*5 minute read.*
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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of time travel; contemplating its impossibility and letting my imagination run wild with its possibility. When I was 8 years old, I attempted to create a hoverboard by pulling my skateboard apart and trying to attach a desk fan to it, after watching Back to the Future 2!
And while physical time travel might appear to be an impossibility, after stumbling on this article from Das Super Paper a couple of months ago I realised that mental time travel happens all of the time:
“Try to see things as you will one day wish to remember experiencing them. In order to make sense of any given moment, you must first project yourself into the future, and then re-project this projected future-self back into the past. Whilst the mental time-gymnastics involved in this initially sounds like a complicated process, it’s something we do all the time.”
This seems true to me.
We all have the ability to mentally time-travel into our past.
We have the ability to connect with our past and address past wounds and conditioning in a way that empowers us, now in the present. As adults, we can also connect with what some people refer to as our “inner child” and provide ourselves with what we were deprived of in childhood.
We also have the ability to mentally connect with and support our future selves.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, at any point in time we exist somewhere within an infinite spectrum between pleasure and pain. I believe that as our range of experiences and our willingness to step outside our comfort zone expands, so does our sense of reality and our capacity to experience a fuller and wider spectrum of pleasure and pain.
The cool thing about experiencing both extreme ends of this spectrum is that we are given a point of reference and perspective. When things get really tough, we perceive them as being tough because we’ve known what it feels like to be at ease and comfortable in the past. And this is the same for when things feel easy and comfortable.
A bit of honesty here. There have been several points in my life where I have struggled with periods of depression.
For me these dark moments have arrived very gradually and subtly, usually as a result of a series of compounding events or experiences that I haven’t been equipped to deal with at that stage in my life. The less aware I’ve been to the early signs of these feelings, the more difficult I’ve found it to bring myself out.
As I’ve grown older, and with the light that has always eventually followed these periods of darkness, I’ve learnt through trial and error what works in supporting me through these situations. I’ve also learnt to recognise the early signs that tend to lead me toward these downward spirals.
And this is the beauty of perspective.
When I’ve come out of dark moments and when I’m feeling on top and on centre I have had some great insights when I’ve reflected back on myself in those past situations. I’ve created a document on my computer that contains some of these insights. I call it my ‘rescue list’ and it has a few simple points of advice written down for “future me” to support me when I might face difficult times in the future. It’s a bit like “present me” asking “past me” for advice to give “future me”!
Being kind to yourself and supporting yourself is something that can happen in the here and now but it can also happen in the past and in the future.
It could be as considered as a ‘rescue list’ for when things might get tough in the future, or as simple as preparing a meal plan for the week ahead to ensure “future you” is well-fed and nourished!
So, I’m curious:
- What’s one thing you can do here and now to support yourself in the past? For example, what was one thing that you missed out on as a child that you can give yourself now?
- What’s one thing that you can do in the here and now to support yourself in the future? For example, you know that you will face challenges and tough times in the future. What’s one thing that would make a future challenge easier to deal with? I see all personal growth work as a gift to our future selves.
Til next week, be kind to “past you”, “present you” and “future you” and Be Awesome!