggling my way through my first read-through of The Diaries of Anais Nin (much of it WAY over my head, then, in analytical, philosophical, psychological, & life-experience ways). I chose two names then, one for my positive inner self, that VOICE which was fledgling but heard, via my journal: Sirena. I did NOT know, then, that Sirena meant mermaid, which was also the symbol I chose for myself shortly thereafter -- sunflower was a very close runner-up, and still feels peculiarly personal to my SELF! And I chose 'Melissa' for my negative, self-defeating self -- because it was a name then that sounded prissy and high-maintenance to me, spoiled and superficial. Those names have stayed with me ever since, for the last 32 years. I almost strictly refer to myself as SIRENA in my own head, or in my journals -- the initial "S", anyway. I don't so much use any reference to 'Melissa' because in the last 3 decades, I've met 3 women named Melissa who have done away with my 14-year-old notions about that name. Now I refer to that side of myself as my inner critic, or simply "THAT WENCH". But now there is some love there, for That Wench, because I have an expanded comprehension of her issues and underlying value.

Visual Connection
While your visit to your future self is still fresh in your mind, create a visual representation of the experience. Include an image of your future self that embodies your future self's essence, and surround it with whatever external images are most outstanding from your visit. Use this visual as a way to connect your self now with your future self.

This portion is under way, nowhere near finished. Not sure it CAN be finished. My logo (previously posted) is a nearly perfect symbolic picture of my present meeting my future, though. I find I keep returning to it and nodding with this profound sense of certainty.


Teresa K. said...

This is a powerful exercise. I've seen a version of it where you think of all possible realities as happening at the same time. In other words, the future is happening now, but in a dimension we're not currently focusing on. Anyway, I think of the woman (me) who is experiencing the reality I'm reaching for. I ask her for advice, and ask her to reminisce about the set of circumstances that unfolded to lead to her reality. Some of my most personally transforming moments have involved this sort of "dimension-hopping" visualizations.

I am so glad that you shared this exercise. I need some personal transformation right now, and you've reconnected me with a tool to facilitate some outward thinking.

You know something, Toni, I feel very fortunate to have this cyber connection with you - I love the way you focus on the bigger picture while attending to do the details of the day.

carla said...

Wow! This is so cool! I get a feeling of real groundedness - the idea that you are home already and that it's all becoming stronger each day. The part - My future self told me that I already know everything, now, that I need to navigate the next decades -- the difficulty is not to lose my focus, to be drawn away from my core values or those individuals I've already mentioned, not to be tempted by ego-feeding ventures, not to become 'afraid' and subsequently 'shrink'. She used the word, 'simple' about 8 million times -- keep my eye simple (a scripture I love); people before things, honest art - is especdially telling. It's all there, and letting go of the ego stuff that will ultimately serve as roadblocks is such wise "advice." This is really a powerful and inspiring post!

Carla said...

First of all, it's always a little disconcerting to see, "Carla Said..." and think, "Did I already comment on this post?" Of course I'm not so out of it that I think I wrote something I don't remember, so once I read the other Carla, (Dame?) I know it isn't me. This exercise is too scary for me. I just don't know if I can collect myself enough to sit down and focus. I never have any time alone, about the only time I am is when I'm in the bathroom. I know that the fact that I can't even get myself together enough to try this is not good, but it's the truth. Besides, what if I don't like what I come up with...

bluerose9062 said...

I really like how you give us your thought process on these challenges. I can learn from you. I remember in the previous challenge you mentioned that you were attuned to your inner voice. I can really see that here. I envy that. When I read about your ability to hear your inner voice, I thought, "it seems like the only time I hear my inner voice is when it's screaming at me in my dreams." I'm going to come back to read your posts on the next challenges after I finish doing them myself.