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An Authentic Self Connects With Her Future Self
Hello everyone. This is a Guest Post written by a personal friend of mine.
I’d like to introduce you to Deanna. She works in community health care with older adults as a Case Manager.
Like so many of us, she has been on a quest to connect with her life purpose and to apply it in her everyday life.
As an avid reader and promoter of self-development, she has struck out on her journey with determination.
She employed life coaching services with Crimson Compass and was guided on a Future Self meditation.
This is an inner journey where a person is invited to imagine the possibilities beyond the limits they’ve imposed; beyond what they believe is realistic. The Future Self is the core self that a person is becoming on the path to fulfillment.
This journey taps into the intuitive, internal knowing and enables a person to bring this clarity into the light of their current lives.
It’s a challenge to solve problems and achieve goals while feeling influenced by troubling or confusing life circumstances. Having a Future Self identity will give a person a persona to step into to reflect on their life from a different perspective.
Deanna has been exploring this idea on her quest to come up with a Life Purpose Statement and while reflecting on this, she was inspired to write this story. I have ask for her permission to share it.
If you have comments for Deanna, she would be excited to be a blogger for a day and respond to them. And so here, unedited, is Deanna’s story.
The Story of the Wooden Chest
There’s a chest, a big, clunky wooden chest, upstairs in the attic. I’ve just discovered it. Or perhaps, more truthfully, I’ve only noticed that it’s always been there. I can’t decide if I should be surprised, but somehow I don’t think I am.
The attic isn’t familiar to me. It’s not a room in the house where I currently live and I don’t recognize this space. And yet, this attic, this place where the chest resides, is welcoming me and it seems perfectly natural that I should be here.
The chest is old. But then again, I’m not very adept at determining the age of anything, so it’s easy for me to say ‘it’s old’. But it is; it just looks old. Like it’s been sitting in this spot forever, waiting to be found.
The top is steeply curved, which gives it an overall appearance of something rather large and imposing. But the colour is a deep, rich brown, and it is rather inviting. There are wide metal straps embedded on the top and sides, seeming to hold it together, although I’m not sure these are terribly necessary. It gives me no clue that it’s about to fall apart.
The wood itself is nothing exotic, like mahogany or some other rare or extinct species of wood. It’s just brown, ordinary wood, but nevertheless very appealing in a basic and solid kind of way. Like you’d expect an old friend to be, a little weathered and worn, but familiar and waiting to tell you a grand story about where he’s just been.
I have a lantern in my hand. It’s kind of old fashioned in itself, and not a typical thing I’d carry with me into an attic. Usually I’d have a flashlight, but somehow a flashlight seems poorly suited to the job. The lantern seems just the right thing for me to carry, and it surprises me I knew that. I didn’t have to think about it.
However, I notice that I really don’t need much of a light at all, because the chest is sitting near a small, rectangular shaped window, letting in the right amount of diffuse, soft early afternoon light. The warm glow of the lantern was more than enough to get me here, so I extinguish it.
It seems odd to me that there isn’t a lot of clutter or piles of old junk around this chest. Not much by way of cobwebs, dust or litter either. It’s rather quiet, neat, and tidy up here. There’s just the chest and me alone together, in this space.
I pause for a little while. Shall I open the lid? Of course I know I will. It seems to me this is what I’m supposed to do. Why the hesitation? Out of respect perhaps, it occurs to me. What’s the hurry, after all?
I examine the front of the chest, looking for a lock, and although there is a latch, it opens easily, without a key. I lift the latch and push back on the lid, so the top is fully open. I remain on my knees, in front of the chest. I don’t feel the urge to stand. This works well. I’m comfortable.
I’m not sure if it’s the light from the window or something else in my eyes, but now there seems to be something bright and rather all encompassing in front of me. It takes me a few minutes to realize it’s coming from inside the chest.
When I look more closely, it occurs to me it’s mostly a simple, pure light that I see. But it’s not blinding. It’s soft and yet is sufficient to illuminate the entire inside of the chest. At first glance, I can’t see anything beyond the light. When I focus, I begin to make out a blue striped fabric lining, and the outline of a few objects.
The first object is a collection of five to six glass marbles. They seem fairly average in appearance to me. But I pick them up and roll them around in the palm of my hand. They feel cool and smooth to the touch and seem to be telling me to ensure I have some fun. The kind of fun you have when you’re little, and not too worried about much of anything.
Then I notice, and how could I not, the rather large hand quilted blanket in the right hand side of the chest, occupying a good bit of space. I take it out, and see that someone has put a great deal of effort into piecing this together. Is this especially for me? What a comforting thought! I dare not wrap it around my shoulders, just yet. Maybe I’m supposed to wait for something, to use it at its best.
My eyes stray to an elongated cardboard box, not quite standard paper size, and only a couple of inches high. When I open it, there are several sheets of blank paper, finely textured, pearl white, demanding thoughtful recording. It occurs to me that I’m simply required to ‘be reflective’.
Then I see another small, square box in the far left hand corner of the chest. When I open this one, there are several ‘nuggets’ that for some reason I immediately recognize as fuel for my lamp. I also know that this is enough fuel to last indefinitely, to light my way and for others who follow. Isn’t that amazing?
Ah ha, so now I understand what’s going on. This is a chest of gifts dedicated to self-care. My wise future self sent this to me, knowing that in order to be a guide to others on my journey I must first take good care of myself.
* * * * * * * *
Imagine that you have come across a wooden chest in your attic. When you lift the lid, what items are waiting there to support you?
Or, if you were going to put items into it that symbolize your strengths what would they be?
* * * * * * * *
Meet Your Future Self – FREE
Receive a 20-minute meditation (long distance fees not included). Includes a 15-minute debrief and a transcript of your notes.
To schedule an appointment send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Future Self in the subject line. Promotion ends January 31, 2009.
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4. Within two weeks, a follow-up email or 15-minute phone call to review steps you have taken towards achieving your goal. We’ll look at what is or isn’t working.
The cost for all this is just $35. Offer ends January 31, 2009.
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I felt connected. Complete. I drifted off to sleep while other senses were awakened.
The wind was the last thing I remembered before waking from a dream. In this dream I was dressed in army fatigues and being held prisoner. I was not alone and eventually helped the other person to escape.
I awoke from the dream slowly, still looking through the eyes of that person who had remained behind. Interestingly that person no longer felt like a prisoner.
I had this dream while preparing to write this article and feeling the frustration of writer’s block. How could I write about living a balanced life when I was struggling with it myself? Nothing I wrote felt right. I had become so attached to the outcome of the article I wasn’t letting the creativity flow. I was disconnected. What was interesting about this dream was my interpretation. The person who had been set free was my creative muse.
My thoughts returned to the connection I had felt while listening to the wind. I knew there was an answer there. Memories of other times I felt connected swam through my mind and I relaxed into knowing what living a balanced life meant to me.
Seeing a shooting star. Catching a snowflake. Watching the sunrise on a misty morning. Admiring a rainbow. Smelling the new cherry blossoms in springtime.
These are things that fill me up. They are without expectation. And because I am not attached to the outcome I can be more fully in the moment. Nature does that for me. It wakes me up. It inspires that feeling of being connected. When I feel connected I also feel balanced.
We have become separated from the natural flow of life in an effort to control it. Calendars and schedules attempt to balance our daily activities, yet we still run in circles seemingly getting nowhere. We have created this world and yet it controls us. We are out of rhythm and less flexible because we depend on these schedules to tell us where to be and when.
Life has a schedule of its own and it unfolds as we are trying to fold it up, throw it into a briefcase and run for the next subway train. We don’t even see where we’re running because subconsciously we’ve already reached our destination.
Because we have become so disconnected with our natural rhythm we feel unfulfilled. This brings an unconscious desire to fill a void. And fill it we do – with things. But it’s never enough is it?
Trouble is, the more things we collect the more complicated our lives become and the more out of control we feel. It is a never-ending cycle.
You can stop the cycle. Here are five suggestions.
1. Feel your connection: Balance is achieved through connection. What are you doing when you feel connected? See it in your mind and remember how it feels. When you feel out of control, revisiting this feeling can stop you from living ahead of yourself. It brings you back into the moment. When you are in the moment you are less likely to be distracted.
2. Honour your values: When you know what your ultimate goal is (the big picture), hold it in your intent but don’t become attached to it. Working with values gives a person the ability to make more powerful and appropriate choices about how to reach their goal.
Finding rhythm in attaining a goal comes through knowing that each step is connected to the other; like a dance. They’re not separate actions to be scheduled in a specific order. They naturally support and feed each other with little effort. One clue that you are not honouring your values is through your internal dialogue. See #3.
3. Choose your dialogue: Be aware of how you talk and think. What words are you choosing? When you say, “I should” or “I have to” you are putting pressure on yourself. Or, perhaps what you are trying to accomplish is not of value to you and you shouldn’t waste your time on it. If it is important, choose more empowering words such as “I want to” or “I will”. They’re less likely to cause resistance to action.
4. Practice meditation: Simply put, meditation encourages clarity. We aren’t scattered because there are too many distractions. It’s because we are not focused that we notice the distractions. When a person is not focused they are more vulnerable to outside influences. Responding to people and circumstances takes a back seat, while reacting takes the front.
5. Focus on fulfillment: Fulfillment surrenders to balance. As I mentioned earlier, when we are not feeling fulfilled we unconsciously try to fill a void with things we believe will fill us up. When a life is built on false beliefs any perceived balance is fragile and short-lived. I’ve had days where my life seems as organized as it can be, but find myself feeling restless. Something is missing. Things appear to be balanced, but I’m not fulfilled.
One thing to remember. If you’ve ever tried to stand on one leg you’ve noticed that balance fluctuates. That means if you aren’t flexible you’ll end up a prisoner of your own controlled efforts.
Wake up to your senses and they will lead you to the fulfillment that designs a balanced life.
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Photo Credit: Alison Lyons Photography
They say nothing is written in stone, but I beg to differ. Last week I dug out some journals dating back 15 years. I was searching for inspiration, and to remember how magic happened to me.
Back then, after reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, I had taken up the habit of writing what she calls Morning Pages. In a period of four years, my life went through two major transitions and I wrote my way through both of them.
The Morning Pages asks a person to commit to writing three pages every morning. If you don’t know what to write about, write about that. I found one page in my journal where I had filled half a page by writing “I don’t know what to write”, over and over. After reviewing these Morning Pages, I realized how my goals eventually became a reality.