"Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom." -- Buddha
As I sit here contemplating my life and what the hell it is all about, I get taken back to my past and all the choices that have brought me here, right now. I am nearing 40, with three kids, running my own business and I have this overwhelming desire to really live.
Really live. What does this mean? I have no idea. This is exactly where I get stuck. I have this burning desire to live, to do, to experience. Then it comes to me... that this living thing is up to me. What I need to do is embrace life, every little facet of it. I am my creator.
I am here right now, with the ability to create my life any way I see fit. I am in total control. The task now is figuring out what kind of life I want to create?
I think it is this open-ended life before me that becomes overwhelming. I am my own creator... ? How awesome and scary is that?
So forget the past. I need to navigate the present. How best to do this but to summon my future self for some present guidance, so I can create, day to day, one kick ass life.
It is hard to imagine ourselves too far in the future, especially as much as 20 years. It is possible though and essential if we want a little insight into where we are headed.
For me, in this future date I will be coming close to 60. It will be 2034. The world will be different and even more so I will be different. In many people's eyes I will be old but in mine I will be full of wisdom, beauty and understanding.
My future self will have things to tell the present me. Now these aren't going to be the Top Five Regrets of the Dying, because I won't be dying, I will be living a meaningful and fulfilled life.
Here is what my experienced, love-filled, wisdom-full self would tell me:
1. Be true to who I am. She would tell me to stop worrying about what other people think of me. She would tell me to walk down the street with my head held high and be proud. You know what she would tell me? She would tell me to sing. I have always wanted to get up on stage and sing but have always been too scared. "No more", she would say, "Sing!" Be bold and brave.
2. I am me, and I am perfect. The mirror paints a picture of flaws, stretched skin, fine lines and other imperfections. These are only figments of self-judgment. She would tell me to stop hiding these so called flaws, and to let my "3 baby" stomach show without embarrassment or fear.
3. Stop feeling obligated to be a part of groups or relationships that don't honor my true nature, she would say. Friends come in many forms, some the best and others from circumstance. It is great to be surrounded by people but not to get wrapped up in fitting in. She would tell me it is all right to say "No" if something doesn't feel right. True friends will always love me for the person that I am.
4. Take care of my body, through movement and diet. Stretch everyday and not let age be the excuse why I can't climb a mountain or do a back bend. Touch my toes everyday and continue working on my splits. These simple things will give me the freedom of movement that I will never want to loose.
5. Connect with my inner-voice and listen to the intuitive whisperings that offer constant guidance. It is easy to ignore these whispers or even to miss out on them entirely. They are that "gut" knowing that we all experience. Sometimes they are simple as knowing what direction to turn or sometimes they are the goose bumps you feel when you meet someone important to your life. She would tell me that through these inner voices I will be guided on an adventure full of love and passion.
6. Go places. Whenever I imagine myself in a place, go there. If I can see myself there, that is a reason to find the means to get there. There are places only I must go, and not in my dreams, but in reality. If NYC is calling my name, then there is a lesson there for me to learn. It may just be time to get a train ticket and start exploring.
7. Never stop dreaming and believing. Know that I can have anything my heart and soul desires. And with this bit of wisdom she would remind me to never give up. She more than anyone would know the true possibilities that await me as long as I am open and ready.
Channeling my 20-year in the future self was a way for me to connect with a part of me that is knowledgeable and experienced. Through her eyes I was able to believe in the now, knowing there is a purpose to it all.
My job now is to embrace these words of wisdom and to do them.
If you are interested in giving this a try, sit quietly and feel and imagine your 20-year in the future self. Truly imagine and feel the presence of this self. Truly listen.
What does your future self want you to know?
Listen and learn.