Lesson 1 of 7 - free your true Self to guide you


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 your Future Self

By Peter Gerlach, MSW

The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/gwc/future.htm

  Updated  02-04-2015

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      This brief YouTube video previews what you'll read in this article:

      I gratefully acknowledge veteran therapist Nancy J. Napier for this concept and exercise. I recommend her book Recreating Your SELF - help for children of dysfunctional families (W.W.Norton, 1990) as a useful, practical source of wound-recovery ideas.

      I encourage you to read the following out loud in a quiet, comfortable setting. Take at least 30 minutes to experience this. Consider writing about any thoughts or feelings that this imagery evokes after you finish. Put other concerns aside for now, and take all the time you need... 

      Imagine sitting in pleasant, quiet surroundings with an elderly person you care deeply about. There may be soft sunlight in the room and a view of a peaceful garden or water outside. The person is close to death, and it is the time for final goodbyes. This is the person you are becoming, a day at a time - your Future Self. This aged person's contentment or regret about her or his adult years is a direct result of the decisions that you make now. 

      If you have children (or you may), imagine each child as middle aged, sitting with you and your future self. If you have no child/ren, imagine your oldest and best friends sitting with you. You may also imagine each of your brothers or sisters sitting in your circle, and you child/ren's other parent/s.

      Take your time to imagine how each person feels, one by one, knowing that you are about to die. Imagine how everyone feels to be present in this group at this time. If there is someone who is unable or unwilling to attend, picture them and notice how you feel about their absence.

      If you believe in one or more spiritual Beings, feel their comforting presence with you all in this sacred place.

      Imagine looking into your Future Self's eyes and asking respectful questions like...

  • "How do you feel about your life, now?"

  • "Did you accomplish what you dreamed of doing?"

  • "What - or who - are you most proud of?"

  • "What impact do you feel you made on other people?"

  • "What meant the most to you, across all your years?"

  • "What do you wish you had known in middle age?"

  • "What do you wish you had risked?"

  • "What has given you the most satisfaction about the way you chose to life?"

  • "What did you like about being a parent?" "What was hardest about raising the kids?"

  • "How do you feel about what your Mother and Father each gave you to prepare you for your adult life?"

  • "What do you feel were the greatest turning points in your life?"

  • "What do you wish you had known?"

  • "What do you regret the most about the key decisions you made?

  • "What do you feel were the biggest problems we had, as a family? How do you feel about your part in each of them"

  • "What gave you the greatest joy during your lifetime?"

  • How do you feel about how you spent your time?"

  • "How do you feel about dying now?"

      One at a time, imagine each grown child and other person reviewing the key things they received from your future self. Vividly imagine their faces and voices as they say their core truths. This is a time for honesty, not well-meant "kind" deception. Hear each one of them offer specific appreciations for what they received, and what they enjoyed about relating with you over all their years.

      Imagine your future self asking each person "Did I do anything that hurt or hindered you?" Imagine what each person would say, how that feels, and how your aged self responds. Now imagine your future self telling each child or other person what they did that hurt you. One at a time, experience any explanations, apologies, or forgivenesses that would help set each of you free.

      There may be talk about grandchildren - when and how they were born, what each one added to all your lives, and how you influenced them. This may be the last time you all will be able to talk together about this. Imagine whether anyone present is hearing something for the first time...

      When you feel finished discussing these and any other important matters well enough, imagine all of you sitting quietly together with your thoughts and feelings. Imagine looking into each person's eyes one at a time, and sense how you and they feel. Imagine whether there would be a prayer or special readings or music or other sharing.

      Hear everyone say together "This is the last time we will all be together."

      One at a time, imagine each special person coming to your future self's bedside and exchanging full final goodbyes. There is no need to rush. See them say goodbye to the rest of you, and leaving the room. Soon you are alone with your future self. You gaze at each other, and say honestly what you feel now.

      Ask "What do you want me to know now? What advice do you have for me?" Discuss your future self's response as needed. Spend as much time together as you wish.

      When you each feel ready, say your final goodbyes from your heart. Take all the time you need. Stand up, take your last look, and leave the room. Imagine the next place you will go, and how you feel. What do you need now?

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       Sit quietly and meditate on this experience. Some day you will be your future self, and some version of this experience will occur. Your current and future decisions will determine the nature of that experience. Your decisions depend on who controls your life now - your true Self or ''someone else.''

      How do you want this future experience to feel? Is there someone you want to share this with?


  • redo this experience on each birthday and/or before making a key life decision.

  • use this with a trusted supporter in clarifying or resolving some important life situation.

  • review this brief perspective on living on purpose

  • turn your PC speakers on and experience this 1-minute video "The Dash" - it's about you.

  • meditate on this brief video "A Conversation with God"

  • review this collection of inspirations from wise Guides across the ages

  • while this experience is fresh, review these core human needs  and imagine what you want your future self to say about how well you're fulfilling them..

  • Learn something about yourself with this 1-question anonymous poll:

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      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Is your true Self answering, or ''someone else''?

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